How To Seal Your Arrest Record in California
Under California law, anyone who was arrested but never convicted can have their arrest records sealed, which means the record won't appear on most criminal background checks.
A recently updated 2018 law, Senate Bill 393 (the CARE Act), now makes it easier to get your record sealed in California.
Every year, thousands of people are arrested, but charges are never filed by the District Attorney's office.
In other cases, charges are filed but later dismissed by the prosecutor for different reasons.
Many people who were arrested don't understand that if you fail to take legal action to protect your criminal record, the details of your arrest will likely remain public for everyone to see.
In order to give readers a better understanding arrest record sealing in California, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are providing a review below.
Eligibility for Arrest Record Sealing
Under California penal Code 851.91 PC, you are eligible to get your arrest record sealed under the following circumstances:
- criminal charges were never filed after your arrest;
- criminal charges were filed after arrest, but later dismissed;
- you were found not guilty in a jury trial;
- you were found guilty, but the conviction was vacated or overturned on appeal;
Benefits of Sealing an Arrest Record in California
In California, a criminal record is a public record meaning any person is allowed access to someone's criminal history, including potential employers and landlords.
While employers are technically prohibited under “California's ban the box law” from considering arrest not leading to a conviction, they will often reject an application based on the arrest.
Also, having your arrest record sealed can help you get accepted into college or the military and advance your career by obtaining a professional certification.
After the arrest record is sealed, any member of the public will no longer be able to view your:
- arrest record,
- police report,
- booking photo,
- rap sheet, or
- court records.
Before the updated law, it was very difficult for an arrested person who was not convicted to get their record sealed.
This meant when potential employers and landlords ran a routine background check, they would see the arrest record and discriminate against an innocent person.
Now, the arrested person only has to show the judge their arrest didn't lead to a conviction.
The protections of sealing an arrest record do not prohibit disclosure of arrests to a California government agency or the Department of Justice.
What is the Process of Sealing a California Arrest Record?
Contact our team of experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys who can guide you through the court process of filing a petition to seal your arrest record.
A petition must be filed in the court where charges based on the arrest were filed or in the county where the arrest occurred.
After the petition to seal an arrest record is received by the prosecuting agency, they can request a hearing to challenge the petition that must occur within 60 days after being served.
At the actual hearing, a judge will review your arrest record and determine whether the interests of justice will be served by granting your petition.
You lawyer can present evidence to support your argument to grant the petition.
Call Cron, Israels & Stark to Determine Eligibility for Sealing Arrest Record
The process for sealing a California arrest record can be complex and we need to review the details of your arrest to determine eligibility.
Our attorneys have been successfully helping clients clean their criminal records for many years.
We understand you will have questions about the possibility of sealing your arrest record, so give our office a call for an initial consultation at (424) 372-3112.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm that represents clients throughout all Southern California courts, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Our law firm is at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025.