If I was arrested but the charges were dismissed, can my employer legally find out about it? (Penal Code Section 851.8)

By: Wallin & Klarich

There is good news for those of us who have been arrested but not convicted of any crime. If you live in California your employers cannot find this information. This is because there is a California state law that says that an employer cannot obtain information regarding “arrests or detentions” that do not result in convictions.

This law also applies to prospective employers. When you apply for a non-government job the application cannot legally ask you if you have been arrested or detained for a crime. However, the application can ask if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense. Failure to answer that question honestly is sufficient reason to be denied employment, even if you were otherwise qualified for the position.


Even though this is true it is still a very good idea to takes steps to have an arrest removed from your record. While an arrest may not be seen by your employer and non-government prospective employers it still can be seen by law enforcement. When you are stopped by a police officer and they run your “record” they will see you have a prior arrest for a crime. When a police officer sees you were arrested they almost always will assume you were guilty. You likely will be treated very differently than someone who has no prior arrests.

If you have been arrested it is a very good idea to retain an experienced attorney to help you clean your arrest record. There is a motion that can be brought within 2 years of your arrest per Penal Code Section 851.8 that could result in the arrest record being sealed and destroyed. If that happens then nobody, even the police can ever see it in the future.

If you or your loved one needs to seal or destroy your criminal record, penal code 851.8, then you need to call the experienced attorneys of Wallin & Klarich. We have over 30 years of experience helping clients defending clients. With offices in San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange County, Los Angeles and Ventura we can help you no matter where you live. Call us now, we will be there when you call.

Posted In: Clearing Your Criminal Record