How to Remove an Arrest from your Record if you were Innocent
How to remove an arrest from your record when your were innocent of the crime that you were accused of committing.
Arrested but Charges were later DroppedA person who was arrested, but not charged with a criminal complaint, or criminally charged but the case was later dropped and can show that he/she is factually innocent can file a petition to have their arrest information sealed and destroyed from their record. California Penal Code section 851.8 provides the authority and guidelines on how to petition law enforcement and/or the courts to seal and destroy your arrest record. Review California Penal Code section 851.8 (a) to become familiar with the code's legal requirements.
Steps to Seal and Destroy Arrest Records1. Contact the police agency that made the arrest and ask if they have their own form or would accept the online version from DOJ. 2. A copy of the petition should be served upon the prosecuting attorney of the county or city having jurisdiction over the offense. 3. The police agency is given first opportunity to decide if you were factually innocent. If they do then they will notify the DOJ to seal your arrest record. 4. If the police agency rejects you request or does not reply within 60 days then it is considered a denial to seal your record. 5. If this happens you can file your petition with the superior court that had jurisdiction over the matter. 6. Make sure you serve a copy of the petition with the arresting police agency and the district attorney's office at least 10 days before the court hearing. 7. Find out from the clerk's office if the court will set a formal court hearing or will simply be review the submitted petition to make a determination of factual innocence. 8. If there is no hearing make sure you should also submit with your petition witness declarations, affidavits, and the police reports (obtained from the arresting agency). 9. This will help prove your innocence's you should understand the required burden of proof used by the courts. The petitioner needs to show that no reasonable cause exists to believe that he/she committed the offense. 10. If the court accepts your argument then the burden shifts to the prosecution. 11. If the court rules in your favor congratulations, your records will be sealed and destroyed after three years.