Seal Arrest Record

California law permits Defendant to seal arrest records under several circumstances, including when the Defendant successfully completes a drug diversion program.

Record of Arrest

When law enforcement arrests someone, they send their fingerprint records to the California Department of Justice. Those fingerprints and the record of arrest become a part of that person’s criminal record. An arrest record can have a negative impact on your life, including your ability to obtain employment and professional or vocational licenses. You may be able to seal the arrest record if your case falls into one of the categories below:

You can seal an arrest record if:

There are a number of instances when the judge will seal an arrest record. These include:

  1. Law enforcement arrested the defendant, but the prosecutor did not press charges. (Penal Code 851.8)
  2. A jury found the defendant guilty after a trial. (Penal Code 851.85)
  3. A judge sets aside the defendant’s conviction based on factual innocence. (Penal Code 851.86)
  4. The defendant successfully completed a District Attorney diversion program. (Penal Code 851.87)
  5. The defendant successfully completed drug diversion or deferred entry of judgment (DEJ). (Penal Code 851.90)
  6. The prosecutor charged the defendant with a crime but the defendant was not convicted and the charges can no longer be filed. (Penal Code 851.91)
  7. The Defendant demonstrates to the Judge that sealing the arrest is in the interests of justice (Penal Code 851.91(c))

What Does Sealing an Arrest Do?

  1. The law enforcement agency puts the arrest reports in a sealed file, only accessible by law enforcement.
  2. The Court sends a notice to the California Department of Justice directing them to erase the record of arrest.

Will a sealed arrest show up on a background check?

No. Under California law, Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies can only report arrests for pending cases or cases that resulted in conviction within the last seven years. Once an arrest record is sealed, consumer reporting agencies must update their records within 30 days to reflect that no arrest occurred. (California Civil Code 1786.18)

Do I need an attorney to seal my arrest?

Not necessarily. You can request to have your arrest sealed by completing the Petition to Seal Arrest and Related Records and the Order to Seal Arrest and Related Records. If your arrest did not result in conviction and you meet the other requirements of Penal Code section 851.91, the judge must seal your arrest record. Otherwise, you will have to demonstrate to the Court that sealing the arrest record is in the interests of justice. Check the information brochure for assistance.

RBX Law is licensed to seal arrest records in California.