Record cleaning: Misdemeanors

Information about who can ask to have their misdemeanor conviction dismissed and different options to consider depending on your situation.

Who qualifies

You can ask the court to dismiss your conviction if both:

  • You have no new cases pending
  • You are not on probation or parole in any case

If you are still on probation in your case, you must also ask for early termination from probation, under Penal Code section 1203.3. There is no statewide form for this request, but you may write your own request and file it with the court.

Things to consider if you qualify

  • Your conviction may have already been automatically dismissed by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) under Penal Code section 1203.425. If so, you may not need to request dismissal from the court—although there may be additional benefits to doing so. If you want to know if your conviction has already been dismissed, you can request your Record of Arrest and Prosecution (RAP) sheet from the DOJ, but this is not required.
  • If you satisfied the terms and conditions of your probation, or if you were granted early termination of probation, the court must grant your petition to dismiss.
  • If you did not satisfy the terms and conditions of your probation, it is up to the court whether or not to grant your petition. You may attach supporting documents to convince the court that granting your petition would be “in the interests of justice.”
  • If you were never given probation in the case, you must wait at least one year from the date of conviction.
  • If the offense is listed in Penal Code section 19.8(a), you can also ask the court to reduce the conviction to an infraction (Penal Code section 17(d)).  To request dismissal and reduction, use Form CR-180 and submit the order (Form CR-181) for the judge to sign.
  • If you have a misdemeanor conviction that requires you to register as a sex offender (Penal Code section 290), and a court has already dismissed this conviction under Penal Code section 1203.4, you are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation

How to make the request

To request dismissal of your conviction, you can use Petition for Dismissal (form CR-180). The court will use form CR-181 to grant or deny your request.

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