Sealing Arrest Records
On January 1, 2018, an important new California law goes into effect to protect people’s right to fair and equitable treatment in employment and housing. Senate Bill 393, the Consumer Arrest Record Equity (C.A.R.E.) Act, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The C.A.R.E. Act allows people who have been arrested for but not convicted of a crime to petition the court to seal their arrest records. This new law applies to all cases of this type, whether past, current, or future. If you are in this circumstance, as an experienced Sacramento criminal defense attorney I can file your petition to seal your records and represent you at the hearing.
Current California law allows people who have been arrested for drug crimes to avoid conviction as long as they complete diversion programs through which they undergo treatment to stop their drug use. Once they finish the treatment programs, they are able to petition the courts to seal their arrest records so employers, lenders, and landlords are not allowed to ask about prior arrests or access any government records that contain arrest information.
The purpose of the C.A.R.E. Act is to extend these protections to all people who have been arrested but not convicted of crimes. It became important to pass this new legislation because so many government records are now available online and accessible to employers and housing providers. Thus people who were arrested but never formally charged with crimes would still show up in the databases as being arrested and could be discriminated against in employment and housing. The same was true for people who were arrested, took their cases to trial, and won acquittals. Though they were found not guilty their public records stilled showed the arrest. SB 393 eliminates these inequalities. Now the same protections that have been available to people arrested for drug crimes are made available to people arrested for but not convicted of other crimes.Filing the Court Petition
The important thing to remember is that if you have been arrested but not convicted, your arrest records are not automatically sealed. To have your records sealed, you must file a petition with the courts. As a Sacramento region defense attorney with 25 years of experience, I can write and file your petition in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, and El Dorado counties. I will work with you to gather the information needed to file your petition according the rules and procedures established by the new law.After the Petition is Granted
When your petition is granted by the courts, the C.A.R.E. Act prohibits the California Department of Justice from giving out or making public information regarding your arrest. As stated above, this protection of your privacy is of critical importance in many situations but particularly when you apply for a job or want to buy a home or rent an apartment or house. This is important for everyone but particularly for young people who through unfortunate circumstances find themselves arrested for crimes but then are never charged or are found not guilty at trial. The C.A.R.E. Act makes sure that they are not continually penalized for youthful mistakes.
An exception to these rules for non-disclosure of arrest records is if you decide to apply for a job in law enforcement. If you apply for one of those jobs you must state that you were arrested and the Department of Justice records will be made available to the law enforcement agency to which you are applying.Expungement
For people who have been convicted of crimes, the expungement process provides a way to clear your record so that you can move on with your life. The requirements for expungement are that you must have finished your court-ordered probation, paid all required fines and restitution, cannot be facing any new criminal charges, and have not done any time in state prison for the crime for which you are seeking expungement. If you believe that you have met all these criteria, then you should be eligible for expungement, which means that your records would show that your case was dismissed, meaning that you could say with honesty that you have not been convicted of that crime. I can write your expungement motion for the court and represent you through the entire process. Click here for more detailed information about expungements.Free Legal Consultation
If you have questions about the C.A.R.E. Act or the expungement process, call me at 916-442-1200 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.