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Criminal Defense Attorneys

Petition to Seal Granted on Petty Theft Arrest, No Filing

In August 2013, our client was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting at Macy’s in Downtown Los Angeles.  She was stopped as she walked out of the store with approximately $440 worth of women’s clothes hidden in her large purse.
 
She had taken the clothing into the dressing rooms, tried it on and then decided to exit the store without paying for it, so she “buried it” under other items in her purse, at the bottom.  Loss prevention was familiar with the use of the dressing rooms for this purpose.

At the time, our client was 41 years old, and a recent immigrant here from Pakistan.  She was in the United States on an F-1 (student visa).  Her arrest by the Los Angeles Police Department was tragic for her and a subsequent conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) would be devastating.

Luckily, however, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office referred her case for an office hearing with American Justice Associates and the client avoided a conviction for a CIMT.

She later met and married a U.S. citizen while in the United States.

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she lost her job when her employer went out of business.  In 2021, as businesses began rehiring, our client applied to many businesses, but was frankly advised that her arrest for shoplifting in 2013 was on her Livescan and this might be why some employers passed on her, despite the passage of eight years.  After all, the arrest suggested the honesty of the client was suspect.

Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Courts Building CCB Los Angeles

She and her husband then contacted Greg Hill & Associates and inquired about having her arrest record from the 2013 arrest sealed, meaning it would be erased or deleted from her Livescan (except it would still be visible if she were to apply for employment with law enforcement). 

She and her husband discussed the new law, provided for at Penal Code §§ 851.91 and 851.92.  Greg explained the requirements for sealing and the exceptions that could apply generally, but did not apply in the client’s case.  Such exceptions were primarily concerned with domestic violence, elder abuse and child abuse wherein there was a “pattern” of such conduct, 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.” Penal Code § 851.91(c)(2)(A)(III)(ii).

For the reader of this summary, such exceptions also include an arrest for a crime that the statute of limitations has not yet expired and/or conduct by the petitioner to evade law enforcement investigation efforts or engage in identity theft.  The only crimes for which a statute of limitations may not have expired were murder and statutory rape (no statute of limitations), certain sex offenses and certain fraud crimes where the statute of limitations might be tolled due delayed discovery of the fraud (due to defendant’s efforts to hide the crime).

Greg explained his experience in preparing, filing and appearing in earlier petitions to seal on cases similar to the client’s.

The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and our office then prepared the petition for an order sealing an arrest record.  The petition included not only the judicial council forms (CR-409 and CR-410), but also a short memorandum of points and authorities in support thereof and a declaration from our client explaining to the judge why she sought such an order to seal.  The petition included the letter from American Justice Associates to our client, advising her that she had successfully completed the program.

The petition was served on the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles City Attorneys Office.

About two weeks later, our office received notice of the hearing date in a specific department for the petition in the Clara Shortridge Foltz criminal courts building.  We relayed this information to the client and her husband.

On the date and time for the hearing, Greg appeared in the department and a short hearing was held.  As the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office did not oppose the petition, the judge granted the petition.

Our client and her husband were happy this outcome.

For more information about a petition to seal and destroy, please click on the following articles:
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