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

  1. Contact the Public Defender’s office through email ( or their phone number (831-454-5300)

    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 shortly (usually between 2-6 weeks) and ask you to fill out a short application to start the process. If you do not hear back from the Public Defender, 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

    If you are eligible, attorneys will help you put together a petition that gets sent 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. Submit application and fees to the court and receive decision

    In Santa Cruz County, you’ll need to pay fees to the court that range from $60-$150 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 by emailing the Santa Cruz 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 Cruz Public Defender Contact Information

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



Phone number

(831) 454-5300

Mailing address

440 May Avenue Santa Cruz, CA 95060

If you do not want to contact the public defender in Santa Cruz County, you can contact one of the following legal aid organizations that serve the Santa Cruz area:

Watsonville Law Center

Watsonville Law Center helps people with arrests or convictions in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties.



Phone number

(831) 722-2845

Mailing address

315 Main Street, Suite #207 Watsonville, CA 95076