Post Disposition Dismissals and Reductions
If you successfully complete your probationary term, including paying all fines and fees associated with your case, section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code allows you to petition the Court for a Post Disposition Dismissal and/or Reduction of your conviction so long as you:
- Do not have any open cases in this county or any other county
- Are not on probation
- Are not serving time
- All fines and fees must be paid in full
You may speak with our Post Conviction assistant on any Thursday:
- In the Merced Office from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
- In the Los Banos Office from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Currently the Merced County Public Defender’s Office does not charge a fee for Expungement, however, The Superior court does charge a filing fee of $150.00 for both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Only Money Orders or Cashier's Checks are accepted. However, there is a fee waiver that you may fill out for the filing fee if you are eligible.
Benefits of a Post-Disposition Dismissal
- Results in a new entry in the court record showing a dismissal of the case and it will result in a notation on your "rap sheet" that your conviction has been dismissed per 1203.4.
- Allows you on most job applications to legally state that you were not convicted of a crime
(However, if you are applying for a job as a peace officer (police officer, highway patrolman, sheriff’s deputy, etc.), you are required to disclose the conviction and subsequent expungement on the job application.)
- Is the first step in applying for a pardon for felony convictions
Reduction of a Felony to a Misdemeanor
A felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor in some cases. Once declared a misdemeanor, the crime will be considered a misdemeanor "for all purposes." However there are certain exceptions as the federal government can still consider the conviction a felony for purposes of its federal gun statutes.
You can request a felony be reduced to a misdemeanor while on probation, after probation, but most often this process is done through the expungement process, when probation is over and all fines and fees are paid.
Limitations of a Post-Disposition Dismissal
A Post-Disposition Dismissal will not do any of the following:
- Remove the record of your arrest and conviction from the databases of federal and state law enforcement agencies. For instance, the FBI would still have a record of your conviction.
- Reinstate your right to possess a gun.
- Allow you to omit the conviction on an application for a government-issued license (e.g., insurance agent license, real estate agent license, etc.).
- Seal or remove the court case file from public inspection. A person could still find out about the conviction by going to the court house and asking to review the court file.
- Prevent the conviction from being used as a “prior” to increase punishment on a later conviction.
- Prevent the conviction from being used by immigration officials for removal or exclusion proceedings.
- Relieve you from any requirement to register as a sex offender under section 290.
Offenses That Cannot Be Dismissed
There are certain offenses that cannot be dismissed:
- Some offenses that resulted in a State Prison sentence cannot be dismissed.
- Certain Vehicle Code violations and sex offenses cannot be dismissed.
- A case that has been dismissed cannot be expunged.