For security and safety reasons, many employers now conduct background checks on potential employees. Background checks help one determine whether the applicant has a history of violence or any arrest. Although the reason is understandable, this leaves applicants with previous arrest records at a disadvantage especially if the California Arrest Records indicate that they have arrests or charges filed against them even though the charges were dropped. With that said applicants who have previous arrest records may file a petition to have these records sealed and destroyed.

Individuals who have arrest records, under the Penal Code of California can file a petition to have the criminal records sealed and destroyed by petitioning the concerned law enforcement agency to seal the reports, records and other evidence pertaining to the arrest. The petitioner should provide proof that they are “factually innocent” of the charges brought against them. Once the law agency determines that the petitioner is “factually innocent”, they would then proceed to inform the Department of Justice as well as other law enforcement agencies that are included with the arrest of the sealing and destroying of the records. The DOJ and the other agencies will have to destroy their copies of the arrest as well.

Should the law enforcement fail to response within sixty days of receipt of the petition, under the Penal Code, the petition is understood as denied. Petitioners should make a follow up of their petition to ensure that their case would be reviewed by the law agency.

For petitioners who have their request denied, they can file the petition with the higher court that has jurisdiction of the matter. The court will then send the petition request to the respective law agency to attend a hearing set by the court. The petitioner has the burden of proof in determining their innocence of the arrest. Should the court find that the petitioner is innocent of the arrest; the court would then order all the records to be destroyed. The court will also issue an order to the DOJ and other involved parties to seal and destroy their copies of the arrest. The court will give a copy of the order to the petitioner, which includes the court’s decision.

Before filing for a petition, the petitioner must be eligible for the sealing. To be eligible for the sealing, the case must fall under the following situations – (1) the person was arrested by the law agency, however the prosecutor never filed any charges against them, (2) the case filed against them was dismissed and (3) the case was dismissed by a jury under a trial. Petitioners who are convicted of the case are not eligible to have the records sealed and destroyed.

Access to criminal records ca are restricted, however, there are some companies who offer public search of arrest records that might come up with the person’s name as well as arrest history. With that said, it is important to make a background check of oneself to know if there are existing records. One can do so online, which is a very convenient way.

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