How do I get my record expunged?
This page talks about expungement (dismissal) of California convictions, not convictions in other states, federal convictions, or any arrests. Information about sealing arrests is available on the California Courts’ website. Before pursuing an expungement, it may be helpful to read our page about “What is an expungement and will it stop employers from seeing my conviction?”
To get a conviction expunged (dismissed), you must file a request (a petition) with the court where the conviction happened once you are no longer on probation or under criminal supervision (Read our page on Can I get my record expunged if I am still on probation?). You must file a separate petition for each eligible conviction you have. Some courts have a self-help packet on their website. The California Courts have additional information here.
Information you will need for each conviction:
- The case number,
- The date of conviction,
- The code section of the conviction (like Health and Safety Code § 11377), and
- The county where you were convicted.
This information should be in the court record or California RAP sheet (short for Record of Arrest or Prosecution). Read our page about How do I get copies of my criminal record?
You must complete an expungement/dismissal petition. Most courts use the CR-180 & CR-181 state forms, but a few courts encourage use of their own forms. Although all courts are supposed to accept the CR-180 and CR-181, it is helpful to check the court’s website or call to find out all of the forms the court requires.
Fee waiver: Courts cannot require you to pay a fee to file your petition, but they can require you to pay up to $150 sometime after you file. Not all courts require a fee. If the court requires a fee, you can file a fee waiver request using the FW-001 and FW-003 in most courts. Call the court to confirm whether it accepts these forms or requires another form.
Consider legal help: The process can be complicated for some situations. So, you may want to talk to an attorney. Some public defender offices and legal aid organizations provide expungement help. If you get help, make sure the person helping is an attorney or someone supervised by an attorney.
If you want free legal information or advice,
Disclaimer: None of the information or links provided at this site are legal advice.