To seal your adult record:
If you were arrested but not convicted of a crime you may petition the court to have your arrest records sealed and eventually destroyed. This is a motion that is commonly referred to as a finding of factual innocence.
You are eligible to have your records sealed and eventually destroyed if you were arrested but never convicted of a crime. In addition, the petitioner (person arrested) must show that no reasonable cause exists to believe the arrestee (person arrested) committed the offense. Typically, the motion must be filed within two years of the date of the arrest.
You are eligible to have your records sealed and eventually destroyed if:
- You were arrested and charged with a crime, but the charges were ultimately dismissed.
- The court in which the charges were dismissed must find that you were factually innocent.
- You were arrested, charged with a crime, and were found not guilty at trial. The judge that presided over your trial must find that you were factually innocent.
To seal your juvenile record:
Generally, having your juvenile record sealed means that the underlying offense is "deemed never to have occurred." This means that you can answer on most questionnaires that you were never adjudicated as a juvenile of certain offenses. However, you may still be required to disclose juvenile offenses to certain agencies such as licensing boards, applications to become law enforcement officers, or the military. Once records are sealed your juvenile records are not available to be inspected.
Juvenile records are not automatically sealed upon reaching age eighteen. A petition must be filed in court to have juvenile records sealed. A request to seal juvenile records must be filed in the county that last had jurisdiction over your juvenile matter.
The records that are sealed typically include court records, the District Attorney's records, the police department records, the Probation Department's records, and the California Department of Justice records. You can request that your juvenile records be sealed even if you received a ticket or were arrested but never were required to appear in court. Records that are not sealed are Department of Motor Vehicle records. Also, if Penal Code section 290 (sex offender registration) applies, the applicant can ask the judge to relieve him/her of the registration requirement.
In order to be eligible to have juvenile records sealed:
- You must be eighteen years old or five years from the incident date must have passed.
- Your juvenile probation must have been completed. However, a motion can be brought to terminate probation and seal juvenile records at the same time.
- All fines and fees must be paid.
- Generally, after turning age eighteen you cannot have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
- Generally, you are not eligible to have your record sealed if as a juvenile you were found to have committed an offense listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b) and you were at least fourteen years of age at the time of the offense.
- Generally, juvenile records cannot be sealed if as a juvenile you were charged in adult court with a crime.
Contact Amber Poston at (530) 406-4559 in order to set up an appointment.
Questions or comments?
Email Public Defender's Office
Last Updated: 10/2014