Law Offices of William V. Pernik

Commitment. Determination. Results

(831) 222-3922

Available 24/7

There are many instances where a criminal conviction is unavoidable, despite the best efforts of your attorney to keep you out of harm’s way. Whether that conviction occurred recently, or have been weighing upon you for many years, you do not have to suffer forever its indignity and adverse personal and professional consequences.

By consulting with an experienced defense attorney, like Law Offices of William V. Pernik, you may be able to apply for, and obtain relief under section 1203.4 of the Penal Code, granting you the legal right, in most circumstances, to be freed from the harmful effects of your past crime. If you are still on felony probation for an offense that is a “wobbler,” i.e., a crime that could be either a felony or a misdemeanor, you may even be able to get that offense reduced to a misdemeanor prior to getting your case dismissed under section 1203.4.

P.C. 1203.4 Relief

Under section 1203.4, subd. (a), if you have been convicted of a crime but have successfully fulfilled the conditions of your probation, and are not serving a sentence for any other offense, are not on probation for any other offense, and are not being charged with any new offense, you may petition the court to allow you to withdraw your plea of guilty or no contest and enter a plea of not guilty, or if you have been convicted after a trial to set aside a guilty verdict, and in either case, dismiss the accusations against you.

As a result, you will be dismissed from all penalties and disabilities stemming from your offense, with a few statutory exceptions, such as:

  • Termination of probation and dismissal of charges will not affect any revocation or suspension of your driving privilege, or its priorable or limiting effect for future purposes (See V.C. 13555)
  • Order granting relief under P.C. 1203.4 does not relieve you from the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in the questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission (See P.C. 1203.4 (a)(1))
  • Dismissal of your case under this section does not permit you to own, possess, or have in your custody or control any firearm or ammunition, or prevent you from being charged with violating laws prohibiting firearm access in the future (See P.C. 1203.4 (a)(2) and P.C. 29800)
  • This relief does not permit you to hold public office if you are otherwise ineligible to hold public office as a result of your conviction (See P.C. 1203.4(a)(3))

In addition, there are a number of other offenses, such as regulatory vehicle offenses, and sex crimes, for which P.C. 1203.4 relief is either entirely unavailable or is available only in the discretion of the court. (See P.C. 1203.4, subd. (b) and (c). If you have been required to register as a sex offender under P.C. 290, section 1203.4 relief will not affect your lifetime registration duties.

Misdemeanor Reduction under Penal Code section 17 (b)

If you have been convicted of a felony “wobbler” offense, and have been placed on probation, section 17, subdivision (b) provides you with a legal mechanism to ask for a misdemeanor reduction, even if it had previously been denied at your preliminary hearing or felony sentencing. This relief is often used in conjunction with section 1203.4 in attempt to relieve you from most harmful effects of your past conviction.

Because P.C. 17(b) relief is discretionary, it’s a wise idea to be represented by a skilled legal practitioner, who can gather all necessary records showing your successful rehabilitation, draft appropriate papers and declarations, and make a compelling presentation to the court as to why you should be granted relief from being a convicted felon.

Here to Help You

At Law Offices of William V. Pernik, we believe in second chances, and are proud to have played a role in positive life changes made by many our clients. We know how hard you have worked to turn your life around, and honor your hard efforts by supporting you in this significant final step to reenter the society as a hard-working and law-abiding member of our community.

If you feel that you ready to make this step, please contact our office for help in preparing your P.C. 1203.4 petition.

We offer P.C. 1203.4 relief assistance pro bono to any of our current or former private clients who have successfully completed their probation without any violations. We also offer significantly reduced fees to any past indigent clients represented by William Pernik either as a deputy public defender or appointed conflict counsel. In all other cases, we offer competitive flat fee rates starting at $750, or hourly rates of $250/hour.

Law Offices of William V. Pernik serves the entire Monterey County, including the cities of Salinas, Marina, Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove, and accepts cases from nearby counties of Santa Cruz and San Benito. Upon request, we also take selected cases from the San Francisco Bay Area. 


Please contact Law Offices of William V. Pernik for a free and confidential consultation. Experienced representation is just a phone call away.