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Sealing Arrest Records in California

Sealing Arrest Records in California

If you were arrested, you may be wondering if your arrest records are public, and reasonably so! Can a potential employer find your arrest records? What about a journalist, someone you’re dating, or an ex? Can they find out if you have an arrest record? These are good questions since people’s opinions about others can change for the worse if and when they find out someone has an arrest record, even if it didn’t result in a conviction!

According to the California Attorney General, “Californians have the right under the state Public Records Act and the California Constitution to access public information maintained by local and state government agencies, including the Department of Justice.”

The Department of Justice does not maintain or provide the public with certified copies of criminal court records, nor does it tell people where to go for these documents. For inquirers to obtain such transcripts, they need to contact the court that has jurisdiction over a particular case for certified documents.

Were You Arrested But Not Charged?

People are arrested every day and not every arrest turns into criminal charges. However, once someone is arrested, they do have a criminal record history. If you were arrested but no criminal case was filed charging or prosecuting you of a crime, you’ll want to request that your arrest records be sealed and then destroyed. To do this, you’ll need to file a petition to have the arrest records destroyed.

First, a petition is filed with the law enforcement agency and if you don’t hear back within 60 days, it means your request was denied. Next, you’ll have to file a petition with the court. If the court determines you were innocent, the court will have your arrest record sealed and destroyed. On the other hand, if you were formally charged but the case was dismissed, you will skip filing a petition with the law enforcement agency that arrested you and go straight to court. If the court sides with you, it will have your records sealed and destroyed.

To learn more about having your arrest records sealed, contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed to schedule a free case evaluation.