How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in California?

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The length of time a misdemeanor remains on one’s record in California depends on the penal code of the conviction, the case disposition, status of probation and whether the convicted person filed a petition for dismissal. Misdemeanors are reportable during background checks for only seven years, per California Civil Code Section 1785.13, as cited by California Labor and Employment Law.

According to California Courts, a person convicted of a misdemeanor without probation is eligible to petition the court for dismissal at least one year after the conviction, provided that the terms of the sentence have been met, he is not currently serving another sentence and no other charges are outstanding. A person convicted of a misdemeanor with probation can request the court dismiss the charge once the terms of the probation are met or early release is granted, all fines and restitution are paid to the court, he is not on probation for another crime and he is not currently charged with another offense. Under California law, any convictions for possession of marijuana for personal use are automatically removed from the convicted individual’s record after two years. Persons who successfully complete a court-ordered diversion program automatically have the conviction changed to a dismissal.

Misdemeanor violations of Vehicle Code section 42002.1, which include failure to obey a peace officer, firefighter, or traffic officer while driving, are not eligible for expungement and will remain on one’s record permanently, according to California Courts.