January 14, 2014 By Stephen Klarich

Expungement for Child Pornography in California No Longer Available but There’s Still Hope (Penal Code Section 1203.4)

When it comes to sex crimes, lawmakers haven’t shown the slightest interest in making life any easier for a registered sex offender. Now, expungement for child pornography convictions in California will no longer be available.

Effective January 1, 2014, you are no longer permitted to expunge your record under Penal Code Section 1203.4 for any of the following crimes involving child pornography:

  • Distributing or selling child pornography (Penal Code Sections 311.1 and 311.2);
  • Developing, duplicating, printing or exchanging child pornography (Penal Code Section 311.3); and
  • Possessing child pornography (Penal Code Section 311.11).

What Does Expungement Mean?

Expungement for child pornography
Expungement for child pornography in California will no longer be available but there is still hope for you.

Generally, California law provides a pathway to clearing your record if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or, in many cases, a felony (provided you did not serve a prison sentence).

In order to “expunge” or clear a prior criminal conviction, you must:

  • Successfully complete a period of probation; and/or
  • Complete a misdemeanor jail sentence ordered by the court;


  • Pay any court-ordered fines in full;
  • Make restitution to your victims (if any);
  • Show up to all your court appearances or have your attorney appear for you if your appearance is not mandatory;
  • Not be on any form of supervision for any other offense; and
  • Not have any pending criminal charges against you.

Recent changes in California law now permit you to expunge a felony conviction for which you served a jail sentence, including all non-serious, non-violent felonies that are not sex offenses.

Why Expungement for Child Pornography is Important

Virtually every prospective employer will do a criminal background check prior to hiring a job applicant. Having a criminal record has become more than just a challenge to getting a job: it has become a barrier.

Expunging your conviction means you can honestly and legally say you were not convicted of the crime that was expunged, unless you are applying for public office, licensure with state or local agencies, or the California lottery.

Additionally, employers are prohibited from asking you about an expunged conviction in any decision to hire, fire or promote you.

What Options are Available to Someone with a Child Pornography Conviction?

Although your criminal record cannot be expunged, you may still petition the court for a Certificate of Rehabilitation under California Penal Code Section 4852. In many ways, being granted a Certificate of Rehabilitation is better than an expungement.

Expungement simply means your case was “dismissed” or “set aside.” Expungement says nothing about your character. A Certificate of Rehabilitation does not remove the conviction. However, it provides a current state of the record, demonstrating that the government has declared you have led an honest and law-abiding life over a significant period of time.

Will a Child Pornography Conviction Still Show Up on a Background Check?

Yes. However, a Certificate of Rehabilitation under PC 4852 can be very persuasive to employers, state licensing agencies, and anyone else who does a background check on you.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today

If you wish to have a conviction for a child pornography crime removed from your criminal record, you need to contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. You may be eligible for relief if you register as a sex offender. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully petitioning the courts for a Certificate of Rehabilitation for our clients seeking relief from this lifelong barrier to employment opportunities, housing and obtaining a professional state license.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will try to convince the court that you have proven to be an honest and law-abiding citizen, worthy of relief from sex offender registration. We can help you restore your dignity and good name.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together

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