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Can A Sex Crime Be Expunged In California?


Being convicted of a sex crime can have long-lasting negative consequences. These may include incarceration, monetary penalties, and the requirement to register as a sex offender. This is because, for a considerable period of time, California’s Sex Offender Registration Act mandated that all individuals convicted of sex offenses must register in the criminal offender record information system.

Can A Sex Crime Conviction Be Removed From Your Record in California?

In general, it is not possible to completely remove or expunge felony sex crimes from a person’s record. Similarly, the process of removing a misdemeanor sex crime from one’s record can be quite complicated. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, misdemeanor crimes convictions like lewd or lascivious behavior or sexual misconduct can be removed from a person’s record in California.

Therefore, in order to effectively remove a sex crime conviction record in these specific circumstances, it is crucial to contact a highly skilled criminal defense attorney Los Angeles.

Sex Crime Convictions That Can Be Expunged in California

To have a sex crime conviction expunged under Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code, the following criteria must be met:

  • The offender never served a state prison term.
  • All conditions of sentencing, including payment of fines, have been satisfied.
  • Parole or probation has been successfully completed.
  • At the time of the expungement application, the offender is not facing any criminal charges.

Additionally, other types of sex offense records such as:

  • Arrests
  • Citations
  • County jail time records after completing probation
  • Infractions
  • Non-violent felonies
  • Select misdemeanor convictions
  • and violations can potentially be expunged based on the strength of the case presented.

Sex Crime Convictions That Cannot Be Expunged in California


These charges remain on your criminal record no matter how much time passes since your conviction.

Can A Sex Offender Get Their Record Expunged?

Under California law, it is possible for some sex offenders to have their records expunged, provided they meet certain requirements. 

For sex offenders in California, the option of expungement is only available to those who were sentenced to probation, rather than incarceration, for the crime in question. Additionally, the offender must have completed their probation without any violations and wait at least one year after the completion of their probation to apply for expungement.


  1. California Penal Code § 1203.4a

How Long Does Sex Offender Stay On Your Record in California?

The duration for which a sex crime conviction stays on an individual’s criminal record can vary from state to state. However, sex offenses are frequently classified as crimes of moral turpitude; many states have laws that disallow the expungement, or removal, of such convictions from a person’s criminal history.

The duration for which a sex crime conviction stays on a record in California is intertwined with the state’s sex offender registration requirements and the tier system established by SB 384.

California Tier System

Under SB 384, California set up a three-tiered system for individuals convicted of sex offenses. The length of time a person has to stay on the sex offender registry depends on the tier of the crime they were convicted for​:

Registration Limit for Tier One Offenders

Individuals convicted of the lowest level sex offenses must register for at least ten years​​. Examples of tier-one violations include indecent exposure and misdemeanor sexual battery.

Registration Limit for Tier Two Offenders

Although not explicitly mentioned in the quoted sources, it’s likely that Tier Two offenders have a registration requirement longer than Tier One but shorter than Tier Three. Examples of tier-two violations include Lewd Acts with a Minor.

Registration Limit for Tier Three Offenders

A lifetime registration on the sex offender registry is mandated for individuals convicted of tier-three offenses​. These offenses include crimes like rape, child molestation, and child pornography. In most cases, you cannot expunge tier-three crimes, either.


How Long Does The Expungement Process Take?

In California, the typical duration for expunging records ranges from 90 to 120 days. However, the timeline can be extended due to various factors. These factors include:

  • The nature of your conviction – whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • The complexity surrounding your case.
  • The elapsed time since your conviction.
  • The accessibility of your case details in the courthouse’s computer system where the expungement motion will be filed.
  • The court’s interest in having a Probation Report before the hearing.
  • The workload at the court where the filing needs to take place.

Expungement cases are often seen as lower priority by the courts, so if there’s a backlog of more pressing cases, the process of expunging your records might face delays.

Limitations of Expungement in California

Of course, The process of expungement holds certain merits, yet it is bounded by limitations. For example, it cannot overturn decisions related to the suspension or revocation of your driving license nor can it reinstate your gun rights, especially if you fall under a firearms prohibiting category in California.

Moreover, an expunged conviction can still be acknowledged as a prior conviction, reinforcing the severity of sentencing in future cases. They can be counted as “strikes” under California’s three-strikes law.

Can You Get Off California’s Sex Crime Registry After an Expungement?

Having a sex crime conviction expunged doesn’t free you from the requirement of registering as a sex offender. Even after an expungement, some people are required to remain on the sex crimes registry. However, the enactment of Senate Bill 384 permits certain individuals to apply for California sex offender registry removal after a specified duration.SB 384 became effective in 2021.

In California, individuals convicted of sex offenses are listed on the Megan’s Law website as per the legal mandate. However, there are pathways to petition for the removal of one’s name from this registry. One such pathway is through the expungement of the charges, which entails a legal process of having the conviction cleared or sealed in one’s criminal record.

Moreover, obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation is another avenue through which individuals can seek to have their names removed from the Megan’s Law website. Additionally, in certain cases where the court convicted you of specific offenses such as sexual battery by restraint, there may be provisions for name removal.

A sex crimes lawyer Cyrus Tabibnia from Tabibnia Law Firm can help you review the steps for removing your name from the Megan’s Law website. He can provide a detailed review of the process and offer guidance on how to proceed with petitioning for removal from the Megan’s Law website, thus ensuring that all legal avenues are explored thoroughly.


Learn about the upcoming changes to California’s expungement law in 2023 in our new blog post.

Benefits of Expungement in California

  • Employment Opportunities: The foremost benefit, and often the most palpable, is the enhanced employment prospects that follow expungement. Many employers conduct background checks, and having a criminal conviction can significantly impede one’s ability to secure employment. When a record is expunged in California, an individual is not required to disclose the conviction on job applications in most cases, thus leveling the playing field in the job market.
  • Professional Licensing: Acquiring professional licenses may become less encumbered post-expungement. Various professions require licensing, and a criminal record can be a substantial barrier. While an expungement doesn’t guarantee licensing approval, it certainly can ameliorate the chances.
  • Housing Opportunities: Similar to employers, many landlords conduct background checks on prospective tenants. An expungement can, therefore, significantly enhance one’s ability to secure housing.
  • Personal and Social Benefits: There are profound personal and social benefits including the alleviation of stigma associated with having a criminal record. This can lead to improved self-esteem, and better social integration.
  • Reduced Immigration Consequences: For non-citizens, having a criminal record can have severe immigration consequences including deportation. While expungement doesn’t always alleviate these concerns, it can sometimes mitigate the immigration consequences associated with a conviction.
  • Restoration of Certain Civil Rights: Expungement can lead to the restoration of certain civil rights, enhancing one’s ability to fully participate in civic life.
  • Reduction in Sentence Enhancement Consequences: In certain circumstances, expunged convictions are not considered for sentence enhancement in future criminal proceedings, which could lead to lesser penalties in the event of a subsequent conviction.
  • Eligibility for Certain Government Benefits: Some government benefits may be off-limits to individuals with criminal convictions, but expungement can restore eligibility in certain cases.

Speak With Our Experienced Criminal Law Attorney Today

In certain circumstances, it may be possible to have criminal charges expunged, thereby offering an individual a fresh start. Acquiring a Governor’s pardon or a Certificate of Rehabilitation can significantly enhance your prospects of gaining meaningful employment and reclaiming privileges lost post-conviction.

This not only gives you a sense of security but also contributes to your peace of mind. However, it’s crucial to note that not all convictions qualify for expungement. Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to ascertain your eligibility for having your records expunged.

If you are in need of a skilled and dedicated criminal defense lawyer to handle sex crime cases, Call Cyrus Tabibnia (866) 713-2159 from Tabibnia Law Firm.

With a strong commitment to justice and a proven track record in criminal defense, He offers comprehensive legal representation tailored to your specific situation. Reach out to Cyrus today for a personalized case assessment, and discover the myriad ways he can safeguard your rights and champion your cause.

Legal Resources:

Judicial Council of California | California Courts Self Help Guide | Certificate Of Rehabilitation | Sex Offender Registration And Exclusion Forms | Expungement (dismissal) Of Criminal Records

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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