Clearing Your Arrest Record

What if you were arrested but never convicted or even charged and still ave your arrest record available. The arrest can still be available from the records division of the law enforcement which made the arrest. There are few facts about removing arrest records to initially mention. Arrest records are not treated or require the same process as removing criminal records, also known as expungements. Certain arrests do not qualify for removal, generally related to the nature of the crime. The arrest removal and process can differ from one state to another, with few states not offering a way to remove the arrest altogether.

With expungements, you are basically filing a lawsuit in court and requesting a judge to seal your criminal record. However, removing arrest records can be accomplished by directly petitioning the police department. Without any charges being filed, the record is still being held and provided by the arresting law enforcement department, not the court. The state of California offers a "PETITION TO SEAL AND DESTROY ADULT ARREST RECORDS" form online with instructions and information. The arresting police department may have its own forms. Hiring an attorney is recommended as you may only have one opportunity to clear your arrest record.

If the arresting police department refuses, or does not clear the arrest record within a period of time (example: 60 days in CA), you will need to file the request/motion with the court. You must qualify, based on the offense and circumstances or your arrest, to successfully file and have your motion granted. It is up the filer to prove its case to remove the arrest. Once the court grants the motion to remove the arrest record, you will need to check and see who is notified in your state. There may be agencies with are not automatically notified of the judgement to remove the arrest. This is also the case with non-government private sites with provide criminal records. When arrests are made public, they can be published by any other site as an arrest is considered public record. Arrestees may not be fully aware of how many sites or which sites publish their arrest records.

A Certificate of Actual Innocence

Certificates of actual innocence is used to go even further than an expungement claiming the record should have never been there and available for retrieval. The option is for non convictions, charges dropped or never filed, which is different from expunging a record or arrest reports post conviction.