With certain exceptions, under California Penal Code Section 1203.4 and 1203.4a, a criminal defendant may have his record expunged after his probation period has expired, so long as the criminal defendant did not violate probation and is not facing any new charges or is not serving time for, or on probation for any new offenses at the time of application.
By the terms of the statutes, the conviction of the criminal defendant is expunged and "shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense...and conviction set aside, and the charges dismissed." California Penal Code 1203.4.
Despite the broad language of the statute, the courts have interpreted the effect of expungement to be less broad.
Courts have held that an expunged conviction is still a conviction for purposes of subsequent criminal charges. People v. Hairline (1933) 219 C 532, 28 P2d 16. Similarly, courts have also found that expungement does not relieve a defendant in subsequent administrative proceedings. Adams v. County of Sacramento (1991) 235 CA3d 872, 1 CR2d 138.
Despite expungement, the conviction may still be used to impeach the defendant. People v. O'Brien (1949) 92 CA2d 752
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