How are arrest records and charges cleared if case is dismissed? 8 Answers as of September 05, 2011

I have a case pending in which the charges will more than likely be dismissed. How can the case be handled so that the arrest and charges are cleared away as well? This may be especially important as I was charged with a misdemeanor and $1,000,000 (Yes 1 Million) Bail, was then released on. When I asked my PD about having the arrest and bail (which is clearly an error) cleared as part of the charge dismissal I was met with hostility from an obviously overworked civil servant.

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Law Office of Daniel K Martin
Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
Evidence of the arrest will never be completely removed. California uses a system called CLETS (California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System) This system is used by all law enforcement agencies and prosecutors as well as other criminal justice organizations like the Department of Justice. The fact that a person was arrested is not supposed to be used against you. In the real world prosecutors see them in the CLETS records of an individual, occasionally a prosecutor will mention an arrest while discussing a case with a defense attorney and judge, however neither of us (prosecutor and defense attorneys) really consider an arrest without conviction when we negotiate a case. If the facts of your case merit it, you can move the court for a Declaration of Factual Innocence. It is unusual to receive such a ruling because unlike a dismissal for lack of evidence, a Declaration of Factual Innocence means that you convinced the judge that you are innocent of the charges against you. It can be difficult to meet the burden required for such an order, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss how you can obtain a Declaration of Factual Innocence.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/5/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
If the case is dismissed then you have no record and there is nothing to clear. Arrests cannot be "cleared". However, arrests are generally not of interest to potential employers, license providers, etc. Your confidence in a dismissal seems a bit optimistic. I hope it turns out the way you expect.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/5/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Whether you can seal and destroy your arrest record depends on the facts of your case. This includes when you were arrested, what the charges were and weather you were charged in court at your arraignment. You need to consult an attorney to know the process you will go through and how to get it done.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/2/2011
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
The only way to truly remove something from your criminal history is a petition for factual innocence under Penal Code section 851.8. Just having charges dismissed may not be enough. Discuss this with your attorney. If you are unsatisfied with your public defender, you can hire the attorney of your choosing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/1/2011
Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
1 million -insane. Did you or a bondsman actually put up that bail? Anyhow the only way to get the arrest off your record is if you were FACTUALLY INNOCENT. In other words you did not commit the crime. If you win because of a bad search, etc, it won't work. Anyhow, google California Penal Code and look at PC 851.8. So if 851.8 doesn't fit your situation go to the Clerk of the court where you were charged with your case number and ask to see the Docket Sheet. The last entry should be "case dismissed [and the reason]. Order a certified copy. That way at least if it comes up you can show an official record. Also, Assuming you do not qualify wait 6 months and go to a police station. Tell them you want your C.I.&I. rap sheet. You need to give them your fingerprints and then they will send for your record. It should list the charge (bail should not be listed) and the date you were arrested. Then under that or next to it it should say case dismissed "in the interest of justice" or whatever reason the DA gives for dismissing. If it is NOT there write a letter to the Dept of Justice in the State of CA, Sacto. Give them your case number, full name as charged, and name of court. Tell them the case was dismissed and you would like the record to reflect that. Send them a certified copy of the docket sheet mentioned above.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/1/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    The hostility was warranted. You simply cannot clear arrest records, only convictions. If the case ends up getting dismissed, then there is nothing to clear.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    You should hire an attorney to petition the arresting agency. Then the DA's office if necessary if the case was filed, to sign a Petition of Factual Innocence and get the arrest records destroyed. If they won't, you may need to then file it with the court that has jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Arrest records are normally not erased, which is why you may have met hostility. Cases can be dismissed for many reason, but there will always be a record of the arrest even if there is no conviction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
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