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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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Hi: My petition to seal and destroy my arrest record was

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My petition to seal and destroy my arrest record was denied by the Sheriff’s department. They did not give me a reason for this. I believe that I can now file with the Court of Jurisdiction. What form do I need to file with the court since the arresting agency denied my petition?

Also, does the Sherriff’s department need to give me a reason for their denial?

Thank you,


HelloCustomerand welcome back to JustAnswer.

I assume you are referring to a petition pursuant to Penal Code section 851.8, based on an assertion of factual innocence of the charges.

The sheriff's office is not required to give a reason for denying such a petition and, in fact, does not have to respond at all. A failure to respond is considered a denial as a matter of law.

Once the petition to the law enforcement agency is denied, you are correct in that you can now file a petition with the court in which charges were filed or which would have had jurisdiction over the case, if charges were not filed.

Unlike the form for filing the petition with the law enforcement agency, however, there is no standardized form for filing such a petition in court. The petition has to be prepared on normal pleading paper and should include a declaration under penalty of perjury by you of the facts of the case (copies of the police reports should also be attached as exhibits); a memorandum of legal points & authorities explaining why you meet the legal standards; a copy of the petition filed with the sheriff's department as an exhibit; and declarations by any other individuals who have knowledge of facts which would tend to support your claim of factual innocence or who can attest to your good character (not strictly required, but may be useful in showing you in a good light, just in case the court considers the decision a close call).

This is a tough standard to meet, so you should not leave out anything. An excellent discussion of how to do a petition for factual innocence is available here:

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer. If you have any other questions about this situation, please let me know.

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