In April of 2009, our client, then 27 years old, was arrested and booked by the Lakewood Sheriff’s Department for an alleged violation of Penal Code § 647(b), solicitation of prostitution. The arrest was after police observed our client speaking with a prostitution on Clark Avenue, which had become an increasingly seedy area after police conducted numerous sting operations along Long Beach Boulevard just north of the 91 Freeway in Compton.
One month later, in May 2009, the Bellflower District Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor complaint against our client, alleging a violation of Penal Code § 647(b).
In July 2009, the Bellflower District Attorney kindly offered our client formal diversion. Our client was represented by the Los Angeles County Public Defenders’ office at the time. Our client then entered a plea of no contest to the charge and entry of judgement was continued for a year. In the meantime, our client was required to perform forty hours of approved community.
A year later, the judge dismissed the case under Penal Code § 1385 (“in the interest of justice”).
In the course of his employment at a school district, our client assumed that dismissal meant the record of the case being filed against him was deleted or erased. His friends had told him was so and our client eagerly and naively trusted such purported knowledge, but it was wrong.
In early 2022, he learned that his understanding about his arrest record and court being deleted was wrong. Such a realization made him nervous and anxious because he knew that at work for a school, he would certainly be subject to a routine background check, which would reveal his arrest and the criminal case filing and consequently, although the case was ultimately dismissed, he might be asked to resign.
This anxiety led him to call Greg Hill & Associates and speak with Greg Hill.
He described to Greg what had happened in his case and asked Greg if there was any way to “cancel” the record, a term used in immigration proceedings.
The client explained that he had worked extremely hard to build his reputation at work and in his community as a responsible citizen and he does not want this arrest to ruin his goals and life.
He stated to Greg that he was extremely concerned that if he lost his job or cannot secure a replacement job with an equal or higher income, he will not be able to financially support himself and his family. He did not want his family to pay for his mistake. He had worked too hard to have this lapse in his better judgment ruin his family’s life.
The client explained that he was currently a physical education teacher and would like to pursue a coaching position. However, he was concerned that he may miss many job opportunities within the teaching / coaching profession with this misdemeanor history on his record. He did not want to be barred from any job / coaching opportunities for a case that was dismissed.
Greg then explained what sealing a record was and that the client was qualified for relief under §§ 851.91 and 851.92. Penal Code § 851.91(a) states, “a person who has suffered an arrest that did not result in a conviction may petition the court to have his or her arrest and related records sealed, as described in Section 851.92.”
Here, our client suffered an arrest that did not result in a conviction when the Bellflower District Attorney’s Office offered formal diversion and the case was later dismissed under Penal Code § 1385 (“in the interest of justice”) when Mr. Ong successfully completed the terms of diversion.
Moreover, our client’s record does not show a “pattern” of violence that would disqualify him from relief as specified in § 851.91(C)(2)(A)(i)(I). “Pattern” is defined as “two or more convictions or five more arrests, for separate offenses occurring on separate occasions with three years from at least one of the other convictions or arrests.” 851.91(c)(2)(A)(III)(ii). Violence refers to domestic violence, child abuse or elder abuse.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and our office prepared the petition to seal, requesting that the judge issue an order to seal the arrest and the related records under Penal Code §§ 851.91 and 851.92.
Our office then filed the petition and served it on the Lakewood Sheriff’s office as required.
The judge assigned to the same department held a hearing on the petition and granted it, issuing an order to seal. Our client was happy with this.
For more information about a petition to seal the arrest report and case file, please click on the following articles: