Sometimes a arrest is made but the person is actually innocent of any criminal conduct. The charges may never be filed or the case may have been dismissed in Court. Under these circumstances the law in California allows for an individual to purge his or her arrest records from all public view. the procedure is called a motion for a finding of factual innocence and destruction of arrest records. The individual should have a lawyer prepare the paperwork. A legal motion must be filed with the Court of jurisdiction and a copy must be served on the local district attorney. The D.A. may object to the request for any number of reasons.
The applicable law is found in Penal Code 851.8. Essentially the petitioner must prove that he or she is innocent and that no reasonable cause existed to form the basis of the arrest. A Judge will hold a hearing and hear evidence from both sides of the case. If the motion is granted all records of the arrest will be destroyed and purged from all databases within the state of California.
The difference between this type of legal remedy and that of a dismissal is that in the case of a simple dismissal, arrest records still exist in the form of electronic data. This criminal arrest data can linger around and resurface years later when background checks are done.
This type of a motion is also extremely useful in eliminating the trace of an arrest for people interested in obtaining jobs in teaching, law enforcement, legal and medical fields. The destruction of arrest records is also very beneficial in domestic violence charges
to clear arrests which could make it difficult when purchasing firearms and applying for professional licenses and credentials.
Attorney Matthew Ruff has obtained this form of relief for his clients. The benefits are great in that the person will be free from the stigma of having an arrest on their records. In today's job market having a clean criminal record could make the difference between landing that new job. Many decent people have old records that they may not be aware of, a good way to check to see if there are damaging files that could surface when you least expect it, go to the California Department of Justice Arrest Records
website for a nominal fee they will send you a copy of your criminal record if you send a fingerprint card and fill out the application.
The law in this area of jurisprudence is ever changing thereby necessitating the involvement of a qualified criminal lawyer
to help in obtaining the desired relief. For example, in 2008 the California legislature modified the statute to provide that in any case where the petition of an arrestee to the law enforcement agency to have an arrest record destroyed is denied, petition may be made to the superior court that would have had territorial jurisdiction over the matter. A copy of the petition shall be served on the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense, as well as the prosecuting attorney, at least 10 days prior to the hearing thereon. The police or investigating enforcement agency through the district attorney may present evidence to the court at the hearing.
Do not attempt to navigate these unfamiliar waters, contact our office today, we can fight for your rights, 310-527-4100.