Proven Approach With Results Forged Through Experience

Mark L. Deniz, Esq.

Expungements & Early Termination Of Probation: Getting Off Probation Early

Everyone makes mistakes.

But one mistake does not have to mean the end of the world. If not taken care of, the past can come back to haunt you. If you have been convicted of a criminal violation in San Diego County, there are options available to you that may allow you to improve your criminal record. This process, which is accomplished through Penal Code Section 1203.4, is often referred to as “expungement,” and has been expanded by recent updates in the law.

If an “expungement” of your misdemeanor or felony conviction pursuant to the California Penal Code Section 1203.4 is granted, you are no longer considered “convicted” under California law, subject to a few exceptions. Thus, if you are seeking a new job in San Diego and obtain an “expungement” of your criminal charges, you would be able to indicate that on a job application that you have never been convicted of a crime, subject to a few exceptions.

While there are some limitations that apply to this process, there can be significant benefits. In some cases, an expungement can provide a chance to clear the way for a more promising future.

How Do You Begin The Expungement Process In San Diego?

Your first step is to contact an experienced San Diego expungement attorney to help determine your most effective approach. I, Mark Deniz, will also discuss the opportunity for early termination of probation with you. If you are on probation, you are not currently eligible to have a case expunged in San Diego, but I, attorney Deniz, may be able to help you file a motion for early termination of your probation, and the process can start now!

Contact The Law Offices of Mark Deniz APLC at 858-429-9982 and find out how you can take the first step toward improving your criminal record!

I, San Diego lawyer Mark Deniz, have helped numerous clients improve their records and move on in their lives, with misdemeanor and felony expungements.

While no attorney can promise or guarantee the outcome or results of any criminal charge, I, Mark Deniz, work tirelessly on behalf of my clients. Any results depend entirely on the specific facts, law and circumstances of each case.

Common Questions About Expungement

Q: How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record?

A: Below is a general guide through the Penal Code Section 1203.4 expungement motion process. If you are successful with your motion, the benefits are extraordinary. It can clear the way for you to obtain employment, housing and, most importantly, peace of mind.

There are precise requirements that must be adhered to when you are seeking to expunge your criminal record. If you proceed without an attorney, and make a mistake during the process, your expungement motion can be denied. Because of technical requirements, the expungement process in San Diego is best handled by an attorney who understands the intricacies of the process and who can efficiently and effectively navigate the court system.

The process of your San Diego expungement will likely depend on these three issues:

Q: Is My Case Eligible For Expungement?

A: The first consideration is eligibility. Most cases in San Diego courts are eligible for the expungement process. As a former prosecutor, I attorney Mark Deniz, have handled hundreds of these motions. A few charges are not eligible for expungement, including certain sex offense felony violations in the Penal Code. However, recent changes in California law now allow for expungements that were not available in years past.

An effective expungement attorney can carefully evaluate your situation, and also determine whether these changes in the law now allow for an expungement motion pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4. Misdemeanor and felony violations not otherwise eligible for this motion may still be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon, which should also be handled by a skilled attorney.

Q: Am I Still On Probation?

A: The second consideration for expunging your criminal case is determining whether you are still on court probation, either informal or formal. San Diego County has recently increased the DUI probation period from three years to five years. A person on probation is not eligible to have a case expunged in San Diego.

However, if you are on probation and want to expunge your criminal case, there are still options that may speed up the process:

I, attorney Mark Deniz, can file a formal Penal Code Section 1203.3 Motion, requesting early termination of probation. This motion requires written notice to the court and prosecutor. It contains declarations and attachments explaining why you should obtain the benefit of a shorter probation period.

The motion is then presented in court, where a judge must determine if there is significant justification to grant the motion. When a judge agrees to shorten the period of probation, this can clear the way to begin an expungement.

Q: Do I Need To Expunge A Felony Or A Misdemeanor Record?

A: The third consideration is determining whether you have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor. If you have been convicted of a felony, the process can be more challenging. Some felony crimes cannot be expunged. An experienced San Diego expungement attorney will be familiar with these limited exceptions and can advise you of other options available for these charges.

Many felony charges, however, can be expunged. An expungement of a felony case oftentimes involves first filing a Penal Code Section 17(b) Motion to reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor conviction. This motion is appropriate when the conviction is a “wobbler,” and could have been charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. When a judge agrees to a reduction of the violation, the next step is the Penal Code Section 1203.4 Motion, commonly referred to as an Expungement Motion. The motion is ultimately evaluated by a judge who makes a determination if the case is eligible and suitable for expungement.

Q: How Will An Expungement Clear My Criminal Record?

