When was the last time that you read about the law and said, “that’s awesome?” If you have been convicted of a marijuana offense in California, there is a good chance that you are going to be pleasantly surprised. You can get a clean record, and you don’t have to hire an expungement attorney. In fact, you probably won’t have to do anything at all.
In California, if you were convicted after 1976 of marijuana or paraphernalia possession, or giving away less 28.5 grams, your records are automatically destroyed after two years. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. After two years, if you are asked whether you have been arrested or convicted, you can legally say no, with regard to the marijuana offense.
If you were arrested for a marijuana offense before 1976, you have to apply to have your conviction expunged and clean your record. (Hey, it’s still the law, it can’t be good news all the time.) Once the application is approved by the Department of Justice, they will review your record and physically destroy any reference to your marijuana conviction. In addition, agencies including the DMV, the FBI and local police will all be instructed to destroy records of your conviction.
Here are a few additional points worth knowing about expunging marijuana offenses:
- The two year automatic destruction does not apply to more serious marijuan offenses, such as distribution of over 28.5 grams, or cultivation.
- After two years have passed, or after expungement of a pre-1976 conviction, if you are asked about the offense or whether you have a criminal record, you may answer no.
- You cannot legally be denied a professional license or permit in California because of your conviction.
So if you have been concerned about a marijuana offense on your record, there is a good chance that you can relax. It’s probably already destroyed. If it is a more serious offense that hasn’t been destroyed, expungement is typically an available option.