California Penal Code §236.14
California Penal Code §236.14 allows survivors of human trafficking to petition to vacate convictions and destroy records of arrests, non-prosecuted cases, adjudications, and/or other records that are not convictions, committed while they were a victim of human trafficking.
Relief is available for any nonviolent offense. The crimes covered are not limited to prostitution-related crimes. The petitioner must show that the arrest or conviction happened as a direct result of their status as a victim of human trafficking by clear and convincing evidence.
The survivor may apply “at any time after they have ceased to be a victim of human trafficking” or after they have sought services for being a victim of human trafficking, all fees are waived. A hearing is only required if the prosecution objects to the motion. Survivors of trafficking are entitled to confidentiality during the process and can be excused from appearing in person at the hearing under certain circumstances.
Even if vacatur is granted, a survivor may still be required to pay any outstanding restitution orders. Once a petition to vacate has been granted, the court must order any law enforcement agency that arrested the survivor, has jurisdiction over the offenses, or has taken action to maintain records because of the offense, including (but not limited to departments of probation, rehabilitation, corrections, and parole) to destroy those records. These agencies must comply with this order within one year of the arrest date or within 90 days of the court order, whichever is later.
Updated Oct 2022
California State-Specific Resources
2021 Amendments to and Expansion of California’s Vacatur Law by CAST