If you were you arrested but never convicted of the crime, that arrest will (1) show on your permanent criminal record for the rest of your life, and (2) potentially be seen by employers, landlord, and banks during background check. Further, if charges were filed against you but the case was subsequently dismissed, those charges are also visible on your permanent criminal record. Fortunately, laws exist allowing you to get your arrest record and all information relating to the arrest, officially sealed. Do not let a false arrest hold you back in your life. Start the process to seal your arrest record. I specialize in record clearing laws and getting arrest records sealed for my clients. I know how to navigate the intricacies of the arrest record sealing laws typically allowing me to seal your arrest record in six-12 weeks.
Arrest Record Sealing
Pricing listed is for Penal Code 851.91 arrest record sealing, not Penal Code 851.8. If you are interested in a Penal Code 851.8 factual innocence sealing please call me to discuss at (415) 695-4545.
Arrest Record Sealing Summary
If you were arrested, the criminal arrest information will normally be on your permanent criminal record for life. Further, if you were ever charged with a crime after your arrest but never subsequently convicted because the case was dismissed or you were acquitted, the criminal charge will be a part of your permanent criminal record. Since the criminal charge is on your record for everyone to see, it can have a serious negative impact on your life and your ability to secure employment.
I am able to motion the court to request the arrest records be sealed and/or destroyed. Once the petition is granted the entire record, including fingerprints, booking photograph, arrest report, and other official information regarding the arrest will be sealed. You will be able to truthfully say you have never been arrested. Further, the sealed arrest information will no longer display on background checks by employers, landlords, and banks.
Two Ways to Seal An Arrest Record
Method 1 - Penal Code 851.8: The first method for sealing an arrest record is under Penal Code 851.8, which is an older law and requires proving factual innocence. Factual innocence can be a very hard thing to prove and requires the court to agree that in retrospect and given the totality of evidence, you should not have been arrested. Further, Penal Code 851.8 requires a two-year time limit for filing the arrest record sealing request with the court from the arrest date. If the arrest occurred more than two years ago, I can request a time waiver, but this can be difficult to do. However, Penal Code 851.8 relief is more far-reaching than under Penal Code 851.91 (see below) because it permanently seals and destroys the arrest record, which means it will be completely removed from all public databases and will essentially cease to exist. Arrest record sealing under Penal Code 851.8 is much more difficult and requires much more work than under Penal Code section 851.91. Therefore, the cost for arrest record sealing under Penal Code 851.8 is not fixed (i.e., is not $900). If you are interested in this more thorough approach to arrest record sealing, please call me to discuss at (415) 695-4545.
Method 2 - PC 851.91: The second method for sealing an arrest record is a more simplistic approach than under Penal Code section 851.89 (see above). Under Penal Code 851.91 you only need to prove you are eligible for relief and to petition the court seeking relief.
The requirements under Penal Cod 851.91 to have your arrest record sealed are below:
1. You must have been arrested in California.
2. Your arrest must not have resulted in a conviction. If you were convicted, my expungement service is more appropriate for your situation (see infraction expungement service, misdemeanor expungement service, or felony expungement service).
3. Charges can no longer be filed by the district attorney, which means (a) the statute of limitations has passed (one year for misdemeanor arrest, three years for felony arrest), or (b) charges were filed and later dismissed.
Once the court orders the arrest record sealed under Penal Code 851.91 the arrest record will be updated as follows:
1. The local summary criminal history information will include directly next to or below the entry for the sealed arrest a note stating, “arrest sealed.”
2. The state summary criminal history information (i.e., your Department of Justice rap sheet) will include directly next to or below the entry for the sealed arrest a note stating, “arrest relief granted.”
If the court orders the record sealed, it becomes illegal for the court or any law enforcement agency to disseminate the arrest information to any private entity. Therefore, your arrest record will be sealed from public view in almost all situations, but will still be visible on your Department of Justice (“DOJ”) rap sheet. However, even your DOJ rap sheet will be updated with a notation stating the court has ordered the arrest record sealed.
Sealing an arrest pursuant to Penal Code 851.91 does not relieve you from the obligation of disclosing the arrest if otherwise required by law in response to any direct question contained in an application for the situations below:
1. Public office.
2. Employment as a peace officer.
3. Licensure by any state or local agency.
4. Contracting with the California Lottery Commission.
Therefore, you can legally and honestly state you have never been arrested in any other situation not listed above, which means you can answer “no" on nearly all employment, landlord, and lender applications if asked if you have ever been arrested.
If you feel that you were wrongfully arrested, no reason exists to let that arrest remain a part of your permanent record. Getting the arrest record sealed under Penal Code 851.8 or Penal Code 851.91 will provide you with relief from the wrongful arrest.
Benefits of Getting Your Arrest Record Sealed in California
A wrongful arrest can have a severe impact on your life and serve as a permanent blemish on your criminal record. Getting your arrest record sealed can erase that blemish and provide you with not only the peace of mind of getting official recognition from the court that the arrest was in fact wrongful, but also provide you with other tangible benefits including those below:
1. Completely remove the arrest from your permanent criminal record (if doing a Penal Code 851.8 petition to seal).
2. The arrest will no longer display on private background checks.
3. You can truthfully and legally answer “no” on private sector job applications when asked if you have ever been arrested.
4. You can greatly increase your earning capacity by becoming eligible for more employment opportunities.
5. You may become eligible for more types of professional licenses and certificates.
6. You can become eligible for better student loans.
7. You can become eligible for better housing assistance.
8. You can honestly tell friends and family you have never been arrested.
9. You have the satisfaction of forgetting the past for good and moving forward into a positive future.
Why An Experienced Attorney Is Essential
The process of getting your arrest record sealed is a fairly complex area of law and should not be navigated without the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. For Penal Code 851.8 arrest record sealing the legal process resembles a miniature trial in which all evidentiary support demonstrating your factual innocence must be gathered and typically presented to the judge at a hearing. The district attorney or other agencies involved in the arrest almost always oppose thereby requiring me to make oral arguments in support of your factual innocence to persuade the judge. Further, you only get one chance to get your arrest record sealed. If the judge denies the petition, you will likely not be able to get the arrest record in question sealed in the future. Therefore, it is essential everything is correctly done the first time.
Not only is hiring an attorney essential to your success, but it is important to hire an attorney with vast experience with the arrest record sealing laws in California. I focus on California record clearing laws. From the moment you sign up for my arrest record sealing service my knowledge and expertise will be applied to the unique facts of your arrest. I will handle your case from start to finish.