New California Law Allows for the Dismissal of Past Felony Convictions That Resulted in Sentences to State Prison

New California Law Allows for the Dismissal of Past Felony Convictions That Resulted in Sentences to State Prison
Christopher J. McCann

Beginning January 1, 2023, SB 731 will provide for the permanent sealing of felony criminal conviction records including those that resulted in a sentence to state prison. Over a million people can rid their criminal histories of an felony conviction record in the pursuit of a better job, better living situation, and admission in institutions of higher education among other opportunities.

The bill, codified under California Penal Code section 1203.41, allows for a defendant to withdraw their guilty or no contest plea, or have a trial guilty verdict set aside, and a not guilty plea is entered. The statute states that, “The defendant shall be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which they have been convicted.” This applies to any convictions both before and after the law was passed.

The relief provided would allow one to deny the conviction with certain exceptions, including:

  1. When applying for licensure by a state or local agency;
  2. When applying to run for public office;
  3. When enrolling as a provider of in-home supportive services; and
  4. When contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.

There are also several restrictions and requirements, including:

  1. The defendant will have to wait 1-2 years after completion of their sentence depending upon how they were sentenced;
  2. It doesn’t relieve the defendant of any DMV consequences resulting from the conviction;
  3. The defendant may not currently be on parole or probation supervision, or currently charged with a crime;
  4. The crime did not result in the defendant having to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290;
  5. The criminal conviction may still be alleged as a priorable offense in future prosecutions;
  6. The defendant would still not be permitted to own or possess a firearm; and
  7. The defendant may not run for public office if the conviction prohibited them from holding office.

SB 731 was sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice, Homeboy Industries, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Time for Change Foundation, A New Way of Life, Pillars of the Community, and the Los Angeles Regional Re-entry Project.

Contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC today and see if you qualify for relief, and clean up your criminal history so that you can get that job you’ve been seeking but were afraid to apply, a better place to live, or go back to school to achieve your goals and dreams.

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