Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–803.02. Sealing of public records for decriminalized or legalized offenses.

(a) A person arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense pursuant to the District of Columbia Official Code or the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations that was decriminalized or legalized after the date of the arrest, charge, or conviction may file a motion to seal the record of the arrest, charge, conviction, and related Superior Court proceedings at any time.

(1)(A) The Superior Court shall grant a motion to seal if:

(i) The arrest was not made in connection with or did not result in any other District of Columbia Official Code or District of Columbia Municipal Regulations charges or convictions against the person; and

(ii) The arrest was not made in connection with or did not result in any other federal charges or convictions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the person.

(B) In a motion filed under subparagraph (A) of this section, the burden shall be on the prosecutor to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the record is not eligible for sealing pursuant to this section because the conduct was not decriminalized or legalized.

(2)(A) In cases that do not meet the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Superior Court may grant a motion to seal if it is in the interest of justice to do so. In making this determination, the Court shall weigh:

(i) The interests of the movant in sealing the publicly available records of his or her arrest, charge, conviction, and related Superior Court proceedings;

(ii) The community’s interest in retaining access to those records;

(iii) The community’s interest in furthering the movant’s rehabilitation and enhancing the movant’s employability; and

(iv) Any other information it considers relevant.

(B) In a motion filed under this paragraph, the burden shall be on the movant to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that it is in the interest of justice to grant relief.

(b) If the Court grants a motion to seal under this section:

(1)(A) The Court shall order the prosecutor, any law enforcement agency, and any pretrial, corrections, or community supervision agency to remove from their publicly available records all references that identify the movant as having been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted.

(B) The prosecutor’s office, any law enforcement agency, and any pretrial, corrections, or community supervision agency shall be entitled to retain records relating to the movant’s arrest, prosecution, conviction, or related Superior Court proceedings in a nonpublic file.

(C) The prosecutor, any law enforcement agency, and any pretrial, corrections, or community supervision agency shall file a certification with the Court within 90 days after the Court issues an order under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph that, to the best of its knowledge and belief, all references that identify the movant as having been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted have been removed from its publicly available records.

(2)(A) The Court shall order the clerk to remove or eliminate all publicly available court records that identify the movant as having been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted.

(B) The Clerk shall be entitled to retain any records relating to the movant’s arrest, prosecution, conviction, or related Superior Court proceedings in a nonpublic file.

(3)(A) In a case involving co-defendants in which the Court orders the movant’s records sealed, the Court may order that only those records, or portions thereof, relating solely to the movant be redacted.

(B) The Court need not order the redaction of references to the movant that appear in a transcript of court proceedings involving co-defendants.

(4) The Court shall not order the redaction of the movant’s name from any published opinion of the trial or appellate courts that refer to the movant.

(5) Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the clerk and any other agency shall reply in response to inquiries from the public concerning the existence of records which have been sealed pursuant to this section that no records are available.

(6) No person as to whom relief pursuant to this section has been granted shall be held thereafter under any provision of law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of failure to recite or acknowledge his or her arrest, charge, trial, or conviction in response to any inquiry made of him or her for any purpose.

(7) For purposes of this section, the entities listed in § 16-801(11)(D)-(F) shall be considered public.


(Mar. 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-186, § 2(b), 61 DCR 12108.)