New California Law to Expand Criminal Record Expungement

A new bill signed by California Governor Newsom in October 2019 will assist in the automatic expungement of criminal records. Assembly Bill 1076 expands the current expungement law for those who successfully finish probation after serving time in county jail. Currently, a California “expungement” only turns a conviction into a dismissed case disposition. The record is not actually destroyed or concealed from the general public. The new California law will also allow for some convictions and arrest records to be sealed, and some can even be removed automatically. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

How It Works

The bill’s author, Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, says the bill would create a database that provides a notice when a person completes probation to the superior court that heard the case. The superior court and district attorney’s office would both receive these reports and if the district attorney objects to the granting of relief, they could file a motion against the expungement. If a motion against the expungement is filed, the court must then review it and decide whether to approve or deny the relief. Mr. Ting claims this would streamline the process and not only save money for those with convictions, but the courts as well.


Eligibility requirements for expungement would not change under the new bill. But assembly member Ting believes that it would help more people by allowing them to bypass the long process of going through the courts. Those convicted of serious crimes, registered sex offenders, and those who did not complete probation or are currently on parole would not be eligible for automatic expungement.  

Millions of Californians have criminal convictions that can make finding work or housing very difficult, even with minor offenses. This bill would make it possible for more people to seek out expungement that is currently costly and time consuming. The bill will also prohibit the courts from divulging information about arrests if there were no convictions. Under this bill, those who successfully complete probation or who were never convicted of a crime could have their records cleared and be given a second chance. Check our free, confidential eligibility test to see if you qualify for criminal record services in California.

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