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New California Law Will Automatically Seal Many Criminal Records

Posted on in Criminal Defense

 

santa clara crimnal defense lawyerCalifornia will soon be the first state in the nation that will automatically seal the majority of criminal records for those defendants who complete their sentences and avoid any future convictions. The new law is an extension of an earlier “Clean Slate” law that California passed in 2019 with the purpose of eliminating the criminal record roadblocks that many previously incarcerated people have in obtaining housing, jobs, education, and more.

Criminal Records Relief

It is often difficult for ex-offenders to successfully re-enter society with their criminal records hanging over their heads. In California, criminal record screenings are conducted by 80 percent of landlords, 90 percent of employers, and 60 percent of colleges and universities.

Under the new law, which will go into effect in July 2023, the arrest records and criminal convictions of people (on or after January 1, 2005) will automatically be sealed as long as they have not been convicted of a new felony offense for four years following the completion of their sentence. This automatic sealing also includes arrest records of people who were charged but not convicted.

The majority of people who will be eligible to have their criminal records sealed were charged with drug and property crimes.

There are some criminal records/arrests that will not qualify for sealing. These include the records of anyone convicted of violent felonies, including:

  • Murder

  • Manslaughter

  • Attempted murder

  • Rape

  • Assault with a deadly weapon

  • Kidnapping

  • Robbery

It also does not apply to those offenders whose sentence included registering as a sex offender.

There are also exceptions when it comes to disclosure of automatically sealed records – any arrests and convictions will be disclosed in background checks conducted for employment in law enforcement, education, or public office.

It is estimated that approximately eight million people in the state have a criminal record and that a minimum of a quarter of a million Californians will have their old convictions automatically sealed when the law goes into effect.

Contact a San Jose, CA Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime, the best way to avoid a conviction is to retain a skilled Santa Clara criminal defense lawyer to defend against these charges. Attorney Cory Fuller will make sure that your constitutional rights are protected as he fights for your future. Call Fuller Law Firm at 408-234-7563 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out what your legal options are against these charges.

Sources:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB731

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/28/us/california-criminal-record-law.html

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ting-gascon-criminal-justice-bill-20190307-story.html

 

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