Misdemeanor and Felony Probation in California
Thanks to recent legislation in California, most individuals placed on probation will now have probation terminated within one year in the case of a misdemeanor or two years in felony cases. Legislation passed in September 2020 changed the probationary period in California for most offenses. This new law has a significant impact on all individuals in California.
The law became effective in January 2021 and now allows most probationers a chance of having their cases dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4 within one year for a misdemeanor or two years in felony cases. Previously an individual would have to wait three years or more to complete the probation period. This resulted in many individuals having job opportunities denied and other related negative consequences. Thankfully, an individual can now complete the probation period within two years or less and then petition the court to dismiss the case.
The new probationary periods, however, still do not apply to certain offenses. Specifically, in the case of a financial crime where the amount of loss is greater than $25,000.00. The new law also does not change the period of probation when the offense includes a specific period of probation within its provision. It also does not change the period of probation for violent felonies.
The period of probation remains three years for a DUI. If convicted of a DUI, the Vehicle Code sets the probation period at three to five years. The related offense for alcohol-related reckless driving only requires a period of probation of one year. Therefore, if charged with a DUI, there is a benefit in pursuing a reduced charge.
Regardless of the offense, once probation has expired, an individual is entitled to have the offense dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4. For most offenses, an individual who completes probation with no violations is entitled to have the case dismissed (expunged) from their record. The benefits an individual will receive once the case is dismissed are outlined in Penal Code section 1203.4
For most driving-related offenses, an individual who completes probation must persuade the court that granting the requested relief, under Penal Code section 1203.4, would be in the interests of justice. Most courts would grant the request if probation was completed without a violation. However, the offense remains a prior for ten years.
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony in California and have questions about probation or having your case dismissed, give us a call. We will gladly answer any questions that you may have.