March 10, 2017 By Paul Wallin

Arrest Record

How to Seal an Arrest Record in California (PC 851.8)

If you are arrested for a crime, your arrest record could impact you for the rest of your life. Even if you are not convicted of the crime you were arrested for, your arrest record will not go away. However, there may be a way for you to have your arrest record sealed and destroyed in California.

You may be able to have our lawyers at Wallin & Klarich file a factual innocence motion on your behalf if you were not convicted of the crime you were arrested for. If granted by the court, your arrest record will be sealed and destroyed.

Seal and Destroy Arrest Records (PC 851.8)

Under California Penal Code Section 851.8, a person who has been arrested or detained can petition to have their arrest record sealed and destroyed by filing a factual innocence motion.

You are eligible for a factual innocence motion if you have been improperly accused of committing a criminal offense, including:

  • You were arrested but had no charges formally filed against you
  • Charges were filed against you but then dismissed
  • Your case went to trial but you were not found guilty of committing the offense

You may also be able to file a factual innocence motion if you were detained by police for suspicion of committing an offense. This is helpful if you want to remove the detention from your record.

Petitioning for Factual Innocence Motion

To file a factual innocence motion, your attorney will petition the law enforcement agency where you were arrested within two years of your arrest. If the agency:

  • Does not respond to the petition within 60 days of receiving
  • Does not respond after the statute of limitations has expired, OR
  • Denies the petition

Your lawyer can then petition the court with jurisdiction over your case to grant an order for the law enforcement agency that arrested you to seal and destroy your arrest record.

After your lawyer prepares and files your motion to seal your arrest record, the court will schedule a hearing to determine if you are factually innocent. At this hearing, your lawyer will be able to argue to the court that there is no evidence available that could convince a reasonable person you could have been found guilty of this crime.

Your attorney can provide the court with police reports, witness testimony, declarations and affidavits to show no reasonable cause exists to believe you could have committed the offense. The burden of proof lies on the prosecutor and arresting officer to show reasonable cause existed that you committed the offense. Based on the evidence, the court will determine whether to grant or deny your petition.

Sealing and Destroying Your Arrest Record

If your factual innocence motion is granted, the law enforcement agency that arrested you, prosecutor’s office and the Department of Justice will seal any arrest reports, evidence records and booking photos for three years. After that period, the Department of Justice and law enforcement agency will destroy the records.

Why Should I Hire Wallin & Klarich to Help Me Seal and Destroy My Arrest Record?

If your arrest record is sealed, potential employers will not be able to see that you were arrested. You will legally be able to tell any potential employer that you have not been arrested or convicted of a crime.

Petitioning for a factual innocence motion is a very complicated legal process, so it is important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney helping you effectively navigate the process of sealing your arrest record.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one needs help sealing an arrest record per PC 851.8, it’s important to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our criminal defense attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully helping our clients seal and destroy their arrest records. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.

Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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