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Sealing Arrest Records

There is a common misconception an arrest that does not lead to a criminal conviction will have minimal, if any, negative ramifications. Those who are familiar with the nuances of the law understand such a situation has the potential to cause serious issues down the line. If you are arrested, it will appear on your permanent criminal record even if you are not convicted of the alleged crime. It does not matter if the case was dismissed by the judge or if you were acquitted. 

Even if you were framed for a crime, the fact that you were arrested will haunt you for years to come. Your criminal record can be viewed by landlords, employers, banks and any other party that conducts a criminal background check. Can you imagine being denied an apartment or job simply because you were arrested and charged with a crime you did not commit? This is the nightmare scenario our attorneys can help you avoid with the sealing of your arrest records.

Sealing Arrest Records

Though the law certainly seems unfair in the sense that an innocent person can be saddled with an arrest record viewable by all sorts of other parties even though he or she did not commit a crime, there is an avenue of recourse. The law also makes it possible for our attorneys to obtain your arrest record on your behalf along with all the information pertaining to the arrest and have it officially sealed. This is the best way to ensure a false arrest does not preclude you from obtaining employment, an apartment, bank account, etc. You really do have the power to prevent a false arrest from holding you back in life. It all starts with an initial consultation without experienced attorneys. In most cases, we can seal an arrest record in a couple months or less.

How Arrest Records are Sealed in California

Our attorneys know exactly what to do to seal your arrest records so prospective employers, landlords, banks and other parties do not find out you were arrested. Meet with our legal team and we will get the ball rolling on clearing your arrest record. We will motion the proper agencies under applicable laws to formally request your arrest records be sealed. Furthermore, it might be prudent to request your arrest records be destroyed.

As soon as the petition is granted, your full criminal arrest record along with fingerprints, the arrest report, booking photo and other information related to the arrest will be permanently sealed. Once your arrest record is sealed, you will be able to tell others you have never been arrested. Such a statement can be made in full confidence as nobody will be able to access your permanent criminal record.

Sealing Arrest Records Through PC 851.8

An older law on the books referred to as PC 851.8 is one of the best ways to seal your arrest record. This law mandates the charged party proves what is referred to in legal circles as factual innocence. Proving factual innocence is difficult. Most charged parties rely on their attorney to gather evidence and shape a convincing argument to prove factual innocence. Our legal team has proven factual innocence for countless California residents. Factual innocence requires the judge concurs in retrospect, considering the totality of evidence, that an arrest was unjustified. Convincing a judge to think in such a manner is easier said than done. Those who attempt to represent themselves in a pro se manner rarely find success in proving factual innocence.

PC 851.8 mandates the individual in question submits the request to seal his or her arrest records within two years of the date of arrest. If the arrest occurred more than two years ago, our attorneys will seek a time waiver. However, there is no guarantee the court will grant such a waiver. Relief provided through PC 851.8 reaches beyond that of PC 851.91 as outlined below due to the fact that it permanently seals and eliminates your arrest record. This means your arrest record is fully removed from public databases of all types. In other words, your criminal arrest record will no longer exist. Arrest record sealing through PC 851.8 is more challenging and mandates much more work so it is not the preferred method.

Sealing Arrest Records Through PC 851.91

A much more recent law, passed on the first day of 2018, provides another avenue for sealing arrest records. Under PC 851.91, it is only necessary to prove you are actually eligible for relief. We will motion the court requesting such relief on the grounds that general requirements have been met for qualification under PC 851.91.

In order to qualify for a sealing of arrest records under PC 851.91, your arrest must have occurred in the state of California. Furthermore, the arrest cannot have caused convictions. If you have been convicted of a crime, sealing your arrest records is not the right route. You will be better served with an expungement. Finally, the statute of limitations must have passed, meaning the prosecuting attorney can no longer file charges. The statute of limitations for felony arrests is three years. Misdemeanor arrests have a statute of limitations of a single year.

As soon as the court seals your arrest record under PC 851.91, it will be updated. A note reading “arrest sealed' will be added to the local summary of your criminal history in the area below or next to the entries pertaining to the sealed arrest. The DOJ rap sheet comprised of information pertaining to your criminal history in the state of California will include below or next to the entry/entries that arrest relief has been granted. If the judge orders the record to be sealed, it will be illegal to disseminate arrest information to private parties. This means your arrest record will be closed off from the public's view in the majority of situations yet it can still be seen on the DOJ rap sheet. A notation will be added stating your arrest record has been sealed. 

It is also important to note sealing an arrest under PC 851.91 does not preclude you from your obligation to disclose the fact that the arrest happened if otherwise mandated by the law in response to direct questioning in an application for public office, licensure by state/local agencies, Peace Officer employment or contracting through the California State Lottery Commission.

