Here's how to get record clearance in Santa Clara County

  1. Call the Santa Clara intake line (408-535-4290) to start the process

    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 contact you within 48 hours and ask you to fill out a short application to start the process. If you do not hear back from the Public Defender within 48 hours, reach back out to them to check on your case’s progress. They will also screen you to determine whether you meet their income requirement. If you do not, you can contact legal aid organizations that serve the Santa Clara area. They may also ask you to submit a personal statement or letters of recommendation.

  3. Submit application to the court and receive decision

    If you are eligible, attorneys will help you put together a petition which you can send to the court to clear your record. 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. 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 by calling the Santa Clara Public Defender

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.

Santa Clara Public Defender Contact Information

The Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office helps people with arrests or convictions in Santa Clara County.



Phone number

(408) 535-4290

Mailing address

120 West Mission Street, San Jose, CA 95110