California law permits Defendant to seal arrest records under several circumstances, including when the Defendant successfully completes a drug diversion program.
Record of Arrest
If you have ever been arrested and fingerprinted, it is almost certain that your fingerprints are still on file with the law enforcement agency that arrested you, as well as the California Department of Justice. 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 Court will seal an arrest record. These include:
- When the Defendant is arrested, but not charged with a crime. (Penal Code 851.8)
- When the Defendant is found factually innocent after a jury trial. (Penal Code 851.85)
- When the Defendant’s conviction is set aside based on factual innocence. (Penal Code 851.86)
- When the Defendant successfully completes a District Attorney diversion program. (Penal Code 851.87)
- When the Defendant successfully completes drug diversion or deferred entry of judgment (DEJ). (Penal Code 851.90)
- When the Defendant is arrested and charged with a crime but was not convicted and the charges can no longer be filed. (Penal Code 851.91)
- 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?
- The law enforcement agency puts the arrest reports in sealed file, only accessible by law enforcement.
- 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 are required to 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, you will be entitled to have your arrest record sealed. 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.