On your “rap sheet” an arrest record is different from a conviction record. An arrest is where you are booked in jail but no charges were filed. A conviction is when you plead guilty or no contest. It also occurs if r were found guilty by a jury.
If you were ever arrested and no charges were filed or the charges were dismissed, you still have a record of the arrest on your “rap sheet” When a background check is performed on you, the arrest will show up on your “rap sheet”. This may cause an employer or whoever runs the background on you to fail your background check.
Most people believe if their case is dismissed or the district attorney never files charges that arrest record no longer exists. Unfortunately, the arrest does not just disappear.
For example, a company who runs a background check on you can discover a prior criminal arrest by searching the internet for your name at the courthouse or government website. All criminal cases are free public information. The arrest record, the police report, finger prints, case disposition, etc. still exist unless you have your attorney file a motion to seal your record.
Most all public and private companies, employers and state licensing boards require you disclose whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. Furthermore you will be asked, “you ever been arrested”. Your prior arrest, will have an adverse affect on your recommendation for employment and give your employer a reason to deny you the job.
The effect of sealing an arrest record is overwhelming. Your entire record, finger prints, booking photo, arrest report, are sealed and destroyed. It is deleted from the department of justice computer. The arrest is it is considered to never have happened. The arrest does not exist.
The Process to Seal & Destroy Arrest Records is quite lengthy but at the end is well worth the time and effort. We will file a motion to destroy the arrest record so there will be no record whatsoever of your arrest on your “rap sheet” This is filed under Penal Code Section 851.8.
The first step is to contact the Law enforcement agency who arrested you and request them to destroy arrest record. If they agree that you are factually innocent, then they can sign a stipulation that we prepare for court we file it and we forward this to the department of justice. This means they will seal the arrest records for three years, and afterwards destroy the arrest records.
If the law enforcement agency does not sign the petition, or does not respond within 60 days, then we to the filing a petition under penal code 851.8 asking the court to order that the arrest records be destroyed.
In order for the court to sign the petition to order the destruction of the arrest records, there must be a hearing. The prosecutor receives notice of the hearing and they will file their opposition. At the hearing, all the evidence is brought before the court to determine factual innocence. The court hears everything including the police reports, testimony from witnesses and any other relevant evidence.
When your the motion is granted, the court will send the order for sealing to the Department of Justice to remove the arrest from your “rap sheet”. Sealing of the records will also cause the department of justice to destroy all of your finger prints, booking photo and police arrest reports maintained by the law enforcement agency.
Once the records are sealed and destroyed, your record is deleted it's like the arrest never occurred. The Department of Justice will delete references to the arrest from your rap sheet. And the law enforcement agency will provide you a written declaration stating that states that you are “factually innocent” of the criminal offense. This will deem you “exonerated” of all criminal liability.
We do all the work form start to finish. This includes researching, drafting, preparing, filing of the both the petition to the arresting agency and subsequent filings with the court. In addition, we serve the district attorney or attorney general’s office. Finally we appear at the hearing and argue your case to the judge, we prepare all orders for the judges’ signature, and of course if necessary we pay all court fees.