Law Office of Michael L. Fell
900 Roosevelt Irvine, CA 92620
(949) 585-9055

Learn What Could Be on Your Arrest Record and How to Get it Cleared

A report created by police or other law enforcement officials following an arrest is known as a California arrest record. The record, which is made for arrests involving both misdemeanor and felony charges, is thought to be a criminal record.

People can obtain access to arrest records by contacting the organization or court that has jurisdiction over the criminal case for which the arrest was made. Arrest records are regarded as public records. While those who have been arrested often request copies of their arrest records, employers may request copies as part of a criminal background check.

Be aware that California law gives those who were detained for a crime but were never found guilty the ability to have their arrest records sealed and deleted. Section 851.87 PC of the California Penal Code contains this law.

An arrestee must submit a petition to seal an arrest as soon as the prosecution is unable to file or refile charges in order to have their arrest record sealed and erased. Read on to learn more about arrest records and the process to clear it. Contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a free legal consultation today with a top criminal defense attorney.

How are arrest records accessible to the public?

In the State of California, arrest records are public information. According to California law, those who were arrested for a crime have the right to look them up or gain access to them. This privilege is granted by the California Constitution, as well as the Public Records Act.

The law enforcement agency that made the arrest often maintains and keeps records of the arrests. This is made up of police divisions and sheriff's departments in each county. They might also be stored by the courthouse in the area where the arrest was conducted.

By getting in touch with the relevant department or agency that made the arrest, people can see their arrest records. If not available, they should get in touch with the court that had jurisdiction over the criminal or civil proceedings related to the arrest. Keep in mind that these organizations might provide arrest records on their official websites.

Accessing your arrest record

A copy of an individual's arrest record normally costs money, and in order to check it up, a person may need to submit the following information: their name, date of birth, the California Penal Code section they violated, and a case number (if available). A third-party record collection business or website can be used by people to obtain their records.

What if a person was detained but subsequently the case was dropped?

According to California law, those who were arrested but never found guilty are entitled to have their arrest records sealed and erased. When an arrest is sealed, its details—including police reports, fingerprints, booking pictures, and rap sheet entries—are removed from most criminal background checks and its records are erased.

The original legislation was Senate Bill 393 from California. Penal Code 851.87 PC now contains SB 393's codification. This clause gives people the right to have their arrest record sealed when criminal charges were never brought against the defendant, were brought against him but later dropped, he was found "not guilty" (acquitted) after a jury trial, his conviction was overturned or vacated on appeal, or he completed a pretrial diversion or pre-sentencing program, such as Penal Code 1000 deferred entry of judgment, successfully.

There is a procedure for sealing and destroying arrest records

As soon as the prosecutor is no longer able to file or refile charges, the arrestee can submit a petition to seal the arrest. It must be one of the following: the court where the arrest-related charges were filed, or if no charges were filed, the court in the city or county where the arrest took place.

If any of the following are true, a person cannot have an arrest record sealed: He or she may still be charged with any of the crimes on which the arrest was based, if the arrest was for murder or another crime for which there is no statute of limitations (unless the person was found factually innocent of the charge), if the person purposefully thwarted law enforcement efforts to pursue the arrest by fleeing the area, such as by absconding, or if the person purposefully thwarted efforts to pursue the arrest by engaging in illegal activity.