Penal Code 851.87 allows individuals in California to request that their arrest records be sealed and destroyed. This section of the penal code serves to replace Penal Code 851.8 in many situations. PC 851.8 required individuals to file a petition for factual innocence to have their arrest records destroyed.
Destroying arrest records is much easier under PC 851.87. In fact, in most cases, individuals just have to prove that they were not convicted to have their arrest records destroyed. Find out more about this process with the Simmrin Law Group at (310) 997-4688.
The History of PC 851.87
California used to require individuals to file a petition for factual innocence in order to seal and destroy arrest records. This changed with California Senate Bill 393. SB 393 first went into effect in 2017 and led to the creation of PC 851.87.
Before PC 851.87, individuals had to provide evidence that they were not guilty before their records could be sealed or destroyed. They had to provide this evidence even if they were not convicted. This was very different from the usual burden of proof for criminal cases, which falls on the prosecution.
For most cases under PC 851.87, individuals do not have to prove their innocence. They must only prove that they were not arrested.
Individuals Who Can Seal an Arrest in California
Anyone who was arrested but not convicted can apply to have their arrest records destroyed in California. This means that individuals can have their records sealed and destroyed if:
- They were arrested, but the prosecution never filed charges
- The prosecution filed charges, but they were dismissed with prejudice
- The prosecution filed charges, and the defendant received an acquittal
Additionally, individuals who complete different programs, like drug diversion programs, may have their charges dismissed in California. This allows the defendant to request that their arrest record be destroyed.
Finally, in some cases, the court will agree to seal and destroy an arrest record even after a conviction. However, this only occurs if the court already reversed or vacated the conviction. The Simmrin Law Group can step in to help in any of the above situations. Find out how we could assist with sealing and destroying arrest records by calling (310) 997-4688.
Exceptions to the Right to Seal and Destroy Arrest Records
PC 851.87 allows most people to seal an arrest as a “matter of right.” This means that the court will seal the arrest record as long as the individual was not convicted. However, the court can refuse to seal or destroy arrest records in some cases.
Individuals with a pattern of committing certain crimes do not have their records sealed as a matter of right. This applies to individuals who have a record of engaging in:
- Child abuse
- Elder abuse
- Domestic violence
These individuals are still able to request that the court seal and destroy their records. However, the judge gets to make a decision about how to treat these records. The judge can decide to deny a request to seal or destroy their arrest records.
Additionally, there are some cases wherein individuals do not have the option to have their arrest record sealed. This is true if an individual:
- Avoided charges by evading law enforcement
- Committed identity fraud or similar acts to avoid prosecution
- Was arrested for a crime with no statute of limitations
Sealing and Destroying Arrest Records
Sealing an arrest removes it from background checks and similar searches. However, the court and other law enforcement agencies can still view the record in some cases. Additionally, individuals may still have to perform certain duties associated with their arrest.
You should also know that there is not yet a set time limit on PC 851.87 requests. This means that you could technically file a request to seal and destroy arrest records at any point. Previously, individuals only had two years to file a request. You can get to work right away with a member of our team here at the Simmrin Law Group.
Speak to a Lawyer Today About Sealing and Destroying Arrest Records
Penal Code 851.87 deals with California’s new rules to seal and destroy arrest records. This section of the law replaced PC 851.8 in many ways. We are here to help you understand and work within these new regulations. Just reach out to the Simmrin Law Group for a free consultation at (310) 997-4688. We also have an online contact form.