Rap Sheets in California

The topic of rap sheets is becoming increasingly important in today's economy.  More and more employers are investigating people's backgrounds and using information about past criminal indiscretions to make job decisions.

In this article, our California Criminal Defense Attorneys provide an introduction to the topic of rap sheets in California.  We provide answers to commonly asked questions such as what information goes on your rap sheet, which people or employers can access your rap sheet and whether you can "clean up" your rap sheet.1

The good news is there are many things you can do to clean up your rap sheet.  Our California Criminal Defense Attorneys can help.  In this article, we cover:

1. What is a rap sheet in California?

1.1. DOJ and FBI rap sheets

1.2. Public criminal records

2. Who can access my rap sheet?
3. Can I "clean up" my rap sheet?

3.1. Expungements

3.2. Certificates of rehabilitation

3.3. Governor's pardons

3.4. Sealing arrest records

3.5. Sealing juvenile records

3.6. Ending sex offender registration

3.7. Restoring gun rights

3.8. Avoiding "convictions" in the first place

4. How should I handle my past convictions in a job application?

If you have further questions after reading this article, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group for a consultation.

1. What is a rap sheet in California?

A "rap sheet" is a list of all your arrests and convictions.  It is your criminal record...your "Record of Arrests and Prosecutions."

Your rap sheet includes all felony crimes in California and
misdemeanor crimes in California for which you have been arrested and prosecuted.

Official rap sheets are compiled by government entities (DOJ and FBI).  Rap sheets are confidential documents that are only available to a select group of people.

However, official government rap sheets aren't the only "criminal records" floating around out there.  Because most criminal proceedings are public, records pertaining to them are public as well.

What is happening is that private "record search companies" are going to courthouses and pulling public criminal records.  They enter this publicly available information in databases and compile it (for a fee) for people who request it.  Many private employers who run "background checks" on potential employees get their information from these companies.

We discuss the topic of private record search companies in our related article Criminal Background Checks in California.

1.1. DOJ and FBI rap sheets

In California, your official "rap sheet" is the one produced by the
California Department of Justice (DOJ).

When you are arrested, the cops send a copy of your fingerprints to the DOJ.  When your court case concludes (like when you plead guilty or the charges are dismissed), the court sends a report to the DOJ of exactly what happened.  The DOJ puts all this information in your rap sheet.

Because people sometimes change their names or give fake names to cops, your DOJ rap sheet identifies you by a "CII number" (California Information and Identification Number).

Your DOJ rap sheet deals with California arrests and convictions.  The
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) compiles its own rap sheet listing convictions in different states and federal offenses.

1.2. Public criminal records

As we've already discussed, private record search companies compile publicly available criminal court information into "criminal records."  These are not official rap sheets, but they can have a negative impact.

You can't do much about these publicly available records...except make sure that they are at least accurate.  If you find out there is something incorrect on your criminal record, you should make sure that the error is corrected before any more damage is done.

2. Who can access my rap sheet?

Official government rap sheets are confidential, and only available to certain people.2

Depending on the circumstances, these people can include:

  • Cops, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys (for purposes of criminal cases)
  • Peace officer agencies (for job applications)
  • State and county governments (for job applications)
  • State licensing authorities (for granting state licenses)
  • You (to review for accuracy)

You can request a copy of your DOJ and FBI rap sheets to review them for accuracy.  In both cases you will need to include a set of fingerprints along with other information.

For more information, please contact the DOJ Record Review Department and/or the FBI Criminal Justice Information Service.

3. Can I "clean up" my rap sheet?

There are several ways that you can clean up your rap sheet, although most are not "miracle" solutions that make your entire record disappear into thin air.

Rather, the law gives you methods to update your record to reflect that you have done everything required of you or, as the case may be, have been rehabilitated.

3.1. Expungements

If you were convicted of a crime and sentenced to probation...and you completed all the terms of your probation...you can apply to have your conviction "expunged."

The conviction won't go away, but your record will be updated to show that you have successfully served out your probation and that the conviction has been "dismissed in the interest of justice."3

In the event that you were charged with a "Wobbler" Crime in California, and were convicted of a felony, you need to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor before you can expunge the conviction.

For more information, please see our articles Expungements of Criminal Records in California and Reducing Felony to Misdemeanor in California.

3.2. Certificates of rehabilitation

If you were convicted of a crime and sentenced to California State Prison, or were convicted of one of a few categories of misdemeanor sex crimes, you may be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation.

