San Francisco, CA asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for California

Q: Should I pay to get my record cleaned? I read in CA, if not convicted, your arrest wont show in background check. True?

Id like if someone can tell me if thats true. My arraignment is soon and im sure the charges would be dropped. Or should I ask for a seal and destroy at arraignment? Can I do that? Also is fighting in public charge considered violent though there was never a physical fight?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It's difficult to provide specific legal advice without knowing the details of your case, such as the nature of the charges and the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident. However, in general:

It's possible that charges against you may be dropped at or before the arraignment, depending on the evidence available and the discretion of the prosecutor. However, this will depend on the specific facts of your case and the decision of the prosecutor or judge.

A "seal and destroy" order is typically used to expunge criminal records in certain circumstances, such as when charges are dismissed or a defendant is acquitted. However, this process varies by state and may require a separate legal proceeding. You may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in criminal defense to determine if a seal and destroy order is appropriate in your case.

Fighting in public can be considered a violent offense, even if there was no physical altercation. The specific charge may depend on the circumstances, such as whether there was a threat of violence or the use of a weapon.

If you have been charged with a crime, it's important to consult with a qualified attorney who specializes in criminal defense. An attorney can help you understand the specific charges against you, your legal options, and the potential consequences of a conviction. They can also represent you in court and help you navigate the legal process.

Bart Kaspero
Bart Kaspero
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Irvine, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Arrests that did not lead to formal charges being filed are routinely reported in background checks -- which result in privacy violations to many people who had a false sense of security. By the time someone is arrested and released from jail, an average of 7-15 different private organizations have already obtained the information about the arrest. Given your situation, you need to make sure that the case will not be filed (through the local District Attorney's office). Once you have confirmation, it is highly recommended that you seek a petition to seal the arrest from public view. On the other hand, if the case is filed and successfully dismissed (or diverted), you need to obtain a record from the clerk's office showing this was the case. California offers many avenues of clearing ones record but the laws are complex and hard to navigate. You may need to find an experienced attorney to give you a full review to make sure you know you're doing the right thing.

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