How to Expunge Your Record: Contra Costa

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Last Updated 9/2/2016


 What Can I Do About My Criminal Record?

Criminal records can be a big barrier to overcome in seeking employment. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to clean up your record and get a clean slate.

This guide is designed to help you learn all about the process of dismissing prior convictions on your record, also known as expungement or dismissal. This might not work in all cases or for all crimes, but it could give you an opportunity to start fresh.

Do I Qualify for Expungement or Dismissal?

As previously mentioned, not all records can be expunged or dismissed, although they are treated the same in the state of California. Expungement or dismissal of convictions are generally granted to misdemeanors -- or felonies that could have been tried as misdemeanors -- that resulted in a stay at county jail, probation, a fine or a combination of these things.

 Additionally, there are convictions that absolutely cannot be expunged or dismissed. Primarily, these crimes involve sexual assault of a minor, the concealment of sexual assault of a minor, or child pornography. But certain felony offenses for refusing vehicle inspection, evading an officer or resisting arrest can also be excluded from expungement or dismissal under certain circumstances.

 You should seek legal advice to determine your eligibility for expungement or dismissal, as there are many lawyers in the area who specialize in “restorative justice.” If you do, here are some helpful questions to ask yourself in order to prepare:

  1. What is your case number — sometimes called “docket number”?
  2. What was your date of conviction — which is the date of your plea, verdict, or finding of guilt?
  3. What is the code name and section number you were convicted of violating?
  4. Was there a verdict or did you enter a plea?  If you entered a plea, was it “guilty” or “no contest” (also called “nolo contendere”)?
  5. Were you ordered to serve any time on probation (either formal or informal probation, since they are treated the same in your record)? If so, for how long?
  6. Were you ordered to pay any fines, restitution, or reimbursement?
  7. If you were sentenced to state prison, which one?
  8. If you were sentenced to state prison, on what date were you released?
  9. If you were released on parole, on what date?

Knowledge is power. The more you understand the circumstances of your conviction, the better you will be able to explain to advocates exactly how to help you.

If this applies to you continue

You may still qualify for Prop 47 record reclassification. Click here to learn more.

If the previous steps are not applicable to your record, other resources are available. Scroll to the bottom.

 How to Obtain and Expunge Your Record

 Step 1: Obtain Your Record

There are certain steps you can take to expunge your record, but first you need to actually obtain your criminal record or “RAP sheet.” This will give you a good idea of whether you qualify for expungement. You can obtain your record in two ways:

In Person

By Mail

Go to the Criminal Clerk’s Office Martinez 725 Court St. Martinez, CA 94553

Phone: (925) 628-1000

Hours: M-F 8:00-4:30 (except court holidays)

Fees:  $25 plus .50 cents per page

Address to -Criminal Clerk’s Office Martinez 725 Court St. Martinez, CA 94553 ‐ Mail the following three items:

1.The Records Request Form, which can be found at

2. Mail to 725 Court St. P.O. Box 911 Criminal Clerk’s Office Martinez, CA 94553

3. A self addressed stamped envelope for return mailing of the records. Be sure to write your phone number on the check.



Step 2: Check Your Record

Now that you have your record, you can see whether there are aspects that qualify for expungement or dismissal. One of the easiest ways to do so is using ‘Clear My Record,’ a free service provided by non-profit organization Code for America that may be able to help Alameda County residents reduce or dismiss their criminal records. The tool will ask for information about your record as well as your current residential and employment information in an effort to better understand your eligibility for expungement or dismissal.

This service is available at

From there, your application will be reviewed by a public defender to determine whether an expungement or dismissal may be possible.

You can also accomplish this by calling the  Contra Costa County Public Defender’s office at (510) 335-8000  to discuss your records and their “Clean Slate” program, available at

Either way, a Public Defender may contact you for information about next steps.

Step 3: Be Patient

Unfortunately, expungement or dismissal is not an efficient process. If you are eligible, be prepared to wait 3-4 months for expungement or dismissal to occur and show up on your record.

In the meantime, there are other resources you can access to aide you in the meantime. Here are a few to consider:

Felony Offenses and Prop 47

You may have heard about Proposition 47, which may be able to help amend your record. It is possible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor even if you have already served your sentence and parole for your crime. Here is some more information about what Prop 47 is, and how it works.

Prop 47 is a petition-based procedure that requires an application. Again, the “Clean Slate” program at the Contra Costa Public Defenders Office has an available petition application, at

Here are some simple rules to figure out if your felony conviction qualifies under Prop 47:

  • The crime must have been committed before November 5, 2014.

This is an important qualifier, as it shows that your crime was sentenced before Prop 47 went into effect. If the crime was sentenced after November 5, 2014, it would already be reclassified under Prop 47 so it wouldn’t apply.

  • Your criminal history must NOT include a serious violent charge and you cannot be registered as a sex offender.

Acts that are not eligible for Prop 47 include murder, other serious violent acts punishable by life imprisonment, sexual offenses or certain gun crimes.

  • The crime must be eligible under Prop 47’s conditions for reclassification.

 Qualifying felonies include property crimes and theft where the value does not exceed $950, including: shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, or writing fraudulent checks. Additionally, conviction of drug possession for most illegal substances -- including concentrated cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin -- also qualify for reclassification. Please contact an attorney for more specific information regarding your eligibility.

  • The petition must be filed before November 5, 2017.

If you believe you do have a felony that qualifies, you must file your petition before this date. This ensures your process will go smoothly, and doesn’t require you to procure “good cause” for a late filing.

Knowledge is power. The more you understand the circumstances of your conviction, the better you will be able to explain to advocates exactly how to help you.

Job Resources

East Bay Works: (510) 670-5700

Goodwill Career Services:,(415) 575-2101

America Works:,(510) 891-9100

Careeronestop:,(877) 872-5627

Rubicon Programs:

Legal Resources

Bay Area Legal Aid:,(510) 663-4755

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights:, (202) 662-8600

Contra Costa County Bar Association (925) 686- 6900


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