Certificates of rehabilitation are much more difficult to obtain than expungements.  To get a certificate of rehabilitation, you must show the court that you have been fully rehabilitated from your crime and are now living (and have lived for many years) an upstanding and crime-free life.4

We discuss rap sheets and certificates of rehabilitation in more detail in Certificates of Rehabilitation in California.

3.3. Governor's pardon

Once you get a certificate of rehabilitation, you can apply for a Governor's Pardon.  A Governor's Pardon provides relief from almost all penalties and disabilities associated with a criminal conviction.5

We discuss rap sheets and Governor's Pardons in How to Apply for a Governor's Pardon in California.

3.4. Sealing arrest records

If you were arrested but never convicted of a criminal offense, it may be possible to have the record of that arrest "sealed."  The record of the arrest will continue to exists in the DOJ database. But the arrest entry is wiped off of your rap sheet so future employers won't see it.

In limited cases, if you were arrested for a crime but subsequently declared "factually innocent" of those charges, it may be possible to have the record of arrest destroyed rather than just sealed.6

For more information, please see our article Destroying California Arrest Records.

3.5. Sealing juvenile records

Once you become an adult, you can generally seal your juvenile criminal record, so long as you have remained crime-free since leaving jurisdiction of the juvenile court and so long as your juvenile conviction was not for something very violent or serious.

Once sealed, juvenile records will often be destroyed.

For more information, please see our article Sealing Juvenile Records in California.

3.6. Ending sex offender registration

For a discussion of cleaning up your rap sheet in cases of California sex crimes, please visit our related articles Ending Sex Offender Registration in California and Getting Off Megan's List.

3.7. Restoring gun rights

For a discussion of how to clean up your rap sheet so that you can restore your rights to gun ownership, please visit our article Restoring Gun Rights in California.

3.8. Avoiding "convictions" in the first place

One of the best ways to clean up your rap sheet is...not to get a conviction in the first place.

If you have a clean rap sheet...and are accused of committing a crime...it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer right away to see if you are eligible for a program like deferred entry of judgment.

The way this program works is that you have to comply with conditions relating to your charge (for example, substance abuse counseling in the case of a
California drug crime).  If you successfully comply with the conditions, the court will dismiss the charge so it's almost like it never happened in the first place.

We discuss this important program in more detail in our article
California Drug Diversion DEJ pc 1000.

4. How should I handle my past convictions in a
job application?

Many people come to us because of employment issues.  They have existing convictions, or expunged convictions, or something going on with their rap sheets and they want to know how to handle those convictions on a job application or in a job interview.

This is a complicated question and we discuss it in detail in our related article Criminal Convictions and Job Applications in California.

Please note that we are available to consult with you about how to fill out a job application.  We can also do a "mock job interview" with you, to help prepare you for what may come up in that context.

Our California Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help...
Img-call-for-help

If you or loved one is in need of help with rap sheets and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.


1 Our California Criminal Defense Attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina and Whittier.  We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

