2023Criminal Records

Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn

Beginning July 1, 2023, California Senate Bill 731 (SB 731) makes criminal record sealing available for a defendant convicted of a felony on or after January 1, 2005, if the defendant completes all terms of incarceration, probation, supervision, and parole and is not convicted of a new felony offense for four years.

SB 731 specifies that conviction record relief does not release the defendant from the terms and conditions of unexpired criminal protective orders. Registered sex offenders were excluded from the legislation, and those convicted of serious and violent crimes would have to petition a court to have their records sealed.

Criminal records will still be provided to school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and private schools that conduct background checks for job applicants. People who have their records sealed also would be required to disclose their criminal history if asked when applying for a job in law enforcement or public office.

The California State Assembly passed SB 731 in June 2022 to allow some Californians to have their criminal records sealed if they maintain a clean record. The California State Senate approved SB 731 in August 2022. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 731 into law in September 2022. SB 731 took effect July 2023.

Previous law required the Department of Justice to review records in the statewide criminal justice databases on a monthly basis and identify persons eligible for automatic conviction record relief if, on or after January 1, 1973, they were sentenced to probation or convicted of an infraction or misdemeanor, and met specific criteria.

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