Motion to Seal Your Arrest Record & Penal Code 851


What happens if you or your loved one are arrested for a crime and the District Attorney’s office decides not to file charges against you, or you’re arrested, the charges are filed, and ultimately the charges were dismissed? You may be eligible through Penal Code 851 to seal your arrest record. Sealing your arrest record can be helpful, especially if you are going to be applying for a job or submitting an application that involves a criminal background check. The record of your arrest will not be available to the public, including future employers, state licensing agencies, insurance companies, lenders, even potential investors, or anybody who wants to do a background check on you. Once your arrest record is sealed, it’s sealed to the public. There are some exceptions of who can view your arrest, and that includes government officials and government agencies like law enforcement. In other words, your arrest record will not be available to the public, but it can still be viewed by the police, CIA, FBI, or a representative of the State of California.

To be eligible for this motion, the statute of limitations or the deadline to file must expire. For most misdemeanors, this is a year and for most felonies, it’s three years. Now Not all crimes fall into the one-year or three-year deadline, so it’s best to consult with a criminal defense attorney on what the statute of limitation is in your case. The process for sealing your arrest record involves filing a petition with the court and serving copies of your petition to the district attorney’s office and potentially the law enforcement agency that made the arrest. After filing the paperwork, there will be a court hearing where the judge will examine the case and any evidence presented. The process generally takes about three months, and if your petition is granted, it could take another month for the Department of Justice to update your records. To see if you or your loved one qualifies to seal your arrest record, please give us a call. Thanks for listening and I hope this information was helpful.

Back to Blog Section