The Third District Court of Appeal in the case of Ryan-Lanigan v. Bureau of Real Estate (Third Dist. App. Ct. No. C066848) has held that where a judge dismissed a conviction "in the interests of justice," the Bureau of Real Estate cannot use that conviction to discipline a licensee under Business and Professions Code section 10177. The Bureau of Real Estate had argued, among other things, that the dismissal was tantamount to an expungement. However, the court found that although the order was made "nunc pro tunc" without specific language for a dismissal under Penal Code section 1385, the court order was nonetheless tantamount to a 1385 dismissal which wiped away the conviction.
Situations such as Ryan-Lanigan are quite rare, as most Superior Court judges are not willing to routinely dismiss convictions. However, this case illustrates the power of such a dismissal if a judge is willing. It certainly helped that the conviction was not serious, just a misdemeanor hit-and-run. Also, one should keep in mind that many agencies have statutes that can impose license discipline for unprofessional conduct even if the conduct did not result in a conviction.