Can I Get My Records Sealed?
March 22, 2022
It is not uncommon for innocent people to find themselves arrested for and charged with criminal offenses. Fortunately, the law allows Californian residents to get their records sealed.
As the founder of Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office, I assist individuals in sealing their criminal records to help them move forward with their lives without the burden of past mistakes. I understand that a criminal record can follow you around for the rest of your life, affecting your ability to get a job, find good housing, apply for loans, or even have access to education.
As a criminal defense attorney in Oakland, California, I help people remove the stigma of arrest and other records by seeking to seal them completely. I also provide record sealing services to residents of San Francisco, Northern California, Alameda County, and throughout the Bay Area. Set up a one-on-one consultation with me today.
Why Should You Seal Your Records?
When your records are publicly available, it means that your potential employers, landlords, and lenders will be able to access the information when making decisions regarding your employment, housing, or loans. Consider there reasons to have your records sealed:
Expand your housing opportunities. Landlords in California conduct criminal background checks when deciding whether or not to let you live in their house or apartment.
Become a “low risk” for lenders and insurance companies. People with a criminal history are considered a higher risk for lenders and insurance companies when applying for loans or insurance policies.
Remove the barriers to work. Employers run background checks on job applicants when hiring. Having a criminal history may limit your employment opportunities for the rest of your life.
Record Sealing vs. Expungement:
What’s the Difference?
Having a criminal record can negatively affect various aspects of your life. However, you may be eligible for record sealing or expungements. Many people in California do not understand the difference between these two ways of clearing your criminal record.
Contrary to popular belief, record sealing does not involve the complete removal of the criminal record. Even if your records are sealed, they will still exist and can be accessed with a court order. Expungement, on the other hand, means that your records are completely removed from the public record.
When Can You Request to
Have Your Records Sealed?
Sealing criminal records is not an option that is available to everyone. In California, there are only three situations in which you can ask the court to have your records sealed:
The arrest record that you are asking to seal did not lead to a conviction.
You were found innocent of the crime.
You were arrested when you were under the age of 18.
For adult Californians, there are two methods for getting your records sealed:
You were arrested in California but never convicted of the criminal offense for which you were arrested, and the charges against you will not be filed because (a) the statute of limitations has passed or (b) the charges were dismissed; or
You were arrested in California within the last 24 months and were found factually innocent of the criminal offense.
The first method can be used to prohibit law enforcement agencies or the court from disclosing arrest records to private entities. In other words, the record will not be erased completely. The second method, on the other hand, allows having all of your records removed within three years after the date of the arrest.
Who Cannot Have Their
Records Sealed in California?
Not all Californians who were arrested in the state can have their records sealed. People cannot have their records sealed if they were arrested for or convicted of:
If your criminal record includes any of the above-mentioned arrests or convictions, whether or not your record can be sealed will be determined on a case-by-case basis by a judge. It’s critically important to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the justice system.
How a Skilled Attorney Can Help
As a criminal defense attorney, I work tirelessly to provide residents of California with the privacy they deserve by having their criminal records sealed and expunged. If you are considering getting your records sealed in Oakland, California, or elsewhere in the Bay Area, schedule a consultation with me at Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office to discuss your options.