New Clean Slate Law Offers Relief for Many Californians with Criminal Records

Policeman is reviewing files and documents

Arrests and convictions can have a lasting effect on an individual's life. Once someone has a criminal record, it can show up on background checks for things like employment, housing, and credit applications. An arrest or conviction can have far-reaching consequences that make it difficult for someone to move on with their life.

California lawmakers have recognized the adverse impacts of having a criminal record. Earlier this year, they introduced and passed SB 731, which Governor Gavin Newsom signed on September 29, 2022. The new law makes available automatic record clearing for most crimes and allows those convicted of felonies to petition to have their records sealed, with some exceptions.

If you're looking to clean up your criminal history, reach out to The Law Offices of Kirk Tarman & Associates by contacting us at (909) 658-7341. Our Rancho Cucamonga lawyers can help you through the process.

Automatic Record Clearing for Many Arrests and Convictions

Under existing law, the California Department of Justice is required to conduct a monthly review of criminal records. The agency must identify those eligible for automatic record clearing of arrest and conviction information.

To qualify for relief for a misdemeanor arrest, the charge must have been dismissed or prosecution not started within a year of the arrest. For a felony punishable by incarceration in the county jail, prosecution must not have been commenced within 3 years of the arrest.

When the new law goes into effect on July 1, 2023, record clearing for an arrest will be available to anyone arrested for a felony, even if the offense is punishable by imprisonment in state prison.

As for the automatic clearing of a conviction, individuals were previously only if they:

  • Were convicted on or after January 1, 1973, and
  • Placed on and successfully completed probation; or
  • Were convicted of an infraction or misdemeanor and
  • Met eligibility criteria.

With the new law, those convicted of felonies on or after January 1, 2005 will qualify for automatic conviction clearing.

The individual must have:

  • Completed the terms of incarceration, probation, mandatory supervision, community supervision, and parole, and
  • Have been crime-free for at least 4 years.

Automatic record sealing will not be available to those convicted of violent or serious felonies. Individuals would need to petition to have their information cleared. Additionally, the new law will not apply to anyone convicted of an offense requiring sex offender registration.

Disclosure of Sealed Records

For the most part, when an arrest or conviction is sealed, others cannot access it. However, some exceptions exist. State and local government officials can request the information if needed in the course of their duties. Also, the new law requires the California Department of Justice to release the information to state and private schools and county offices of education that need it for background checks. The new law would prohibit the release of conviction details concerning possession of specified controlled substances if the conviction is over 5 years old and the individual received relief for the offense.

Contact Our Firm for Help

Record clearing removes some hurdles you might face after an arrest or conviction. While automatic sealing may be available for many, others may have to petition for relief. At The Law Offices of Kirk Tarman & Associates, we are here to help individuals seek a clean slate.

Schedule a consultation with a member of our Rancho Cucamonga team by calling (909) 658-7341 or submitting an online contact form today.

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