A: Essentially, when you have a case expunged, the court allows your previously entered guilty or no contest plea (or verdict) to be withdrawn, and the case is then dismissed. This process provides an opportunity for you to move on in your life without this criminal conviction holding you back. I, former prosecutor and expungement attorney Mark Deniz, can carefully explain to you the specific details and exceptions of this process.

Take charge of your future, today. Call The Law Offices of Mark Deniz APLC at 858-429-9982 and see what I can do to help you expunge your criminal case.

Q: If I’m Convicted Of DUI, Can I Get It Expunged?

A: Once you comply with all court orders and serve your probation time, you may request the court to expunge the criminal action from your record. So you won’t have the DUI on your criminal record. However, note even if the DUI is expunged, it can still be used against you, such as: 1) it will count as a prior DUI if you get another DUI within 10 years from the date of arrest/offense; 2) if you’re convicted of another criminal charge, the judge may use this conviction to determine/enhance punishment on the current charge; and 3) if you later drive with alcohol in your system and hit and kill a person, your prior conviction can elevate the current offense to murder.

Also, once you comply with all court orders and serve about ½ your probation time, you may request the court to terminate probation early and expunge the DUI — Although the prosecution may oppose and the court may decline your request.

Q: What Is The General Process To Expunge An Old DUI/Criminal Record Not On File With The Court?

A: Usually if the criminal record is within 5 years old, the court may have the physical file. However, after a period of time, the court usually sends the file to a remote storage location. And then usually it gets deleted. If your criminal record is too old and not on file with the court, you can still expunge the record, although you have to go through Live Scan. Live Scan is a fingerprint process to obtain old records. Here is a list of Live Scan locations by county in California. Some are drop-in locations, some are appointment only. Call ahead for availability and price, and bring a valid ID. Live Scan should give you the DOJ court record/paperwork on the spot. Once you receive your record, you must file the expungement application with the court. This link gives a step-by-step process, although generally, you file the form with the court criminal business office. This is the link for the dismissal form (Form CR-180). Once filed, there may be a hearing, although sometimes the court just grants the dismissal and sends you notice of the expungement.

Call Now

Find out what The Law Offices of Mark Deniz APLC can do to help you move forward from your criminal charges and arrest with an expungement in San Diego County, at 858-429-9982.

It is vital you hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact The Law Offices of Mark Deniz APLC now for a free case evaluation at 858-429-9982 or send an email to [email protected].

What The Law Says

(a) (1) In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. The probationer shall be informed, in his or her probation papers, of this right and privilege and his or her right, if any, to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. The probationer may make the application and change of plea in person or by an attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing. However, in any subsequent prosecution of the defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if probation had not been granted or the accusation or information dismissed. The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.

(2) Dismissal of an accusation or information pursuant to this section does not permit a person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm or prevent his or her conviction under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 29800) of Division 9 of Title 4 of Part 6.

(3) Dismissal of an accusation or information underlying a conviction pursuant to this section does not permit a person prohibited from holding public office as a result of that conviction to hold public office.

(4) This subdivision shall apply to all applications for relief under this section, which are filed on or after November 23, 1970.

(b) Subdivision (a) of this section does not apply to any misdemeanor that is within the provisions of Section 42002.1 of the Vehicle Code, to any violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, any felony conviction pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 261.5, or to any infraction.

(c) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), subdivision (a) does not apply to a person who receives a notice to appear or is otherwise charged with a violation of an offense described in subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, of Section 12810 of the Vehicle Code.

(2) If a defendant who was convicted of a violation listed in paragraph (1) petitions the court, the court in its discretion and in the interests of justice may order the relief provided pursuant to subdivision (a) to that defendant.

(d) A person who petitions for a change of plea or setting aside of a verdict under this section may be required to reimburse the court for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the court not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150), and to reimburse the county for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the county board of supervisors not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150), and to reimburse any city for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the city council not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150). Ability to make this reimbursement shall be determined by the court using the standards set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 987.8 and shall not be a prerequisite to a person’s eligibility under this section. The court may order reimbursement in any case in which the petitioner appears to have the ability to pay, without undue hardship, all or any portion of the costs for services established pursuant to this subdivision.

(e) (1) Relief shall not be granted under this section unless the prosecuting attorney has been given 15 days’ notice of the petition for relief. The probation officer shall notify the prosecuting attorney when a petition is filed, pursuant to this section.

(2) It shall be presumed that the prosecuting attorney has received notice if proof of service is filed with the court.

(f) If, after receiving notice pursuant to subdivision (e), the prosecuting attorney fails to appear and object to a petition for dismissal, the prosecuting attorney may not move to set aside or otherwise appeal the grant of that petition.

(g) Notwithstanding the above provisions or any other provision of law, the Governor shall have the right to pardon a person convicted of a violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, if there are extraordinary circumstances.

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