Employer Alert: SB 731 Will Expand Sealing of Criminal Records
Employer Alert: SB 731 Will Expand Sealing of Criminal Records

Beginning July 1, 2023, SB 731 will provide for the automatic sealing of certain felony criminal records.  Arrests that do not result in conviction will also be sealed. This law also permits individuals with violent or serious felony records to petition courts to order their criminal records sealed.  Sealing of these records will make them unavailable to most employers through a background search, although school districts may still access these records for teacher credentialing or employment decisions.

Under SB 731, most defendants convicted of a felony are eligible to have their records sealed if they have completed their sentence, along with parole and probation, and they haven’t been convicted of a new felony for 4 years. Those defendants with sex offender status are excluded. 

Notably, Governor Newsom vetoed SB 1262, which would have facilitated criminal background searches by permitting searches of the California Superior Court online index using a defendant’s date of birth and/or driver’s license number. This law was proposed in response to the May 2021, ruling by the California Court of Appeals in All of Us or None – Riverside Chapter vs. W. Samuel Hamrick, that prohibited this practice. This case was later denied certiorari by the California Supreme Court. See our article here for more details. 

The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Joanne Warriner.


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