2 California Penal Code Sections 11105 (a) and (b) provide:  "(a) (1) The Department of Justice shall maintain state summary criminal history information.  (2) As used in this section:  (A) "State summary criminal history information" means the master record of information compiled by the Attorney General pertaining to the identification and criminal history of any person, such as name, date of birth, physical description, fingerprints, photographs, date of arrests, arresting agencies and booking numbers, charges, dispositions, and similar data about the person.  (B) "State summary criminal history information" does not refer to records and data compiled by criminal justice agencies other than the Attorney General, nor does it refer to records of complaints to or investigations conducted by, or records of intelligence information or security procedures of, the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.  (b) The Attorney General shall furnish state summary criminal history information to any of the following, if needed in the course of their duties, provided that when information is furnished to assist an agency, officer, or official of state or local government, a public utility, or any other entity, in fulfilling employment, certification, or licensing duties, Chapter 1321 of the Statutes of 1974 and Section 432.7 of the Labor Code shall apply:  (1) The courts of the state.  (2) Peace officers of the state, as defined in Section 830.1, subdivisions (a) and (e) of Section 830.2, subdivision (a) of Section 830.3, subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 830.5, and subdivision (a) of Section 830.31.  (3) District attorneys of the state.  (4) Prosecuting city attorneys of any city within the state.  (5) City attorneys pursuing civil gang injunctions pursuant to Section 186.22a, or drug abatement actions pursuant to Section 3479 or 3480 of the Civil Code, or Section 11571 of the Health and Safety Code.  (6) Probation officers of the state.  (7) Parole officers of the state.  (8) A public defender or attorney of record when representing a person in proceedings upon a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon pursuant to Section 4852.08.  (9) A public defender or attorney of record when representing a person in a criminal case, or parole revocation or revocation extension proceeding, and if authorized access by statutory or decisional law.  (10) Any agency, officer, or official of the state if the criminal history information is required to implement a statute or regulation that expressly refers to specific criminal conduct applicable to the subject person of the state summary criminal history information, and contains requirements or exclusions, or both, expressly based upon that specified criminal conduct.  The agency, officer, or official of the state authorized by this paragraph to receive state summary criminal history information may also transmit fingerprint images and related information to the Department of Justice to be transmitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  (11) Any city or county, city and county, district, or any officer or official thereof if access is needed in order to assist that agency, officer, or official in fulfilling employment, certification, or licensing duties, and if the access is specifically authorized by the city council, board of supervisors, or governing board of the city, county, or district if the criminal history information is required to implement a statute, ordinance, or regulation that expressly refers to specific criminal conduct applicable to the subject person of the state summary criminal history information, and contains requirements or exclusions, or both, expressly based upon that specified criminal conduct.  The city or county, city and county, district, or the officer or official thereof authorized by this paragraph may also transmit fingerprint images and related information to the Department of Justice to be transmitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  (12) The subject of the state summary criminal history information under procedures established under Article 5 (commencing with Section 11120).  (13) Any person or entity when access is expressly authorized by statute if the criminal history information is required to implement a statute or regulation that expressly refers to specific criminal conduct applicable to the subject person of the state summary criminal history information, and contains requirements or exclusions, or both, expressly based upon that specified criminal conduct.  (14) Health officers of a city, county, city and county, or district when in the performance of their official duties enforcing Section 120175 of the Health and Safety Code.  (15) Any managing or supervising correctional officer of a county jail or other county correctional facility.  (16) Any humane society, or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, for the specific purpose of complying with Section 14502 of the Corporations Code for the appointment of humane officers.  (17) Local child support agencies established by Section 17304 of the Family Code.  When a local child support agency closes a support enforcement case containing summary criminal history information, the agency shall delete or purge from the file and destroy any documents or information concerning or arising from offenses for or of which the parent has been arrested, charged, or convicted, other than for offenses related to the parent's having failed to provide support for minor children, consistent with the requirements of Section 17531 of the Family Code.  (18) County child welfare agency personnel who have been delegated the authority of county probation officers to access state summary criminal history information pursuant to Section 272 of the Welfare and Institutions Code for the purposes specified in Section 16504.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. Information from criminal history records provided pursuant to this subdivision shall not be used for any purposes other than those specified in this Section and Section 16504.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.  When an agency obtains records obtained both on the basis of name checks and fingerprint checks, final placement decisions shall be based only on the records obtained pursuant to the fingerprint check.  (19) The court of a tribe, or court of a consortium of tribes, that has entered into an agreement with the state pursuant to Section 10553.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.  This information may be used only for the purposes specified in Section 16504.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and for tribal approval or tribal licensing of foster care or adoptive homes. Article 6 (commencing with Section 11140) shall apply to officers, members, and employees of a tribal court receiving criminal record offender information pursuant to this section.  (20) Child welfare agency personnel of a tribe or consortium of tribes that has entered into an agreement with the state pursuant to Section 10553.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and to whom the state has delegated duties under paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 272 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.  The purposes for use of the information shall be for the purposes specified in Section 16504.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and for tribal approval or tribal licensing of foster care or adoptive homes.  When an agency obtains records on the basis of name checks and fingerprint checks, final placement decisions shall be based only on the records obtained pursuant to the fingerprint check. Article 6 (commencing with Section 11140) shall apply to child welfare agency personnel receiving criminal record offender information pursuant to this section.  (21) An officer providing conservatorship investigations pursuant to Sections 5351, 5354, and 5356 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.  (22) A court investigator providing investigations or reviews in conservatorships pursuant to Section 1826, 1850, 1851, or 2250.6 of the Probate Code.  (23) A person authorized to conduct a guardianship investigation pursuant to Section 1513 of the Probate Code. (24) A humane officer pursuant to Section 14502 of the Corporations Code for the purposes of performing his or her duties."

