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Arrest records can be sealed through a petition for factual innocence. It is also possible to seal court records in some types of criminal cases.
Under section 851.8 of the Penal Code, the records associated with a person’s arrest – including police reports, fingerprints, booking photos, court files, court computer records, department of justice records, and other records – can be sealed by law enforcement or by a Judge.
Law Enforcement Petition
Law enforcement agencies generally deny petitions to seal and destroy arrest records, but when no criminal charges are filed a request must first be submitted to law enforcement before a petition under section 851.8 can be filed in court.
Court Filed Petition
Once in court, the person seeking to seal and destroy records has the burden to demonstrate that relief should be granted. This process requires evidence to be properly introduced and effectively argued under the prevailing law.
PC1000 Term or other diversions
It is also possible to seal court records in some types of criminal cases without a showing of factual innocence. After successful completion of a PC1000 term or other diversions, the Judge who dismisses the case can seal court records and arrest records.
Some Juvenile Court records can also be sealed depending on the circumstances
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