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New Bill Seeks to Automatically Seal Criminal Records in California

Two people at a desk handcuffs and paperwork sitting on it.

According to KCRA, California could be on the verge of making sweeping reforms to laws requiring that criminal records be automatically sealed. The legislation has been sent to Governor Gavin Newsom, and if he signs it, the criminal records of many ex-offenders would be sealed.

The legislation is called Senate Bill 731 and if signed into law, it would automatically the seal arrest and conviction records of most ex-offenders if they meet certain qualifications. Those qualifications include completing their sentence, including parole and probation, and not committing another felony for four years after completing their sentence. SB 731 would also automatically seal records of arrests that don’t result in convictions.

There would also be those who would be excluded from having their arrest and conviction records automatically sealed, including anyone convicted of a felony that requires sex offender registration and those convicted of serious felonies, such as violent crimes.

Benefits of Automatically Sealing Criminal Records

Having your criminal record sealed can drastically change your life for the better. The following are a few of the benefits of having your criminal record automatically sealed:

  • Finding and Keeping Work – Employers often perform criminal background checks on job applicants as well as employees. If you have a criminal record, it can sometimes disqualify you from working for particular employers. Even if you aren’t disqualified from working at a company, having a criminal record may lower your chances of getting the job. It can also lessen your opportunities to advance within the company. If your criminal record is sealed, your criminal background check won’t be a problem.
  • Securing a Professional License – If your job requires you to secure a professional license (electrician, doctor, lawyer, et cetera), having a criminal record could hurt your chances of securing or retaining that license. However, if your criminal records are sealed, you shouldn’t have that problem.
  • Finding Safe Housing – Many public and private safe housing options are not available to people with criminal records. If your criminal record is sealed, you won’t have to reveal your criminal record when applying for housing.
  • Securing Citizenship – In some cases, having a criminal record can prevent a person from being able to become a US citizen. However, if your criminal records are sealed, that barrier to becoming a citizen is removed.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation with Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers

A criminal conviction can have a devastating effect on your life in the present and for years to come. It can take away your freedom, tear apart your family, destroy your finances, and prevent you from pursuing a career in your chosen profession. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney in your corner who will go to battle for you and do everything within their power to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.

At Appel & Morse, our criminal defense lawyers have more than four decades of combined legal experience helping clients facing criminal charges in the Santa Barbara area and throughout California. As our clients’ testimonials prove, we have a long track record of helping people resolve their legal issues and secure the most favorable outcomes possible for their situations.

For a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Santa Barbara, call us at (805) 467-6060 or reach out to us online today.

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