The criminal justice system can be very imposing, but it can be especially frightening if you were arrested for a crime you did not commit. If you were arrested and you were not convicted of a crime, the record of your arrest may follow you around for the rest of your life.
This can be extremely frustrating, but there may be a solution for you.
What is a Factual Innocence Motion?
California Penal Code Section 851.8 states that under certain circumstances, any person who has been arrested or detained can petition to have their arrest record sealed and destroyed by filing a factual innocence motion.1
You may file for a factual innocence motion if you were:
- Arrested but had no formal charges filed against you
- Charged with a crime but the charges were dismissed, or
- Involved in a case that went to trial and you were found not guilty
If your factual innocence motion is granted, it could benefit you in many ways. This means the record of your arrest essentially disappears. Many people find this to be extremely helpful when applying for jobs. Employers often do background checks and ask if you’ve been convicted of a crime. Having your factual innocence motion granted means you will legally be able to tell potential employers that you have not been arrested or convicted of any crimes.
What Happens After You File a Factual Innocence Motion?
To file a factual innocence motion, your attorney must petition the law enforcement agency where you were arrested within two years of your arrest. If this agency does not respond to your petition within 60 days of receiving it, 60 days after the statute of limitations has expired, or if the agency denies your petition, your lawyer may petition the court with jurisdiction over your case to grant an order requiring that the law enforcement agency seal and destroy your arrest record.
A hearing will be held to determine if you are factually innocent. At this hearing, your attorney will attempt to show the court that there is no evidence available to convince a person that you could’ve been found guilty.
If your factual innocence motion is granted, the law enforcement agency, prosecutor’s officer and Department of Justice will seal any arrest reports, booking photos and records of evidence against you for three years. After the three-year period, the Department of Justice and police department will destroy these records.
Contact the Post-Conviction Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
Filing for a factual innocence motion is a very complicated legal matter. That is why it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate this process. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been helping clients obtain post-conviction relief for more than 35 years. We have helped many people have their factual innocence motions granted, and we can help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Torrance, Victorville and West Covina, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal attorney available near you no matter where you live or work.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.