Who Can Request to
Have Their Records Sealed?
Under California Penal Code 851.8 PC, "In any case where a person has been arrested, and no accusatory pleading has been filed, the person arrested may petition the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense to destroy its records of the arrest."
A person can request to have their records sealed when:
- No criminal charges were filed against the defendant.
- Criminal charges were initially filed against the defendant but later dismissed.
- The offender was found "not guilty" or acquitted in a jury trial.
- An appellate court overturned the defendant's conviction.
- The offender successfully completed a pre-sentencing program.
Only people who were not convicted of a crime are eligible to have their records sealed.
Who is Not Eligible to
Have Their Records Sealed?
An individual with a history of arrest or conviction for child abuse, domestic violence, or elder abuse may lose their rights to seal an arrest record. The following may also not be eligible to have their records sealed:
- A person charged with an offense based on the arrest.
- A person who can still be charged with the crime.
- A person arrested for murder or a crime without a statute of limitations.
- A person who intentionally evaded law enforcement to avoid prosecution and wasn't charged.
- A person who engaged in identity fraud to avoid prosecution.
Why Should You Seal Your Records?
Criminal records are public records and can be accessed by potential employers, landlords, colleges, and other members of the general public. All these people conduct thorough background checks to screen the criminal records of applicants.
Having a criminal record usually has devastating long-term social ramifications and can limit a person's access to education, employment, civic engagement, housing, professional licensing, and public assistance.
Fortunately, members of the general public may be unable to see arrest records sealed under Penal Code 851.87 PC. Therefore, sealing your records can help ensure that you do not limit your personal and future opportunities. This is the right way to get the second chance you deserve.
Is a Sealed Record Ever Able to Be Used?
A sealed record is inaccessible to any member of the general public, but it still exists and may be used in some circumstances such as:
- Applications for a firearm
- A criminal justice agency may access and disclose the arrest to other law enforcement agencies
- An application for Public office
- When applying for employment as a peace officer
- Licensing by any state or local agency
What is the Process For
Getting Records Sealed?
The record sealing process starts by filing a petition to seal an arrest record in the court that the original arrest charges were filed or the county where the arrest occurred. The petition is then served on the prosecuting attorney and the law enforcement agency who arrested you. A petition to seal an arrest shall be verified and be filed at least 15 days prior to the petition hearing.
A petition hearing will be scheduled to examine the arrest record and why sealing the record should occur. During the hearing, the presiding judge will determine whether to deny or grant your motion to seal and destroy your California arrest records. An experienced attorney can help present your case diligently and improve your chance of a favorable outcome.
Work with Experienced Legal Counsel
Having a criminal record can be a huge barrier to securing employment, housing, scholarship, professional licensing, and public assistance. The ramifications are often devastating and can affect your quality of life and professional future. Thankfully, sealing criminal records can offer you the second chance you deserve. A knowledgeable attorney can help protect your rights and determine your best course of legal action.
At McCready Law Group, I have devoted my career to providing strong representation to clients who have prior arrests or a criminal record. With 8 years of active service on the Los Angeles Police force, I have a detailed understanding of how to navigate the criminal justice system. As your attorney, I will fight vigorously to protect your rights, have your criminal record sealed, and help you get back on your feet. Having me on your side can improve your chances of having your record sealed and a better tomorrow.