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Can a Drunk in Public (647f) Arrest Be Sealed in California?

As a former Oakland police officer, I arrested many people for being drunk in public—always for their safety. Now, on the other side of the law as a criminal defense attorney, I help represent those same people who have been charged with disorderly conduct. However, our clients who have been booked—meaning arrested, fingerprinted, and photographed—have the possibility of sealing their arrest record and not having it show up on a criminal background check.

California SB 393

According to California SB 393, people who were arrested but never convicted can have their California arrest records sealed as a matter of right (automatically) when one or more of the following has occurred:

  • No criminal charges were ever filed;
  • Criminal charges were filed for 647(f), but later dismissed;
  • The defendant was found “not guilty” in a jury trial;
  • The defendant has successfully completed a post-plea deferred entry of judgment;
  • The statute of limitations has expired

In California, prosecutors have one year from the date of the offense to press charges for 647(f), Drunk in Public, in California. If the statute of limitations passes, the prosecution may be barred from filing charges in relation to the drunk in public matter.

Why Seal an Drunk in Public Arrest?

Criminal records are visible to the public, which means that anyone can access a person’s criminal history. If a prospective employee, apartment owner, or insurance company runs a background check, they’ll be able to see an arrest. As a result, an employer may dismiss a job candidate simply because of their arrest record, regardless of conviction. Once an arrest record is sealed, the public can no longer see it.

If you have been arrested in California for Disorderly Conduct, i.e., Drunk in Public, contact our office for help with the sealing of your arrest record. For further information please see California Senate Bill 393 that was signed into law on October 12, 2017 by California Governor Jerry Brown.

Call (925) 452-4065 to talk to our Dublin criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse.