In September 2010, our client, then 46 years old, was arrested and booked by the Santa Ana Sheriff’s Department for an alleged violation of Penal Code § 243(e)(1), misdemeanor domestic violence.
After discussing the wife’s allegations against him, the Santa Ana Sheriff’s Department then issued him a Detention Certificate and the Orange County District Attorney kindly declined to file charges. The Santa Ana Sheriff’s Department confided to our client that it had significant doubts about the credibility of our client’s wife and her claims, which they realized had an ulterior purpose to use the judicial process to harass and annoy our client.
Our client was then and still is employed by a well-known automobile retailer. He was promoted in 2014, years after his wife’s fabricated claims were made. However, in 2021, he was actively seeking other employment within the management profession for several different dealerships.
While applying for such positions, our client would certainly be subject to a background check. Such an inquiry would reveal this arrest for a misdemeanor crime of violence against a family member and consequently, he would be negatively stigmatized. Based on an arrest that never progressed to a criminal filing, the employer nevertheless may assume our client is a violent person and regard him as unqualified for the position despite his vast experience in the automotive industry.
The client then called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg about filing a petition to seal. Greg explained that this type of stigma the client faced is exactly what a petition to seal seeks to remove.
Our client, after all, had worked extremely hard for decades to build his reputation as an honest, reliable and responsible citizen and did not want this misdemeanor arrest from almost eleven years ago to ruin his goals and life.
Our client was furthermore very concerned that if he could not secure a higher-paying job, he would not be able to financially support himself and his three adult children. His children (ages 21, 22 and 15) were currently in college or about to enter college. The cost of tuition is extremely high and our client simply needed to earn more money for himself and his children. He did not want his family to pay for his arrest, especially when the arrest did not lead to any case being filed. However, he was suffering the financial consequences as if the arrest had proceeded to a conviction, as most arrests do.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates to prepare a petition to seal the arrest record under Penal Code §§ 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 had suffered an arrest that did not result in a conviction when the Orange County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges. Our client’s record did not show a “pattern” of violence for spousal abuse, child abuse or elder abuse that would otherwise disqualify him from relief as specified in Penal Code § 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). Our had no other arrests or convictions, let alone for spousal abuse, child abuse or elder abuse.
The petition included a short points and authorities laying out the law and a declaration from our client describing his employment status, his kids’ education plans and his need to find a higher paying job.
The petition to seal was then filed at the Newport Beach Superior Court and served not only to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, but also the Santa Ana Sheriff’s Department.
The Orange County Superior Court assigned the matter to a judge in Santa Ana who ruled on the petition in chambers, granting it, without even a hearing. Our office was mailed the signed order granting the petition as well as a certified copy of the docket showing the petition was granted.
We then forwarded this to the client, who was very happy.
For more information about sealing a police report and / or court file, please click on the following articles: