Petitions for Factual Innocence - Penal Code § 851.8

Petitions for factual innocence erase records of arrest from an individual's criminal record.  In this way, they are much more powerful than expungements, which only change the disposition of a case from "convicted" to "dismissed."  However, because petitions for factual innocence are so powerful, they are a bit more difficult to obtain than a standard expungement.  

Factual innocence petitions are available to individuals who are:  (1) arrested for a crime and never charged; (2) arrested for a crime, charged, and the charges are dropped; or (3) arrested for a crime, charged, and found not guilty at trial.  Under Penal Code § 851.8, an attorney must show the court that there is no evidence upon which a reasonable person would believe the individual is guilty of the crime.  Upon making that showing to the court, the police, prosecutor, court, and Attorney General all physically destroy their records of the arrest and charges. Consequently, that individual's RAP sheet will no longer display any information related to that arrest or charge.  

The benefits of a factual innocence petition are astounding.  After a successful petition, job seekers can truthfully answer that they have never been arrested for that crime.  Petitions for factual innocence must be filed within two-years of arrest.  As such, individuals seeking relief through a petition for factual innocence must move quickly.  

If you or a loved one in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Perris, San Jacinto, Hemet, Moreno Valley, or Riverside wish to petition a court for factual innocence, feel free to contact me today.  Remember, time is of the essence.  Don't wait too long and forfeit your rights.  

Posted by Mike Donaldson.