CA NORML Guide to Marijuana Laws
Health & Safety Code Sections 11361.5 and 11361.7
§11361.5. Destruction of arrest and conviction records after 2 years; exceptions.
(a) Records of any court of this state, any public or private agency that provides services upon referral under Section l 000.2 of the Penal Code, or of any state agency pertaining to the arrest or conviction of any person for a violation of subdivision (b), (c), (d), or (e) of Section 11357 or subdivision (b) of Section 11360 shall not be kept beyond two years from the date of the conviction, or from the date of the arrest if there was no conviction, except with respect to a violation of subdivision (e) of Section 11357 the records shall be retained until the offender attains the age of 18 years at which time the records shall be destroyed as provided in this section. Any court or agency having custody of the records shall provide for the timely destruction of the records in accordance with subdivision (c). The requirements of this subdivision do not apply to records of any conviction occurring prior to January 1, 1976, or records of any arrest not followed by a conviction occurring prior to that date.
(b) This subdivision applies only to records of convictions and arrests not followed by conviction occurring prior to January 1, 1976, for any of the following offenses:
(I) Any violation of Section 11357 or a statutory predecessor thereof.
(2) Unlawful possession of a device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia used for unlawfully smoking marijuana, in violation of Section 11364, as it existed prior to January 1, 1976, or a statutory predecessor thereof.
(3) Unlawful visitation or presence in a room or place in which marijuana is being unlawfully smoked or used in violation of Action 11365, as it existed prior to January 1, 1976, or a statutory predecessor thereof.
(4) Unlawfully using or being under the influence of marijuana, in violation of Section 11550, as it existed prior to January 1, 1976, or a statutory predecessor thereof.
Any person subject to an arrest or conviction for those offenses may apply to the Department of Justice for destruction of records pertaining to the arrest or conviction if two or more years have elapsed since the date of the conviction, or since He date of the arrest if not followed by a conviction. The application shall be submits upon a form supplied by the Department of Justice and shall be accompanied by a fees which shall be established by the department in an amount which will defray the cost of administering this subdivision and costs incurred by He state under subdivision (c), but which shall not exceed thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents ($37.50). The application form may be made available at every local police or sheriffs department and from the Department of Justice and may require that information which the department determines is necessary for purposes of identification.
The department may request, but not require, the applicant to include a self-administered fingerprint upon the application. If the department is unable to sufficiently identify the applicant for purposes of this subdivision without the fingerprint or without additional fingerprints it shall so notify the applicant and shall request the applicant to submit any fingerprints which may be required to effect identification, including a complete set if necessary, or, alternatively, to abandon the application and request a refund of all or a portion of the fee submitted with the application, as provided in this section. If the applicant fails or refuses to submit fingerprints in accordance -with the departments request within a reasonable time which shall be established by the department, or if the applicant requests a refund of the fee, the department shall promptly mail a refund to the applicant at the address specified in the application or at any other address which may be specified by the applicant. However, if the department has notified the applicant that election to abandon the application will result in forfeiture of a specified amount which is a portion of the fee. the department may retain a portion of the fee which the departnent determines will defray the actual costs of processing the application, provided the amount of the portion retained shall not exceed ten dollars ($10).
Upon receipt of a sufficient application, the Department of Justice shall destroy records of the department if any, pertaining to the arrest or conviction in the manner prescribed by subdivision (c) and shall notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the law enforcement agency which arrested the applicants and, if the applicant was convicted, the probation department which investigated Fe applicant and the Department of Motor Vehicles, of the application.
(c) Destruction of records of arrest or conviction pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) shall be accomplished by permanent obliteration of all entries or notations upon the records pertaining to the arrest or conviction, and the record shall be prepared again so that it appears that the arrest or conviction never occurred. However where ( 1) the only entries upon the record pertain to the arrest or conviction and (2) the record can be destroyed without necessarily effecting the destruction of other records, then the document constituting the record shall be physically destroyed.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) or (b), written transcriptions of oral testimony in court proceedings and published judicial appellate reports are not subject to this section. Additionally, no records shall be destroyed pursuant to subdivision (a) if the defendant or a codefendant has filed a civil action against the peace of officers or law enforcement jurisdiction which made the arrest or instituted the prosecution and if the agency which is the custodian of those records has received a certified copy of the complaint in the civil action, until the civil action has finally been resolved. Immediately following the final resolution of the civil action, records subject to subdivision (a) shall be destroyed pursuant to subdivision (e) if more than two years have elapsed from the date of the conviction or arrest without conviction. (Amended by Stats 1993 ch 59 §12, eff.: 6/30/93.)
§11361.7. Records subject to destruction to be considered inaccurate; prohibiting alteration of records by public agency; questions on criminal record.
(a)) Any record subject to destruction or permanent obliteration pursuant to Section 1l361.5, or more than two years of age, or a record of a conviction for an offense specified in subdivision (a) or (b) of section 11361 5 which became final more than two years previously, shall not be considered to be accurate, relevant, timely, or complete for any purposes by any agency or person. The provisions of this subdivision shall be applicable for purposes of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. Section 552a) to the fullest extent permissible by law, whenever any information or record subject to destruction or permanent obliteration under Section 1136 l .5 was obtained by any state agency, local public agency, or my public or private agency that provides services upon referral under Section 1000.2 of the Penal Code, and is thereafter shared with or disseminated to any agency of the federal government.
(b) No public agency shall alter, amend, assess, condition, deny, limit, postpone, qualify, revoke, surcharge, or suspend any certificate, franchise, incident, interest license, opportunity, pundits privilege right, or title of any person because of an arrest or conviction for an offense specified in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 11361.5 or because of the facts or events leading to such an arrest or conviction, on or after the date the records of such arrest or conviction are required to be destroyed by subdivision (a) of Section 1136 l .5, or two years from the date of such conviction or arrest without conviction with respect to arrests and convictions occurring prior to January 1, 1976. As used in this subdivision 'public agency" includes, but is not limited to, any state. county, city and county, city public or constitutional corporation or entity, district, local or regional political subdivision, or any department, division, bureau, office, board, commission or other agency thereof.
(c) Any person arrested or convicted for an offense specified in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 11361.5 may, two years from the dote of such a conviction or from the date of the arrest if there was no conviction, indicate in response to any question concerning his prior criminal record that he was not arrested or convicted for such offense.
(d) The provisions of this section shall be applicable without regard to whether destruction or obliteration of records has actually been implemented pursuant to Section 1136l.5.