In today's economy, rap sheets are increasingly problematic since employers frequently run criminal background checks before hiring applicants. A “rap sheet” refers to the list of your arrests and convictions; it is your criminal record history.
Your criminal record includes any arrests or convictions for misdemeanor and felony crimes in the state of California. Your official rap sheet is the one that is created by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). It includes your fingerprints, any record of arrest, dismissed charges, and criminal convictions.
If you have any known aliases or if you've given a fake name to the police, those will be in your rap sheet as well.
Official government rap sheets are confidential and are only accessible to specific individuals and organizations such as:
- Law enforcement agencies
- Prosecutors and judges
- State and county governments (for job applications)
- State licensing authorities (for the granting of state licenses)
You have the right to request a copy of your FBI or DOJ rap sheet to review it for accuracy. In order to complete your request, you'll be required to include a set of your fingerprints along with other identifying information.
Can I do anything to clean up my rap sheet?
There are things that you can do to clean up your rap sheet, however, you can't make the entire record magically disappear. Still, it is worthwhile doing what you can to update your record so that it shows that you have done everything required of you to be rehabilitated.
Here are some actions you may be able to take:
- Expungements: If you were convicted of a crime and received probation, and you have successfully completed the terms of your probation, you can apply for an expungement. While the conviction won't go away, your record can be updated so it will show that your conviction was “dismissed in the interest of justice.”
- Governor's Pardon: If you obtain a certification of rehabilitation, the next step is applying for a governor's pardon. This relieves almost all of the penalties connected to a criminal conviction.
- Sealing Arrest Records: If you were arrested but were never convicted of a crime, you may be able to get the record of arrest “sealed.” While the criminal arrest record would remain at the DOJ database, the arrest record would be wiped off your rap sheet so future employers couldn't see it.
If you have a clean rap sheet and were recently arrested for a crime, we urge you to contact a Modesto criminal defense attorney from Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated. We can determine whether you are eligible for a program such as deferred entry of judgment.
With such a program, once you comply with all conditions of the court, such as substance abuse counseling, then the court would dismiss the charge as if it never occurred in the first place. Of course, the other option is to fight your criminal charges in court.
If you need more information regarding rap sheets in Modesto, Stockton, or Turlock, call (209) 418-7386 to schedule a free case evaluation. We would be glad to answer your questions and explain all of your legal options.