An arrest is not evidence of guilt. An arrest is simply the word we use when the State detains an individual who is suspected of committing a crime. By definition, everyone who has ever been arrested was arrested while innocent (and only a handful are ever proven guilty). Today, there are hundreds of people who have been arrested who have never been charged, whose charges were dropped, or whose charges were acquitted by a jury.
However, none of that information is entered on the arrest record, which follows a person for the rest of his or her life.
Sixty-nine percent of employers look for arrests and convictions when they do background checks on prospective hires. However, only 58 percent of them allow prospects to explain their record—meaning 29 percent of all prospective hires are denied jobs without ever being told why.
That's why, as of January 1, 2018, the CARE Act makes it possible for arrestees to have their records sealed.
When California seals an arrest record, that means it cannot be found in a background check. It also gives you the legal right to answer "no" if you're asked if you've been arrested by a prospective employer, landlord, insurer, or state licensing agency. Sealing an arrest record is one of the most beneficial legal actions a citizen can undertake—it ensures better housing opportunities, better employment opportunities, and a better quality of life in general.
However, just because it's your right to petition to seal your arrest records doesn't mean it's going to happen. You'll need a lawyer to argue that you're "factually innocent," which is the condition for sealing records. If you attempt to represent yourself, you may destroy your one chance at a better future.
Speak to an East Bay criminal defense lawyer about your arrest. Together, we'll review your options and help you set yourself up for better jobs and opportunities. Call (510) 907-6600 or contact us online.