The Automatic Relief from Certain Arrest Records Not Resulting in Conviction, And Certain Conviction Records Programs Delayed Again
People convicted of certain felony offenses, including those punishable in state prison can get their records sealed, as per SB 731 amendments.
The bill (SB 731) requires the DOJ to go through its records every month to find any arrest records that didn't result in a conviction and grant relief for those arrests.
These changes should have been introduced starting 1st January 2022 but were not effected due to an issue with appropriation of funds.
The new date for the enactment of the bill is set on the 1st of July 2023.
Commencing from that date, you will be eligible for SB 731 arrest record relief if you meet the following conditions:
- You aren't required to register as a sex offender
- You were arrested on or after January 1, 1973,
- The arrest was for a misdemeanor or infraction
- The charge was dismissed
- Criminal proceedings have not [started] within one year after the arrest
- The arrest was for a felony punishable in a county jail and criminal proceedings have not started within 3 years after the date of the arrest.
- You successfully completed probation or a diversion program
If the DOJ finds you eligible for relief under this new law, you are not required to fill out a petition to get an arrest relief.SB 731 to Also Provide Arrest Record Relief for Felonies
More so, from the 1st of July 2023, arrest relief will extend to people arrested for a felony, including one punishable in state prison.
Felony convictions on or after January 1, 2005, for which you did not complete probation without revocation will also be eligible for arrest relief as long as you:
- Fulfilled all terms of incarceration such as probation, mandatory supervision, post-release community supervision, and parole,
- Have not been convicted of a new felony for 4 years since your conviction
After you get relief for your arrest record, any search into your criminal history information will show "arrest relief granted". This status will be available statewide.
An arrest relief makes it as though an arrest never happened, by releasing you from any penalties or disabilities related to the arrest. If asked about the arrest, you can respond in the negative.
Regarding records retained by the courts (the court can order records of court trials destroyed or retained (Section 68152). Where records are retained, the court cannot disclose details concerning an arrest that was granted relief.SB 731 Arrest Record Relief Exceptions
Even after an arrest record relief, you will still have to operate within certain limits. These include:
- If you are applying for a job as a peace officer, you must answer truthfully regarding the arrest.
- Criminal justice agencies have access to all criminal records and aren't limited in their access and use of those records, including those granted relief.
- As long as statutes of limitations permit, the district attorney can prosecute an offense that has been granted relief.
- If prohibited from holding public office, the relief will not automatically overturn that prohibition.
- When seeking employment or licensing in industries whose licensing is governed by the Health and Safety Code (e.g., In Care Facilities for the Elderly), your criminal history information will be considered in the decision.
- An arrest relief does not affect your permit to own, possess, or control a firearm, and you can still be convicted for unlawful possession of a firearm.
While SB 731 makes it so that you don't need to file a petition for relief, this exception does not extend to other laws governing criminal records, such as Sections 851.87, 851.90, 851.91, 1000.4, and 1001.9.