Cleaning Your Record After an Acquittal

Not every defendant prosecuted under the California criminal justice system will be convicted. In fact, the number of those who are acquitted is significant. Though an acquittal means the prosecutor failed to prove the defendant was guilty, the defendant will still walk away with a criminal record from the case regardless. This is unfortunate because people are wrongfully charged with crimes every day. If taken to trial, they stand a chance of being acquitted of the charges, but that does not leave them untouched by the criminal justice system. Following an acquittal, the defendant still has to deal with a criminal record of the charge and the trial. This can hold them back when applying for jobs, licenses, housing, or public assistance. It also serves as a daily reminder of the flaws in the legal system. Luckily, those who have been acquitted of their charges can take steps to clean their record after their case is closed.

You can clean your record a few different ways in California. How you clean it will depend on what you are trying to alter in your record and why. If you were charged with a crime and were later acquitted at trial, you escaped a conviction but will still have evidence of the charges and acquittal on your record. In today’s competitive world, even being charged and tried for a crime you didn’t do can hurt your chances of getting a job or renting a house. But you don’t have to let that stop you from moving on from your case.

Under California law, those who are charged with a crime but acquitted can petition the court to seal the arrest record. Once sealed, your record will be destroyed after a period of time. You typically will only have two years from the arrest or when the charges were filed in which to request your arrest record be sealed. To seal an arrest record after an acquittal from a jury trial, you will need to petition the court for the relief. This can be a difficult process. You must prove there was no reason for your arrest and that you are factually innocent. The district attorney can challenge this claim. The district attorney can argue there was a good reason for your arrest even if you were acquitted. Both you and the district attorney can offer evidence for the court’s review. An attorney can help you with this part of the process. It may take quite a bit of research and a thorough knowledge of California criminal law to be successful, but the benefits of having your arrest record sealed after an acquittal often far outweigh the costs.

This is the general process for having your record cleaned after an acquittal. In some cases, the judge will order your arrest record to be sealed at the time you were acquitted. This is why it is important to speak with an attorney if you have any questions. An attorney can help you decide what the best plan of action is to getting your arrest record sealed and destroyed.

Being charged and tried for a crime you didn’t do can be a stressful experience. Following an acquittal, you may be eager to move on from the experience and get your life back in order. Unfortunately, doing that with a criminal record can be difficult. If you are in this situation, speak with a skilled California criminal defense attorney with experience in record cleaning about your options. An attorney can evaluate your case and advise you on your record cleaning options. Even if you are eligible to have your arrest record sealed, it can be difficult to do so. It will require you file a petition with the court, but a petition is only a request for relief. Not every request will be granted. Having an experienced attorney help you with your request can give you a better chance at having it granted.

Do you have questions about cleaning your record? Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can assist you with cleaning your record of criminal charges. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at for a free consultation.