Convert Arrest Into Detention: Not filed Los Angeles DUI Cases or Los Angeles Criminal Cases.

May 14, 2019

Convert Arrest Into a DetentionLos Angeles DUI attorney can help you convert an arrest into detention for cases that are not filed in Los Angeles.  If you are arrested for a crime or for a DUI, your record, if requested by the Department of Justice, will have a record of the arrest.

Sometimes a job application or an application for benefits or a permit or a license will ask you if you were arrested.  This is different than asking if you have any convictions, which are findings of guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt!  Instead, an application for a job can ask for arrests, which require much less evidence than convictions.  The arrest decisions are made by a police officer who can be biased against you.  Because the evidence needed for an arrest is lesser than the evidence needed for a conviction, more people get arrested than get convicted of crimes.  Here Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney and Los Angeles DUI lawyer explain how to convert an arrest into detention.  Converting an arrest into detention is a great benefit because detentions usually have no legal consequences, whereas arrest can.

Some applications will ask for arrests even when an arrest for one crime can be filed as a charge for a different crime or not at all.  Sometimes you can hear police officers say “I am charging you with a crime”.  This is an incorrect statement of law because a police officer has no power to charge a crime.  He can only arrest someone for a crime, and even then, usually with a supervisor’s approval.  Some cases go through a lengthy delay between an arrest and a criminal filing.  You must be mindful of a statute of limitation that requires a criminal case to be filed within a specified period of time.  Many professional license organizations and boards, such as the nurse’s board or the state bar, will look at arrest reports, without a conviction, to decide if the arrested person should be disciplined and possibly if his or her professional license should be taken away.  For those reasons, it is extremely important to make sure your arrest is converted into detention.  For example, a nurse arrested for a DUI in Los Angles, can be disciplined and lose her nursing license if she pleads guilty to a DUI, but, she can also be disciplined if the DUI is dismissed.  Los Angeles DUI Attorney works his absolute best to get the best possible deals for his Los Angeles DUI clients who are nurses or other professionals.

A criminal case can’t be filed once the statute of limitation has expired.  The statute of limitations for California Offenses can be found in California Penal Code sections 799 through 805.  Most DUIs can’t be filed after one year past arrest unless it was a Los Angeles felony DUI or a DUI with injury.  After the statute of limitation has expired, a criminal case can never be filed and because it can’t be filed, it should be called a “detention”.   Similarly, an arrest for a case that was rejected from filing by the prosecutor should also be called a “detention”.  Detentions are very different from arrests because, unlike arrests, they do not have to have “a reasonable suspicion that the person committed a crime” to be valid.  For example, detention can happen when a police officer wants to know who you are or wants to make sure you are not carrying something illegal.  Because it is so easy to get detained, detentions, unlike arrests, do not carry so much stigma and often do not require disclosure.  Also, detention should say that they are detentions and not arrest on the Department of Justice permanent record for a person (“rap sheets”).


California Penal Code Section 849.5 states “In any case in which a person is arrested and released and no accusatory pleading is filed charging him with an offense, any record of the arrest of the person shall include a record of release.  Thereafter, the arrest shall not be deemed an arrest, but detention only”.  Please contact our office to make sure we can convert the arrest into detention.  Los Angeles DUI attorney will make sure your record is kept clean.

If the prosecutor does not file a criminal case, (as sometimes is the case), you can convert arrest into detention and modify the Department of Justice record to delete the arrest from your “RAP” sheet.  Once your arrest is converted into detention, the question “if you were ever arrested” can be honestly answered as a “no”.  Penal Code section 849.5 suggests that any case that was rejected or non-filed can be converted into detention.  California Judicial Counsel of California information printout (CR-409-INFO) instructs to contact the court to convert an arrest into detention.  A better practice is to first to call the arresting agency to obtain a certificate of detention.

