Seal Your Record
A person who has suffered an arrest that did not result in a conviction may petition to have their arrest and related court records sealed. Even a person who was found not guilty or a conviction did not result, will have an arrest record for the rest of their life. Sealing the record is the only way to remove this record of arrest. This relief is very difficult to get and it is important to file under the correct Penal Code.
There are three different ways to seal your record and all of them require a formal Petition the Court.
Penal Code section 851.8
Penal Code section 851.87
Penal Code section 851.91
Starting January 1, 2018, California Penal Code section 851.91 allows for sealing of misdemeanor and felony arrest records for adults. This is a different process than sealing arrest records for people who are factually innocent. (Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8)
(For questions about sealing and destroying juvenile arrest records, please contact our Juvenile Delinquency division at (858) 974-5757.)
Who is eligible for the sealing of arrest and related court records?
YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE IF:
· You were arrested, but the prosecutor never filed criminal charges within the time they were required to file charges (click here to find out How much time does the prosecutor have to file charges?); or
· You were charged with a crime but the entire case was dismissed in court and the case cannot be refiled; or
· You were found not guilty of all charges; or
· You were convicted, but your conviction was overturned on appeal and the case cannot be refiled.
YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE IF:
· You were convicted (either by a guilty plea or by a trial); or
· You could still be charged because the prosecutor still has time to decide to file charges against you (click here to find out How much time does the prosecutor have to file charges?); or
· You intentionally evaded law enforcement efforts to prosecute you.