Expungements and Certificates of Rehabilitation in California differ in eligibility and what they avieve in cleaning up your criminal record. You are eligible for an expungement on a most misdemeanors or felonies so long as you did not get a state prison commitment, that means that your sentence included probation on a felony with no more than county jail, or any sentence on a misdemeanor or infraction, with or without probation. Certificates of Rehabilitation help clean up felony cases where an individual went to state prison and they can also can delete some misdemeanor P.C. 290 sex offense registration requirements.
An expungement of a criminal case in Vista Courts and throughout California, prevents an employer from using it in nearly every situation. Effective this year, 1/1/2014, California Labor Code 432.7 states "no employer shall ask an applicant for employment to disclose" information concerning a case dismissed, diverted, sealed or expunged. An employer cannot try to find information about those cases and cannot use those cases as a factor for hiring, promotion or termination. An employer can ask about cases an applicant has pending. There are some exceptions for use of expunged offenses for government agencies employing peace officers.
Criminal record clean up may have a new tool available soon. New legislation pending in Sacramento will help drug offenders clean up their records and allow them to reduce felony drug charges to misdemeanors. Some possession for personal use of drugs like heroin and cocaine have been non-reducible felony drug charges. This meant they could never be reduced to a misdemeanor if you were convicted. You could expunge them, but that does not do away with all the issues of a felony conviction, it is like a good behavior dismissal if you successfully completed probation. You could not possess a firearm, and still had the stigma of a felony record. If passed, record clean up for drugs like heroin and cocaine could include reduction to misdemeanors.