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What is the quickest and least expensive way to have an arrest record sealed or suppressed?

Laguna Beach, CA |

Last month I was arrested for an alleged Domestic Violence charge, which was completely ridiculous. My wife kept begging the sheriff to not arrest telling them that I didn't touch her, but apparently because we have two small children the sheriffs were mandated to take one of us into custody apparently separating us. Long story short, the DA kicked the case back to the agency saying that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that a crime was committed (which there wasn't). In any case that booked me into county(which was again (RIDICULOUS) and now I have an arrest record. I MUST get this arrest record suppressed, especially giving the circumstances. How can this be done most expeditiously?

Attorney Answers 6


Consult with some local attorneys about conducting a factual innocence hearing. This is not an easy process, but certainly worth pursuing if you can demonstrate factual innocence. The burden of proof is on you in these proceedings, though. Call around and get an idea of the prices and time frame, but it won't be cheap or easy to achieve what you're looking for.


Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.

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Sorry to hear about this. It happens quite often, unfortunately.

First of all, you do not or at least should not have an arrest record.

Penal Code § 849.5 mandates that this “arrest” be deemed a detention only: "In any case in which a person is arrested and released and no accusatory pleading is filed charging him with an offense, any record of arrest of the person shall include a record of release. Thereafter, *the arrest shall not be deemed an arrest, but a detention only."

In addition, Penal Code § 851.6(b) reads as follows: “In any case” in which a person is arrested and released and no accusatory pleading is filed charging him with an offense, the person “shall” be issued a certificate by the law enforcement agency which arrested him describing the action as a detention. You may want to ask for such a certificate and ensure that your record accurately reflects this detention.

To correct your criminal record, go to and fill out a form to show a detention if the record shows an arrest.

You can also order a copy of your rap sheet at

Good luck.

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Thank you Mr Hill for this important information. Can you tell me what your fee would be to help me file this paperwork. Or is this something that I should be able to handle on my own. Thank you again for your time.


The only way to seal & destroy an adult arrest record is under Penal Code 851.8. It is a petition for factual innocence.

You have to demonstrate that there was no basis to arrest you. It is YOUR burden to prove you're innocent.

If you prevail, it is an order to the police department and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to seal and eventually destroy your arrest record. That is the only way to get something off your record in California.

It is not a simple motion - Italy require a hearing and an opportunity for the prosecution to respond. It may be several months.

The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.

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Sorry to inform you that as with most things in life there is no easy and quick fix. If you are serious then I suggest contacting someone experienced in this area, before it is so hosed up that it can't be unraveled. Good luck.

The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.

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There is no expeditious way because it takes time to draft the petition, schedule the hearing, litigate it and then possibly re-litigate it if the court only reduces the arrest to a detention, which could happen, as opposed to agreeing to destroy the arrest records, etc.. The only remedy is a petition of factual innocence. The court often agrees to grant the petitions but it is not obligated to do so. Depends upon the facts of the case, the Judge, the prosecutor and the attitude of the petitioning defendant and the experience of the attorney. I would imagine most of us attorneys here on AVVO would be able to help you with this and even offer you a free confidential consultation. Remember that you usually get what you pay for.

This answer is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Its pretty simple. You hire an attorney to file a motion to seal and destroy your arrest record which can be done quickly. We do them all the time. If you need help give us a ring.

Brian Michaels

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