Here's how to get record clearance in San Diego County

  1. On the San Diego County website, fill out a pdf application that will ask you a few questions about yourself and your San Diego record and send it back to the Public Defender

    Contacting the Public Defender is safe and confidential. They are not part of law enforcement and will not share your information with anyone. We know it can be difficult to talk about your conviction history, but the Public Defender will only use this information to move your record clearance application forward.

  2. The Public Defender will contact you by phone or email

    The public defender will send you an email within 3 weeks with information about the process. If you do not hear back from the Public Defender within 3 weeks, reach back out to them to check on your case’s progress. The Public Defender will start the process of getting your full CA DOJ RAP sheet to see all your cases. They may also ask you to submit a personal statement or letters of recommendation.

  3. Work with The Public Defender to complete your request

    Attorneys will review your record and contact you with your recommended plan of action. If you are eligible to petition for relief, you will be notified of the next steps. Your public defender will update you with the final decision and official documents. You may have to go to court, but the public defender will let you know if you have to attend the court hearing.

  4. Submit application and fees to the court and receive decision

    In San Diego County, you’ll need to pay fees to the court that range from $60-$120 per motion, but most folks are eligible for a fee waiver. The Public Defender can help you apply for a fee waiver if you meet the requirements.

  5. Wait 90 days for the court and Department of Justice (DOJ) record to be updated

    If your petition is accepted, you will have to wait at least 90 days after the petition was granted for changes to be reflected on your DOJ RAP sheet. If you want to see if your record has been fully updated, you can get a copy of your CA DOJ RAP sheet or your local court records by going to the courthouse. If you are still having trouble with cases showing up, contact the public defender for assistance. You can also read more about what happens after clearance.

All set? Apply on the San Diego Public Defender Website

The Public Defender will be able to provide personalized help to start your record clearance process. They are a safe, confidential resource and are not part of any law enforcement agency and will not share your information with anyone.

San Diego Public Defender Contact Information

The San Diego County Public Defender’s Office helps people with arrests or convictions in San Diego County.



Phone number

Mailing address
451 A Street, Ste 900, San Diego CA 92101

If you do not want to contact the Public Defender in San Diego County, you can contact contact one of the following legal aid organizations that serve the San Diego area:

San Diego Clean Slate Clinic

The San Diego Clean Slate Clinic helps people with arrests or convictions in San Diego County.



Address: San Diego

South Metro Career Center, 4389 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113

Address: North County

County Live Well Building, 649 W. Mission Avenue, Escondido, CA 92025

Free to Thrive

Free to Thrive supports human trafficking victims with the expungement process in San Diego County.


Phone Number

619-693-6361 or 619-354-8247 (Español)