This guide explains the new law that went into effect in January, 2018 that will help you seal your criminal arrest record in California.
Utilize the New Law in Effect to Seal Your Criminal Arrest Record
As of January 1, 2018, anyone who has been arrested can petition the court to have the criminal arrest records sealed pursuant to California Penal Code section 851.91. What is great about this new statute is that it applies to both misdemeanor and felony arrests! Everyone would agree that it is humiliating to have to disclose an arrest from the past, especially if you are trying to obtain the job of your dreams. Now the social stigma and embarrassment for your past mistake can be completely wiped from your record with the new petition process that*s available.
Are You Eligible to Seal Your Arrest Record?
In order to be eligible to petition the court to seal your arrest record, the following eligibility requirements must be met that establish your arrest did not result in a conviction:
1. The statute of limitations has already passed and the prosecutor can no longer file any charges against you; or
2. Charges were filed against you but they were ultimately dismissed and can no longer be refiled; or
3. You were found to be *not guilty* by a judge or a jury.
Please note, a person is not eligible to have their arrest record sealed in any of the following circumstances:
- you can still be charged with any of the offenses upon which the arrest was based (some crimes do not have a statute of limitations * i.e. murder)
- you intentionally evaded law enforcement efforts to prosecute you, including fleeing the jurisdiction where the arrest happened or engaging in identity fraud (i.e. using someone else*s name)
If you meet the requirements discussed above, you can petition the court to seal your arrest record in the interests of justice. After your petition is filed, a judge will review the petition to decide if it should be granted. There are only a few situations where a judge has the discretion to deny your petition to seal your arrest record including the following:
- The charge or arrest was for domestic violence and you have had prior arrests for domestic violence that show a pattern of this type of conduct;
- The charge or arrest was for child abuse and your record demonstrates a pattern of child abuse arrests, convictions or both;
- Elder abuse, if your record shows a pattern of elder abuse arrests, convictions or both.
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