California Penal Code Section 1203.4

Penal Code Section 1203.4 provides in relevant part: "In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. ..." ( 1203.4, subd. (a)(1).) Under this statute, there are three circumstances under which a defendant may obtain relief: (1) where the defendant "has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation"; (2) where the defendant "has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation"; or (3) where a court determines that the defendant "should be granted ... relief" in the court's "discretion and the interests of justice." ( 1203.4, subd. (a)(1); see People v. Johnson (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 252, 262 149 Cal. Rptr. 3d 482.) In People v. Chandler (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 782, the trial court terminated the defendant's probation upon the conclusion of the probation term, despite the fact that the defendant had failed to pay some of his monthly restitution payment obligations and had not yet finished paying court-ordered restitution. (Id. at pp. 785-786.) The defendant subsequently sought to have his conviction "expunged" pursuant to section 1203.4. (Chandler, supra, at pp. 785-786.) In Chandler, although the defendant's probation terminated at the expiration of the probationary term and he had not committed any other violations of his probation, the defendant had failed to comply with the restitution condition. The trial court denied the defendant relief under section 1203.4 based on the fact that the defendant had not paid the full amount of restitution prior to the termination of his probation. (Chandler, supra, 203 Cal.App.3d at p. 789.) On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court's decision to terminate his probation at the end of the term, rather than to extend the period in order to allow him the opportunity to try to pay the remainder of the unpaid restitution, amounted to "a full discharge of all of the restraints and conditions of his probation," and thus entitled the defendant to relief under section 1203.4. (Chandler, supra, at p. 789.) The appellate court disagreed with this reasoning, concluding that the facts established that the defendant "had not satisfied the probation condition on restitution" and therefore he did not meet "the statutory requirement of fulfilling 'the conditions of his probation for the entire period thereof ... .' " (Ibid.)