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arrest record california

Sealing an Arrest Warrant in California

Clearing a criminal record generally is thought of as expunging a criminal conviction. However, an arrest which does not lead to a conviction also creates a criminal record. Sealing an arrest warrant prevents potential employers and others from seeing an arrest on your record.

Penal Code § 851.91 states that “a person who has suffered an arrest that did not result in a conviction may petition the court to have his or her arrest and related records sealed.” One is eligible to petition for the seal of an arrest warrant if no charges were filed and the statute of limitations has run or if the charges were dismissed and may not be refiled; the defendant was acquitted, or a conviction occurred but was later vacated or reversed on appeal.

A person is not eligible for relief under Penal Code § 851.91 if charges may still be filed, if one of the charges is murder (because there is not statute of limitations) unless there is a finding of factual innocence or if they intentionally evade law enforcement to evade prosecution by running or engaging in identity fraud.

If none of these exceptions apply and one is eligible to for a record of their arrest to be sealed, then this is a right worth acting upon.