3 California Penal Code Section 1203.4 provides:  " (a) In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code.  The probationer shall be informed, in his or her probation papers, of this right and privilege and his or her right, if any, to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon.  The probationer may make the application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing.  However, in any subsequent prosecution of the defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if probation had not been granted or the accusation or information dismissed.  The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery.  Dismissal of an accusation or information pursuant to this section does not permit a person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm or prevent his or her conviction under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 29800) of Division 9 of Title 4 of Part 6.  Dismissal of an accusation or information underlying a conviction pursuant to this section does not permit a person prohibited from holding public office as a result of that conviction to hold public office.  This subdivision shall apply to all applications for relief under this section which are filed on or after November 23, 1970.  (b) Subdivision (a) of this section does not apply to any misdemeanor that is within the provisions of subdivision (b) of Section 42001 of the Vehicle Code, to any violation of subdivision(c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, any felony conviction pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 261.5, or to any infraction.  (c) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), subdivision (a) does not apply to a person who receives a notice to appear or is otherwise charged with a violation of an offense described in subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, of Section 12810 of the Vehicle Code.  (2) If a defendant who was nconvicted of a violation listed in paragraph (1) petitions the court, the court in its discretion and in the interests of justice, may order the relief provided pursuant to subdivision (a) to that defendant.  (d) A person who petitions for a change of plea or setting aside of a verdict under this section may be required to reimburse the court for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the court not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150), and to reimburse the county for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the county board of supervisors not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150), and to reimburse any city for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the city council not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150). Ability to make this reimbursement shall be determined by the court using the standards set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 987.8 and shall not be a prerequisite to a person's eligibility under this section.  The court may order reimbursement in any case in which the petitioner appears to have the ability to pay, without undue hardship, all or any portion of the costs for services established pursuant to this subdivision.  (e) Relief shall not be granted under this section unless the prosecuting attorney has been given 15 days' notice of the petition for relief.  The probation officer shall notify the prosecuting attorney when a petition is filed, pursuant to this section.  It shall be presumed that the prosecuting attorney has received notice if proof of service is filed with the court.  (f) If, after receiving notice pursuant to subdivision (e), the prosecuting attorney fails to appear and object to a petition for dismissal, the prosecuting attorney may not move to set aside or otherwise appeal the grant of that petition.  (g) Notwithstanding the above provisions or any other provision of law, the Governor shall have the right to pardon a person convicted of a violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, if there are extraordinary circumstances."

4 California Penal Code Section 4852.05 provides:  "The person shall live an honest and upright life, shall conduct himself or herself with sobriety and industry, shall exhibit a good moral character, and shall conform to and obey the laws of the land."  SEE ALSO California Penal Code Section 4852.13, which provides:  "(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), if after hearing, the court finds that the petitioner has demonstrated by his or her course of conduct his or her rehabilitation and his or her fitness to exercise all of the civil and political rights of citizenship, the court may make an order declaring that the petitioner has been rehabilitated, and recommending that the Governor grant a full pardon to the petitioner.  This order shall be filed with the clerk of the court, and shall be known as a certificate of rehabilitation.  (b) No certificate of rehabilitation shall be granted to a person convicted of any offense specified in Section 290 if the court determines that the petitioner presents a continuing threat to minors of committing any of the offenses specified in Section 290.  (c) A district attorney in either the county where the conviction was obtained or the county of residence of the recipient of the certificate of rehabilitation may petition the superior court to rescind a certificate if it was granted for any offense specified in Section 290.  The petition shall be filed in either the county in which the person who has received the certificate of rehabilitation resides or the county in which the conviction was obtained.  If the superior court finds that petitioner has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the person who has received the certificate presents a continuing threat to minors of committing any of the offenses specified in Section 290, the court shall rescind the certificate."

5 California Penal Code Section 4853 provides:  "In all cases in which a full pardon has been granted by the Governor of this state or will hereafter be granted by the Governor to a person convicted of an offense to which the pardon applies, it shall operate to restore to the convicted person, all the rights, privileges, and franchises of which he or she has been deprived in consequence of that conviction or by reason of any matter involved therein; provided, that nothing herein contained shall abridge or impair the power or authority conferred by law on any board or tribunal to revoke or suspend any right, privilege or franchise for any act or omission not involved in the conviction; provided further, that nothing in this article shall affect any of the provisions of the Medical Practice Act (Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2000) of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code) or the power or authority conferred by law on the Board of Medical Examiners therein, or the power or authority conferred by law upon any board that issues a certificate which permits any person or persons to apply his or her or their art or profession on the person of another."

