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  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    Default How Do I Seal or Destroy a Record of Arrest in California

    I was arrested back in 1999.
    Basically, the arresting officer had a personal beef with me prior to an incident in which someone else robbed another person. Unfortunately, I was just in the proximity of him--didn't know him--but I witnessed the event; nonetheless the cop arrested me. I went to jail on a Friday, and I was released the following Monday, as the DA dropped the charges for "lack of evidence."
    I did a good job of suppressing this incident until some other a-hole cop berated me about it recently when I called the police for something... so now it's on my mind, and I got to get it off my record so that I can put it behind me, for good... how do I do this?
    Just a note of consideration, please, I already read the link to the California Courts Self Help Center's page on "Clean Up Your Criminal Records"... that page only applies to persons who have been convicted... I was not convicted of anything.
    Lastly, sorry if you are a cop and I offended you in anyway, but if you are first a human being, then you would also understand my feelings after this experience... should they be negative towards the police.
    Thanks...
    Mike S.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: How Do I Seal / Destroy Record of Arrest in California

    Yes, information on expungement in California is very hard to find; most of the pages referring to "expungement" refer to "dismissing" convictions— neither expungement in any meaningful sense, nor helpful to people who weren't actually convicted.

    From what little I was able to find (being far more familiar with the east coast than the west), getting the record expunged in California requires that you affirmatively prove that you didn't commit the crime in question, which is bound to be a real pain but quite possibly doable in your case. I'm not sure how much it's going to cost or whether you can realistically do it without a lawyer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: How Do I Seal / Destroy Record of Arrest in California

    Quote Quoting TheArgumentative
    View Post
    Yes, information on expungement in California is very hard to find; most of the pages referring to "expungement" refer to "dismissing" convictions— neither expungement in any meaningful sense, nor helpful to people who weren't actually convicted.

    From what little I was able to find (being far more familiar with the east coast than the west), getting the record expunged in California requires that you affirmatively prove that you didn't commit the crime in question, which is bound to be a real pain but quite possibly doable in your case. I'm not sure how much it's going to cost or whether you can realistically do it without a lawyer.
    Hey Argumentative... first, thank you for your reply. Second, you are right...
    And do take note out there if you are in my shoes and you require the same.
    enter: section 851.8 into google, and download the PDF form for:
    Petition to Deal and Destroy Arrest Records Pursuant to Penal Code 851.8
    Of course, although this is the first step, it can be the first of many in a long process that could require a lawyer, which I cannot afford for the moment should I need to go that far. Nonetheless, it's a simple form, and filling it out and serving it upon the arresting agency and DA will take that work out of the lawyers equation, which will make him that much cheaper, let's hope....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,287

    Default Re: How Do I Seal / Destroy Record of Arrest in California

    As a note, it is pretty much automatic that the relevant law enforcement agency and the DA will reject the petition and force the matter before a judge should the petitioner choose to do so. It is very rare, and often under only very clear and convincing evidence of factual innocence, that a DA or the agency involved will support the petition. In my agency we have been subject to two such requests in the 9 years I have overseen the Records unit, and neither got signed by the judge. But, you certainly have every right to try and if you are, indeed, factually innocent, I would be doing the same thing.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: How Do I Seal / Destroy Record of Arrest in California

    Your state needs to take a lesson from New York— we seal it automatically when the charge is dismissed.

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