If you were arrested for a Criminal Case or DUI in Los Angeles, please contact our office at (818) 921 7744 as soon as possible to talk about your case.  Often, we can convince the prosecutors not to file a criminal case against you, thus assuring that your record remains clean.  Next, Los Angeles Criminal Defense and Los Angeles DUI Attorney can remove the Los Angeles arrest from your record.  Los Angeles DUI attorneys and Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can use California Penal Code 849.5 to convert an arrest into detention for not filed DUI cases.  Once your Los Angeles DUI arrest is converted into detention you can honestly answer that you were never arrested for a DUI.  This is important because some applications for employment or benefits ask specifically if you were ever arrested.  Once your arrest is converted into detention, the police agency has to correct its record and correct DOJ who will in turn contact the FBI and correct its record.  It is always a good idea to get a copy of your DOJ printout after the arrest is converted to detention.  This can be done at any live-scan facility.   If your arrest still shows up as an arrest,  please consider hiring us to fix that and contact the DOJ to make sure you do not have an arrest on your record.  The Court of Appeals addressed this issue in Schmidt v. CHP in 2016 and ordered the CHP to notify the DOJ of converting the arrest into detention and to issue a certificate of detention to Schmidt (he was arrested for a DUI but there was no bad driving and his BAC was low).  CHP was sued in a Class Action lawsuit because of their refusal to issue a Certificate of Detention as required by state law and notify the DOJ of the change from Arrest to Detention.

2018 Addition To The Law. 

On January 1, 2018, the legislature passed a law that authorizes the court to seal your arrest record.  Now, under California Penal Code sections 851.91 and 851.92, the court must seal the arrest record under any circumstance and may seal it in the interest of justice.  The sealing of the arrest record allows a defendant to honestly answer that they were never arrested except when filling out applications for a public office, a police officer employment, state and local licensing, or state lottery commission.  There is a slight conflict in the logic when comparing PC 851.91 and PC 849.5.  The conflict is that under PC 851.91, an arrest can be sealed for cases that were never filed.  However, under PC 849.5, all arrests that are not filed as criminal cases in court are deemed detentions.  Sealed arrest needs to be disclosed under some circumstances, however, detention is not an arrest and therefore does not need to be disclosed.  Consequently, a person who filed a PC 849.91 after a case is not filed might be in a worse situation than a person who did not file it because a PC 849.92 order obligates a person to answer that he was arrested in some circumstances where without a PC 849.92 order a person can simply rely on PC 849.5 and state that he was never arrested (just detained).   Also, the arrest record can not be sealed without the judge’s approval.  Under PC 849.5, there is no requirement for a judge to do anything,  it is so just because.

Recent changes to California law allow an application to seal arrest records after completion of a prefiling diversion program under California Penal Code section 851.87.   Contact our office to talk about how we can help you seal your arrest record.


Under Penal Code 851.8, in addition to a motion to “seal” arrest, a defendant can file a motion for factual innocence.  This motion must be filed within 2 years from the date of the alleged incident.  This motion is filed first with the arresting agency and if they do not respond within 60 days, with the Superior Court where the case would be filed if prosecuted.   Please call our office to talk to Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney and Los Angeles DUI Attorney.  Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney and Los Angles DUI attorney can draft a motion for you and help you litigate it with the Superior Court.  A motion under PC 851.8 is fact specific and it best to be filed with supporting documents, such as declarations or photographs etc.

For all questions related to Los Angeles Arrest or Los Angeles DUI arrest record sealing call Los Angeles DUI Attorney and Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney directly at (323) 464-6424.

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6 responses to “Convert Arrest Into Detention: Not filed Los Angeles DUI Cases or Los Angeles Criminal Cases.”

  1. Great article. I received a detention certificate due to PC 849.5. The arrest comes up on my DOJ rap sheet. How can I get them to change this. I live in Sonoma County and the DA has refused to update the DOJ. What recourse can I take?

    • Hello Toni,

      Usually, the DOJ rap sheet codes arrest and detentions under one heading (“arrest/detention” instead of “arrest”). Because you were detained – “arrest/detention” could be accurate. Having said that, you can contact the DOJ directly (do a livescan first) and then request a hearing.

  2. Daniel says:

    How about sealing of “detention only” record with PC 851.91 sealing? Is that possible? If that is done what will DOJ rap sheet show?

    • Daniel,

      Technically, a PC 851.91 order converts an “arrest” into a “detention”. But, if a PC 851.91 petition is filed after only an arrest, and the court grants it, the “court order” will “seal” the underlying record. For what it worth, it will not hurt and potentially make the record better (more innocuous). I, unfortunately, don’t know how the DOJ record will read after that.

  3. Deana says:

    If a person already has a Sealed record that was granted by a judge, can he(s) convert that into a Detention? Does this law firm address cases where the person was under the influence of pharmaceutical medications that were administered by a doctor or do you only work with DUI cases? I am in the Fresno, CA area.

    • There is probably no need for that. Under PC 851.91, once the arrest is sealed it is deemed to “not to have occurred”. You however can ask the law enforcement agency who arrested you to issue you a certificate of detention. I am however too far from Fresno.