/ 12.9.20

Sealing Arrest Record vs. Detention Certificate

Written by: Doug Ridley

How Ridley Defense Can Help Clean Up Your Arrest Record

Many people who are arrested may not realize that there is relief granted under California law that allows them to clean up their arrest records. The most common relief involves sealing your arrest record or having a detention certificate issued by law enforcement. There are limitations under both forms of relief, including that in order to seal your arrest record the arrest must have occurred on or after January 1, 2018.

At Ridley Defense, we can help you decide which form of relief is appropriate based on the circumstances of your case. In many cases, a Certificate of Detention may be the fastest way to achieve your goals. 

Our experienced attorneys will walk you through the process, helping you to understand your rights. Contact our offices at (805) 208-1866 to discuss your case.

What Is the Difference Between Sealing Arrest Record and a Certificate of Detention?

The difference between an arrest and a detention is important because you do not have to disclose detentions, but in many cases, you must disclose an arrest

If you were arrested and released, but no charges were subsequently filed, then your arrest was actually only a detention. If your arrest was a detention, then the law enforcement agency that detained and released you must issue a Certificate of Detention, which deletes the record of the arrest  (Penal Code Section 849.5).

A Certificate of Detention (Penal Code Section 851.6) may be the best and fastest remedy to “clean up” your arrest record. If you have received a Certificate of Detention or were released without charges, contact our firm to discuss your situation and find out what legal options are available to you.

Who Is Eligible for Sealing An Arrest Record?

A motion to seal an arrest record is accomplished through a petition filed with the court (Penal Code Section 851.91.) You may be eligible for relief if:

  • The statute of limitations has run, and no accusatory pleading has been filed.
  • An accusatory pleading was filed, but no conviction occurred; the charge has been dismissed and may not be refiled.
  • No conviction occurred, and you were acquitted.
  • A conviction occurred but has been vacated or reversed on appeal, and all appellate remedies have been exhausted.

When Am I Not Eligible to Seal My Arrest Record?

If any of the following circumstances apply to you, you might not be eligible to seal your arrest record: 

  • You could still be charged with an offense related to the arrest (this applies if the statute of limitations for the offense has not run out, which means that new charges could still be filed against you).
  • The arrest charges were murder or another crime with no statute of limitations (unless you were acquitted or found factually innocent).
  • You intentionally evaded efforts to prosecute the case.

Under What Circumstances Will an Arrest Record Be Sealed?

An arrest record can be sealed in the interest of justice. For certain offenses, such as domestic violence, an arrest record cannot be sealed unless it is considered to be in the interest of justice. 

In determining whether the interests of justice would be served by sealing an arrest record, the court may consider:

  • The hardship on the petitioner created by the arrest
  • The petitioner’s good character
  • Evidence related to the arrest
  • The conviction record of the petitioner

Your arrest record is not sealed automatically, and can only be done through a petition filed with the court. If you were convicted of a crime and it was not vacated or reversed, contact our office to discuss whether you would be eligible for an expungement.

Contact Ridley Defense for Trusted Legal Help

California law provides several forms of relief for people looking to clean up their arrest records. Sealing your arrest record or having your arrest deemed a detention may help you secure gainful employment, housing, and a professional license.

If you have been arrested and are seeking to have your record sealed, contact our office today. Our attorneys can help you understand your legal options, including requesting a Certificate of Detention or filing a petition with the court to seal your arrest record. Contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to discuss how to clean up your criminal record.

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