San Diego’s Premier Domestic Violence Defense Firm

Sealing Your Past Records To Protect Your Future

You were in an argument with a spouse or significant other, and things got a bit out of hand. The cops were called to your home, and you were taken under arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. Luckily, the truth prevailed, and the charges against you were dismissed. All is well that ends well, right?


It does not take a conviction for a domestic violence arrest to wreak havoc on your life. Having a domestic violence arrest in your records can cause trouble for you when undergoing criminal background checks, limiting your employment opportunities. It’s time to get your arrest records sealed so you can leave this regrettable incident in the past where it belongs.

Eligibility For Sealing Arrest And Court Records

You can petition to have your arrest and court records sealed if one or more of the following apply to your situation:

  • You were charged with a crime, but the charges were dismissed.
  • You were charged with a crime and found not guilty.
  • You were charged and convicted, but your conviction was overturned on appeal.

Don’t Wait Another Day

You have dealt with the repercussions of your arrest long enough. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about having your records sealed.

Sealing an Arrest, Finding of Factual Innocence, and Destroying Arrest Records – Penal Code 851.8

There are many instances were someone was falsely accused of a crime.  That person goes to court to find out that no charges were issued.  As someone wants to move past the event, there is a stain on their record showing they were arrested.  Although someone is technically innocent until proven guilty, merely having an arrest on your record can have far-reaching consequences you want to avoid.  The Premier Law Group is dedicated to helping people move past a tough situation.  Call our office for a free consultation at (619) 752-3702.

California law allows people who were arrested but never convicted to have their California arrest records sealed and destroyed as a matter of right (automatically). Sealing an arrest means the record will not show up on most criminal background checks in California, other than to law enforcement. 

Penal Code 851.87 PC.  This section allows people to have their arrest record sealed as a matter of right when:

  • No criminal charges were ever filed,
  • Criminal charges were filed but later dismissed,
  • The defendant was found “not guilty” (acquitted) in a jury trial.

An exception to sealing an arrest record as a matter of right is when the person arrested has a history of arrests and/or convictions for:

But even in these cases, an arrest can still be sealed if a judge determines that doing so would serve the interests of justice.

Two Ways To Seal An Arrest Record

#1: PC 851.8 – Finding of Factual Innocence.  The first method for sealing an arrest record utilizes PC 851.8, which requires that we prove factual innocence.  Factual innocence can be a very hard thing to prove, and requires that the Judge agree that in retrospect, given the totality of evidence, that you should not have been arrested.  Furthermore, PC 851.8 prescribes a two-year time limit for filing the arrest record sealing request with the Court, from the date of the arrest.  If the arrest is older than two years, you can request a time waiver, but this can be difficult to do. However, relief under PC 851.8 is more far reaching than under PC 851.91 (described below), as it permanently seals and destroys the arrest record, meaning that it will be completely removed from all public databases and will essentially cease to exist.  Call the Premier Law Group to determine which method is best for you  at (619) 752-3702.

#2: PC 851.91 – The second method for sealing an arrest record utilizes a much more simplistic approach.  Under PC 851.91 you need only prove that you are eligible for relief and to move the court demanding relief.

Here are the general requirements that must be satisfied to qualify under PC 851.91 to have your arrest record sealed in California:

  • 1. You must have been arrested in California;
  • 2. Your arrest must not have resulted in any convictions. If you were convicted then our other expungement services are more appropriate in your situation; 
  • 3. The statute of limitations has passed (usually 1 year for a misdemeanor and, 3 years for a felony), or charges were filed and later dismissed.

Once the arrest record has been ordered sealed by the Court under PC 851.91 the arrest record shall be updated, as follows:

  •  The local summary criminal history information shall include, directly next to or below the entry or entries regarding the sealed arrest, a note stating “arrest sealed.”
  • The state summary criminal history information (i.e., your DOJ rap sheet) shall include, directly next to or below the entry or entries regarding the sealed arrest, a note stating “arrest relief granted.”

If the record is ordered sealed by the Court, it then becomes illegal for the Court, or any law enforcement agency, to disseminate the arrest information to any private entity.  Thus, your arrest record will be sealed from public view in almost all situations, but will still be visible on your Department of Justice (DOJ) rap sheet. However, even your DOJ rap sheet will be updated with a notation stating that the arrest has been ordered sealed.

It should also be noted, that sealing an arrest pursuant to PC 851.91 does not relieve you from the obligation to disclose the arrest, if otherwise required by law, in response to any direct question contained in an application for:

  • -Public office
  • -Employment as a Law Enforcement Officer
  • -Professional License by any state agency (Teaching, Real Estate, Legal, etc.)

You want to legally and honestly state you have never been arrested in any other situation not listed above.  Meaning you can answer “NO” on nearly all employment, landlord, and lender applications if asked if you have ever been arrested.

If you feel that you were wrongfully arrested, then there is no reason to let that arrest remain a part of your permanent record.  Getting the arrest record sealed under PC 851.8 or PC 851.91 will provide you with relief from the wrongful arrest in your life.  We can erase that blemish and provide you with the peace of mind of getting official recognition from the court that the arrest was in fact wrongful. Call our office for a free consultation at 619-752-3702.