CALL TODAY! 714-594-6400

Recent News and Media

Practice Areas
  • Orange County Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Domestic Violence

  • Orange County Federal Crimes Lawyer
  • Federal Crimes

  • Orange County Theft Crimes Lawyer
  • Theft Crimes

  • Orange County Sex Crimes Lawyer
  • Sex Crimes

  • Orange County Warrants Lawyer
  • Warrants

  • Orange County Murder Lawyer
  • Murder

  • Orange County  Expungement Lawyer
  • Expungement

  • Orange County Drug Crimes Lawyer
  • Drug Crimes

  • Orange County Violent Crimes Lawyer
  • Violent Crimes

  • Orange County Appeals Lawyer
  • Appeals

Can I Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor After an Expungement?

Posted on August 4, 2017

Most attorneys and even judges will say “no.” The rationale is that the court loses jurisdiction over the case after the court dismisses the conviction under section 1203.4. However, this is incorrect, a defendant is still eligible to reduce their felony conviction to a misdemeanor after receiving the benefits of an expungement.

In Meyer v. Superior Court (1966) 247 Cal.App.2d 133, the question presented was whether the petition is barred from making an application under Penal Code section 17(b) after his record was expunged under Penal Code section 1203.4. The court considered the language “thereafter” in PC 17(b) and concluded the term is not barred by any time limit. Moreover, in conferring upon the court the power to declare an offense to be a misdemeanor after it has suspended imposition of judgment, the legislature evidentially intended to enable the court to reward a convicted defendant who demonstrates by his conduct that he is rehabilitated.

While dismissing a conviction under section 1203.4 relieves a defendant from all penalties and disabilities, it cannot be assumed that the legislature intended to obliterate the fact that the defendant had been convicted of a crime. Thus, a conviction that has been expunged still exists for limited purposes, including, among others, evidentiary use at a later trial, and denial of the right to carry or possess a firearm. Consequently, since the conviction still technically remains, a person should not be barred from pursuing a more suitable remedy, particularly where the final decision as to whether he is worthy rests within the sound discretion of the superior court.

Likewise, in People v. Tidwell (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 212, the court held that a petitioner, after expunging their conviction under section 1203.4, did not preclude subsequent reduction of the conviction to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. The court noted that section 1203.4 does not, strictly speaking, expunge the conviction, nor render the conviction a legal nullity. (Id. at p. 217.) After examining section 1203.4 and section 1170.18, keeping in mind the intent of the legislative body in adopting Proposition 47, the court determined that “to foreclose a defendant’s eligibility based on the section 1203.4 dismissal would contravene [the legislative bod’s] intent, where defendant has met the criteria under section 1170.18 according to the terms of the statute.” (Id. at p. 219.) The court held that the trial court erred in rejecting defendant’s petition for redesignation under Proposition 47 noting that the “statutory dismissal that defendant obtained did not expunge his record or cancel the potential for continuing or future consequences of those conviction…” (Id.)

Accordingly, the above-cited cases stand for the proposition that section 1203.4 does not preclude a person from later seeking reduction under either proposition 47 or under section 17(b). For more information or to schedule a free confidential consultation, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

Recent News and Media

New Law Allows Sex Offenders to be Removed from California Registry

October 7, 2017

In California, contrary to popular belief, a criminal conviction will not be erased with the passage of time. Instead, a conviction will forever remain accessible…

Read Full Article

Mistaken Identification in CA Criminal Trials

September 13, 2017

In California, contrary to popular belief, a criminal conviction will not be erased with the passage of time. Instead, a conviction will forever remain accessible…

Read Full Article

Does a Criminal Record Erase After 7 Years?

September 11, 2017

In California, contrary to popular belief, a criminal conviction will not be erased with the passage of time. Instead, a conviction will forever remain accessible…

Read Full Article

Request Free Consultation




    Contact an Orange County Criminal Lawyer Today

    You can have a greater advantage when you retain the services of an attorney who spends substantially more time within the courts they visit the most. Our office has earned a positive and respected reputation in the community. We strive to achieve the most advantageous outcome for clients in all criminal cases, and it can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

    To protect your legal rights, contact an experienced Orange County criminal lawyer today for a free confidential consultation.

    • CALL TODAY! 714-594-6400
    • 4000 MacArthur Blvd. East Tower #600 Newport Beach, CA 92660