Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–806. Availability of sealed records.

(a) Records sealed on grounds of actual innocence pursuant to § 16-802 shall be opened only on order of the Court upon a showing of compelling need; except, that upon request, the movant, or the authorized representative of the movant, shall be entitled to a copy of the sealed records to the extent that such records would have been available to the movant before relief under § 16-802 was granted and shall also be entitled to all certifications filed with the Court pursuant to § 16-802(h)(5). A request for access to sealed court records may be made ex parte.

(b) Records retained in a nonpublic file pursuant to § 16-803, § 16-803.01, or § 16-803.02 shall be available:

(1) To any court, prosecutor, or law enforcement agency for any lawful purpose, including:

(A) The investigation or prosecution of any offense;

(B) The determination of whether a person is eligible to have an arrest or conviction sealed or expunged;

(C) The determination of conditions of release for a subsequent arrest;

(D) The determination of whether a person has committed a second or subsequent offense for charging or sentencing purposes;

(E) Determining an appropriate sentence if the person is subsequently convicted of another crime; and

(F) Employment decisions.

(2) For use in civil litigation relating to the arrest or conviction;

(3) Upon order of the Court for good cause shown;

(4) Except for records sealed under §§ 16-803.01 and 16-803.02, to any person or entity identified in § 16-801(11)(D), (E), or (F), but only to the extent that such records would have been available to such persons or entities before relief under § 16-803 was granted. Such records may be used for any lawful purpose, including:

(A) The determination of whether a person is eligible to be licensed in a particular trade or profession; and

(B) Employment decisions; and

(5) To the movant or the authorized representative of the movant, upon request, but only to the extent that such records would have been available to the movant before relief under § 16-803, § 16-803.01, or § 16-803.02 was granted. The movant, or the authorized representative of the movant, shall also be entitled to all certifications filed with the Court pursuant to § 16-803(l)(1)(C).

(c) Any person, upon making inquiry of the Court concerning the existence of records of arrest, court proceedings, or convictions involving an individual, shall be entitled to rely, for any purpose under the law, upon the clerk’s response that no records are available under § 16-802(h)(7), § 16-803(l)(5), or § 16-803.02(b)(5) with respect to any issue about that person’s knowledge of the individual’s record.

(d) Except to the extent permitted by this section, all sealed records shall remain sealed.


(May 5, 2007, D.C. Law 16-307, § 2(b), 54 DCR 868; June 15, 2013, D.C. Law 19-319, § 4(e), 60 DCR 2333; Mar. 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-186, § 2(d), 61 DCR 12108.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-319 rewrote (a); substituted “§§ 16-803 or 16-803.01” for “§ 16-803” in the introductory language of (b); added “Except for records sealed under § 16-803.01” at the beginning of (b)(4); rewrote ((b)(5); added (d); and made related changes.

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-186 substituted “§ 16-803, § 16-803.01, or § 16-803.02” for “§§ 16-803 or 16-1803.01” in the introductory language in (b); substituted “§§ 16-803.01 and 16-803.02” for “§ 6-803.01” in (b)(4); substituted “§ 16-803, § 16-803.01, or § 16-803.02” for “§ 16-803 or 16- 803.01” in (b)(5); and substituted “§ 16-802(h)(7), § 16-803(l)5), or § 16-803.02(b)(5)” for “§ 16-802(h)(7) or § 16-803(l)(5)” in (c).