Once this process is complete, you will be able to truthfully and legally state you have not been arrested in any other situation not listed above. You can respond “No” on all applications for employment, apartments, loans and so on. The bottom line is if you feel your arrest was unjustified, you have every reason to let that arrest remain on your permanent record. Having your arrest record sealed through PC 851.8 or PC 851.91 and you will be able to live life in full confidence without worry. You will not have to fret about being wrongfully arrested in the future as you will know full well relief is available through the sealing of your arrest record.

Why Bother Having Your Arrest Record Sealed? 

If you have been arrested, you are likely wondering why you should pay an attorney to help you seal your record. After all, much of the damage has already been done. Though it is certainly true you have been through the ringer following this unfortunate incident, failing to take action can make your life even worse in the days to come. If you do not have your arrest record sealed, you will continue to be punished for something you did not do. Sealing your arrest records really is your chance to right this wrong for good.

Have your arrest record sealed in California and you will enjoy all sorts of additional tangible benefits in addition to peace of mind. Those who have their arrest record sealed are eligible for professional certificates and licenses, improved housing assistance and larger student loans with better interest rates. Perhaps most importantly, you will be eligible for more employment opportunities once your arrest record is sealed. The little bit of money you spend to have one of our attorneys seal your criminal records has the potential to pave the way for a lucrative career that pays you back exponentially more than the cost of our legal services. Your arrest record will no longer appear on any private background checks so no one will have any idea you were wrongfully arrested.

Do Not Attempt to Seal Your Arrest Records on Your Own

You need an experienced and savvy attorney on your side to ensure your criminal arrest record is sealed. This is an extremely complex area of the law. If you do not have a skilled attorney on your side, you run the risk of wasting your time and energy on a fruitless attempt to seal your record. Let our legal experts handle your quest to have your arrest record sealed and we will put for the evidentiary support necessary to prove your factual evidence for relief under PC 851.8. This process is similar to a legal trial so do not assume any layman can navigate it with success. You need an attorney on your side to stand any chance of successfully countering the arguments proposed by opposing counsel. If a prosecuting attorney does not serve as the opposition, another agency involved in the arrest will likely attempt to block your request for the sealing of your arrest record.

Perhaps the best reason to hire an attorney for this legal challenge is there is only one opportunity to argue for the sealing of your arrest record. If your argument does not have merit, the judge will likely deny the petition and you will be stuck with a permanent criminal record viewable by potential employers, landlords and other important parties. This is precisely why it is so important to have everything done right on the first try. Furthermore, you probably do not have an in-depth understanding of California's nuanced laws. The chances are slim-to-none that a layman can craft and present a convincing argument before the judge to have his or her arrest record sealed. Let our legal team handle the nuances of this challenging endeavor to present the best possible argument and convince the judge that your criminal record should be sealed.

Exceptions to Sealing Arrest Records

If the individual arrested has a history of convictions, it will prove more challenging to have his or her arrest record sealed. Furthermore, a history of arrests can also make it difficult to seal one's arrest record. An individual who has been arrested for domestic violence, child abuse and/or elderly abuse will likely find it is somewhat of an uphill battle to have his or her arrest record sealed. However, the challenge is nowhere near as intimidating or challenging when a talented attorney is relied up on to craft a compelling argument.

Let one of our attorneys fiercely advocate on your behalf and it will be that much easier to seal your arrest record. We know exactly what judges are looking for in terms of arguments for sealing arrest records. Our legal team understands how to persuade judges that sealing a client's arrest record will serve the interest of justice. Lean on us to prove to the judge that you have made a concerted effort at rehabilitation and the chances of him or her granting the sealing of your arrest records are that much better. 

If you have a pattern of arrests, defined by California's SB 393 as two or more convictions or five or more arrests across a period of three years, having your arrest records sealed will take some time and effort. Those who fall into such a category can petition to have records sealed on the grounds that it serves the interests of justice. When considering whether the interests of justice would actually be served through the sealing of an arrest, the judge might consider factors ranging from the record of convictions to hardship resulting from the arrest as referenced in the petition, declarations of evidence pertaining to the arrest or declarations of evidence pertaining to the merit of the petitioner's character.

Legal Assistance is a Phone Call Away

The bottom line is it is not a matter of right to have an arrest record sealed in California. This process requires the hard work and intelligence of savvy legal practitioners. Our trusted team at San Diego DUI Attorney are here to help you with sealing your arrest records as well as other legal matters. Do not attempt to navigate the legal maze on your own. If you would like your arrest records sealed or if you are charged with DUI, we can help. Give us a call at 619-535-7150 to schedule an initial consultation.

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