Overview Description

Records relating to an arrest where no accusatory pleading is filed and the person arrested is factually innocent can be sealed by the law enforcement agency. After three years, the records of the arrest and notice of sealing are destroyed. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(a).

Ineligible Category or Citation

This section does not apply to offenses classified as infractions. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(n)

Procedure General

The petition must be made to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the offense. For the specific procedure, see Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8.

If the petition is denied by the law enforcement agency, it can then be made to the superior court that would have had territorial jurisdiction over the matter. For the specific procedure, see Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(b).


There is no statutory language regarding fees.


The law enforcement agency issues the petitioner a written declaration that he or she is factually innocent of the charges and is exonerated. The arrest is deemed not to have occurred and the person can answer any question accordingly. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(f).

Waiting Periods

The petition must be filed within two years of arrest. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(l).

(non-prod server)