Arrest records—police reports, finger prints, booking photos—don’t just disappear. They remain on file indefinitely with the police department and the Department of Justice, even if they don’t result in a conviction. In addition, many employers and state licensing boards ask job applicants not only whether they’ve been convicted of a crime, but also whether they’ve ever been arrested. Thus, a mere arrest can create a stigma and raise questions that will adversely affect your future.
We can petition the court to declare you “factually innocent” and to order the arrest records sealed and destroyed. If this happens, California penal code says you are exonerated. In other words, the arrest shall be deemed never to have occurred and you may truthfully answer any question relating to its occurrence.
When the arrest record is successfully destroyed:
- The police agency will must seal the arrest records for three years and then purge and destroy the arrest records.
- You will no longer need to inform an employer or licensing board of the arrest.
- The arrest can no longer be used against you by the police, prosecutors or the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- You will no longer face adverse immigration consequences.