What Steps Need to Be Taken to Seal an Arrest Record?
Thanks to new steps taken by Governor Newsom, sealing your arrest record is now easier than ever in California. But that does not necessarily mean that the process is straightforward. If you have a criminal record, you may now have the chance to seal your record, clear your name, and approach the rest of your life with a renewed sense of dignity and opportunity. It may now be easier to obtain reliable housing, gain meaningful employment, and enjoy many other rights that your criminal record previously impeded. If you are ready to get started with effective record relief, all you need to do is follow these steps:
Step One: Find Out Whether Your Arrest Record Will Be Sealed Automatically
The first step is to determine whether you actually need to do anything to have your record sealed. The recent bills signed by Governor Newsom clearly state that some individuals will have their arrest records sealed automatically. In theory, your records should be sealed when you have “fully completed your sentence and successfully gone four years without further contact with the justice system.” This includes arrest records that did not result in a conviction, but it does not include particularly dangerous felonies such as sex offenses and other violent crimes.
This means that as soon as this bill was passed, as many as 225,000 Californians had old convictions automatically sealed. If your conviction is over four years old and you have had no other run-ins with the law since then, there is a good chance that your record has been automatically sealed. Of course, you will still need to confirm whether this process has taken place. One of the easiest ways to check whether your record has been sealed is by visiting the court where your case was held. Ask to see the records of your case. If the court cannot provide you with the records, there is a good chance they were sealed. In order to confirm whether your record was sealed with greater accuracy, you may need to get help from an attorney.
Step Two: Find Out Whether You are Eligible to Have Your Records Sealed
The next step is to find out whether you are eligible to have your records sealed under Governor Newsom’s new bills. As previously noted, some felonies are ineligible to be sealed. But that does not mean all felons are ineligible. Most reports state rather vaguely that “serious” felonies cannot be sealed – but the exact definition of “serious” is somewhat subjective. In the end, it might be best to speak with your attorney and get advice based on your unique situation. Perhaps the most important thing is to check whether you have satisfied all of the requirements of your criminal charges, including community service, supervised release, and so on. It is important to note that your inability to pay fines connected to your sentence will not prevent you from sealing your records.
Step Three: Petition a Judge
It is estimated that millions of individuals in California are now eligible to petition a judge to have their records sealed. The first step is to file a petition in the specific city or county that processed your case. You must also file the petition with the local prosecuting agency and the police department that made your arrest. Fortunately, a criminal defense lawyer can help you prepare and file these petitions. Once this process is complete, a hearing will be scheduled. During your hearing, you will have the chance to make your case with the help of your attorney. Based on this hearing, a judge will decide whether or not to grant your petition.
Where Can I Find a Reliable Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles?
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles who can help you seal your arrest record, look no further than the Kosnett Law Firm. With our help, you can strive for the best possible results in a confident, efficient manner. While it might be easier than ever to experience criminal record relief in California, you may still need help going through the necessary legal steps. The rewards could be immense – whether it is a higher-earning job, better housing, or simply the knowledge that your reputation has been cleared. Book your consultation today to begin sealing your arrest record. Contact our sealing arrest record attorney in Los Angeles for more legal help.