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Ask Colleen Grady Your Own Question
Colleen Grady
Colleen Grady, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 551
Experience:  Attorney and Counselor at Law
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How to seal and destroy CA arrest records. I believe it's CA

Customer Question

How to seal and destroy CA arrest records. I believe it's CA Penal code851.8. The case will probably be dismissed, but court date isn't until December 19. Misdemeanor case where no charges were filed by plaintiff. She called and has tried to drop everything.
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And when did this happen?
Customer: CA
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Reported. Nothing filed.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I was arrested and held for 5 days. I think a temporary restraining order was placed, but nothing was pursued.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 6 months ago.

Hello. I will help you today. I have been an attorney for 27 years. I am reviewing your question and will be back to you shortly.

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 6 months ago.

Please let me know what county in California the court is in.

Also, do you have any other convictions?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
San Luis Obispo
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Not now for call
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 6 months ago.

I can answer in writing. Ignore the call request

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 6 months ago.

Do you have any other convictions?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Nothing related. They said the case is elderly abuse WBI. It was an argument between me and my mother and she wants everything dropped and has never filed a thing. We've moved on.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I grabbed her because she was hitting me and bruised her shoulders. She wants nothing charged or filed and has told them on the phone a few times.
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 6 months ago.

OK. Give me a few minutes and I will give you all the information you need to seal your record if the case is dropped.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 6 months ago.

You are right. The section of the law is Penal Code Section 851.8.

  • In order to have your records sealed and destroyed you will have to file a petition with the law enforcement agency that arrested you to destroy the records. The agency has 60 days to answer. If they do not answer or they deny your petition, you then have to petition the court.
  • When petitioning the court, you will have to prove you were factually innocent and should not have been arrested. If the court finds you were factually innocent, then the court will order the police agency to destroy your records. A hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, you would have to prove that the arrest was wrongful. You need to present evidence of this such as statements of witnesses that you did not do what you were accused of or police reports showing lack of evidence.You have the burden of proof at the hearing to show there was no reasonable cause to believe you committed the offense for which you were arrested. The district attorney will have to get a copy of the petition and will sometimes oppose the petition by making arguments that you were not factually innocent.
  • You have to file a petition within 2 years of the date of your arrest. Otherwise, you will have to file a waiver of this time limit.

You may want to consider getting an attorney to help you with this. It is a bit tricky to navigate this process. Here is a form from the California Attorney General's Office you can use if you want to try to do this yourself.

Please let me know if I can help more. If you are satisfied with my help, please rate me.