6 California Penal Code Section 851.8 provides:  "(a) In any case where a person has been arrested and no accusatory pleading has been filed, the person arrested may petition the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense to destroy its records of the arrest.  A copy of the petition shall be served upon the prosecuting attorney of the county or city having jurisdiction over the offense.  The law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense, upon a determination that the person arrested is factually innocent, shall, with the concurrence of the prosecuting attorney, seal its arrest records, and the petition for relief under this section for three years from the date of the arrest and thereafter destroy its arrest records and the petition.  The law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense shall notify the Department of Justice, and any law enforcement agency that arrested the petitioner or participated in the arrest of the petitioner for an offense for which the petitioner has been found factually innocent under this subdivision, of the sealing of the arrest records and the reason therefor.  The Department of Justice and any law enforcement agency so notified shall forthwith seal their records of the arrest and the notice of sealing for three years from the date of the arrest, and thereafter destroy their records of the arrest and the notice of sealing.  The law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense and the Department of Justice shall request the destruction of any records of the arrest which they have given to any local, state, or federal agency or to any other person or entity.  Each agency, person, or entity within the State of California receiving the request shall destroy its records of the arrest and the request, unless otherwise provided in this section.  (b) If, after receipt by both the law enforcement agency and the prosecuting attorney of a petition for relief under subdivision (a), the law enforcement agency and prosecuting attorney do not respond to the petition by accepting or denying the petition within 60 days after the running of the relevant statute of limitations or within 60 days after receipt of the petition in cases where the statute of limitations has previously lapsed, then the petition shall be deemed to be denied.  In any case where the petition of an arrestee to the law enforcement agency to have an arrest record destroyed is denied, petition may be made to the superior court that would have had territorial jurisdiction over the matter.  A copy of the petition shall be served on the law enforcement agency and the prosecuting attorney of the county or city having jurisdiction over the offense at least 10 days prior to the hearing thereon.  The prosecuting attorney and the law enforcement agency through the district attorney may present evidence to the court at the hearing.  Notwithstanding Section 1538.5 or 1539, any judicial determination of factual innocence made pursuant to this section may be heard and determined upon declarations, affidavits, police reports, or any other evidence submitted by the parties which is material, relevant, and reliable.  A finding of factual innocence and an order for the sealing and destruction of records pursuant to this section shall not be made unless the court finds that no reasonable cause exists to believe that the arrestee committed the offense for which the arrest was made.  In any court hearing to determine the factual innocence of a party, the initial burden of proof shall rest with the petitioner to show that no reasonable cause exists to believe that the arrestee committed the offense for which the arrest was made.  If the court finds that this showing of no reasonable cause has been made by the petitioner, then the burden of proof shall shift to the respondent to show that a reasonable cause exists to believe that the petitioner committed the offense for which the arrest was made.  If the court finds the arrestee to be factually innocent of the charges for which the arrest was made, then the court shall order the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense, the Department of Justice, and any law enforcement agency which arrested the petitioner or participated in the arrest of the petitioner for an offense for which the petitioner has been found factually innocent under this section to seal their records of the arrest and the court order to seal and destroy the records, for three years from the date of the arrest and thereafter to destroy their records of the arrest and the court order to seal and destroy those records.  The court shall also order the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense and the Department of Justice to request the destruction of any records of the arrest which they have given to any local, state, or federal agency, person or entity.  Each state or local agency, person or entity within the State of California receiving such a request shall destroy its records of the arrest and the request to destroy the records, unless otherwise provided in this section.  The court shall give to the petitioner a copy of any court order concerning the destruction of the arrest records.  (c) In any case where a person has been arrested, and an accusatory pleading has been filed, but where no conviction has occurred, the defendant may, at any time after dismissal of the action, petition the court that dismissed the action for a finding that the defendant is factually innocent of the charges for which the arrest was made.  A copy of the petition shall be served on the prosecuting attorney of the county or city in which the accusatory pleading was filed at least 10 days prior to the hearing on the petitioner's factual innocence.  The prosecuting attorney may present evidence to the court at the hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted as provided in subdivision (b). If the court finds the petitioner to be factually innocent of the charges for which the arrest was made, then the court shall grant the relief as provided in subdivision (b).  (d) In any case where a person has been arrested and an accusatory pleading has been filed, but where no conviction has occurred, the court may, with the concurrence of the prosecuting attorney, grant the relief provided in subdivision (b) at the time of the dismissal of the accusatory pleading.  (e) Whenever any person is acquitted of a charge and it appears to the judge presiding at the trial at which the acquittal occurred that the defendant was factually innocent of the charge, the judge may grant the relief provided in subdivision (b).  (f) In any case where a person who has been arrested is granted relief pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense or court shall issue a written declaration to the arrestee stating that it is the determination of the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense or court that the arrestee is factually innocent of the charges for which the person was arrested and that the arrestee is thereby exonerated.  Thereafter, the arrest shall be deemed not to have occurred and the person may answer accordingly any question relating to its occurrence.  (g) The Department of Justice shall furnish forms to be utilized by persons applying for the destruction of their arrest records and for the written declaration that one person was found factually innocent under subdivisions (a) and (b).  (h) Documentation of arrest records destroyed pursuant to subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) that are contained in investigative police reports shall bear the notation "Exonerated" whenever reference is made to the arrestee.  The arrestee shall be notified in writing by the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense of the sealing and destruction of the arrest records pursuant to this section.  (i) (1) Any finding that an arrestee is factually innocent pursuant to subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) shall not be admissible as evidence in any action.  (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a finding that an arrestee is factually innocent pursuant to subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, shall be admissible as evidence at a hearing before the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.  (j) Destruction of records of arrest pursuant to subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) shall be accomplished by permanent obliteration of all entries or notations upon the records pertaining to the arrest, and the record shall be prepared again so that it appears that the arrest never occurred.  However, where (1) the only entries on the record pertain to the arrest and (2) the record can be destroyed without necessarily affecting the destruction of other records, then the document constituting the record shall be physically destroyed.  (k) No records shall be destroyed pursuant to subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) if the arrestee or a codefendant has filed a civil action against the peace officers or law enforcement jurisdiction which made the arrest or instituted the prosecution and if the agency which is the custodian of the records has received a certified copy of the complaint in the civil action, until the civil action has been resolved.  Any records sealed pursuant to this section by the court in the civil actions, upon a showing of good cause, may be opened and submitted into evidence.  The records shall be confidential and shall be available for inspection only by the court, jury, parties, counsel for the parties, and any other person authorized by the court. Immediately following the final resolution of the civil action, records subject to subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) shall be sealed and destroyed pursuant to subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e).  (l) For arrests occurring on or after January 1, 1981, and for accusatory pleadings filed on or after January 1, 1981, petitions for relief under this section may be filed up to two years from the date of the arrest or filing of the accusatory pleading, whichever is later.  Until January 1, 1983, petitioners can file for relief under this section for arrests which occurred or accusatory pleadings which were filed up to five years prior to the effective date of the statute.  Any time restrictions on filing for relief under this section may be waived upon a showing of good cause by the petitioner and in the absence of prejudice.  (m) Any relief which is available to a petitioner under this section for an arrest shall also be available for an arrest which has been deemed to be or described as a detention under Section 849.5 or 851.6.  (n) This section shall not apply to any offense which is classified as an infraction.  (o) (1) This section shall be repealed on the effective date of a final judgment based on a claim under the California or United States Constitution holding that evidence that is relevant, reliable, and material may not be considered for purposes of a judicial determination of factual innocence under this section.  For purposes of this subdivision, a judgment by the appellate division of a superior court is a final judgment if it is published and if it is not reviewed on appeal by a court of appeal. A judgment of a court of appeal is a final judgment if it is published and if it is not reviewed by the California Supreme Court.  (2) Any decision referred to in this subdivision shall be stayed pending appeal.  (3) If not otherwise appealed by a party to the action, any decision referred to in this subdivision which is a judgment by the appellate division of the superior court shall be appealed by the Attorney General.  (p) A judgment of the court under subdivision (b), (c), (d), or (e) is subject to the following appeal path:  (1) In a felony case, appeal is to the court of appeal.  (2) In a misdemeanor case, or in a case in which no accusatory pleading was filed, appeal is to the appellate division of the superior court."

Save

Save

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Our defense attorneys understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most difficult times of your life. Rely on us to zealously and discreetly protect your rights and to fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California and Nevada. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370