Lisa Cope Duflock, Staff Attorney

In 2022 California leaped to the forefront of record clearance law with new legislation to expedite and expand record clearance for eligible individuals. Senate Bill 1106, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 29, 2022, implements significant changes to how outstanding restitution fines and orders are treated during record clearance proceedings. Before this bill, unpaid orders for victim restitution or unpaid restitution fines often barred record clearance, even in situations where record clearance was mandatory. However, with SB 1106, neither mandatory nor discretionary record clearance can be denied on the basis of an unpaid restitution fine or victim restitution order. Indeed, the court cannot even consider unpaid restitution during record clearance proceedings, cannot use unpaid restitution to determine a petitioner failed to fulfill the conditions of probation, and any unpaid restitution cannot also not be the basis for denying a petitioner a request to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor (“wobblers”) under Penal Code section 17(b).

Together with Senate Bill 731, Senate Bill 1106 gives California the broadest record clearance laws in the nation. This provides more opportunities for our Reentry clients to change their circumstances and open more possibilities for housing, jobs, and more.