California has been actively introducing bills for automatic consideration by the Department of Justice for relief and dismissals of certain categories of arrest records and convictions. One significant bill in this regard is California Senate Bill No. 731 (“SB 731”), an expansion of the California Clean Slate Law already in effect. SB 731 was introduced in February 2021 and signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on September 29, 2022. This new CA law amends Section 851.93 and Section 1203.425 of the California Penal Code, effective July 1, 2023.
What CRAs Should Know
The impact of SB 731 on your CRA and your End Users will primarily involve an increase in the number of cases eligible for relief under PC 1203.425 compared to those covered under PC 1203.4. PC 1203.425 will be handled through monthly audits conducted by the California Department of Justice. Alternatively, defendants can request dismissal under PC 1203.425 through a similar application process as they can under PC 1203.4.
To comply with these changes and continue protecting themselves, CRAs should consider treating PC 1203.425 the same way they are handling PC 1203.4. The rules related to dismissal outlined in PC 1203.425 are similar to those under PC 1203.4. Additionally, defendants may be required to disclose when their cases have been "sealed" or "relief granted" under specific circumstances.
It’s predicted that a minimum of 225,000 Californians will see their prior convictions automatically sealed, with over a million individuals becoming eligible to initiate the petition process before a judge. It is important to note that the review and processing of these cases under the monthly audit conducted by the California Department of Justice may take several years to complete.
While PC 1203.4 still requires a petition, PC 1203.425 will mainly fall under automatic monthly audit review, expediting the petition process for cases falling under this classification.
If you have questions regarding this new California law or about conducting employment background checks in California, give us a shout. We are happy to help.