Bill to Help Human Trafficking Survivors Clear Criminal Records Faster Moves Forward

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 262 passed unanimously in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. Victims of human trafficking are commonly forced to commit various crimes to survive. AB 262 will make it faster and easier for them to clear their record of nonviolent offenses so they can begin their new lives. 

AB 262 addresses several problems:

ELIMINATES REQUIREMENT TO PAY FEES BEFORE COURT HEARING

PROBLEM: Current law creates a catch-22 that makes it almost impossible for survivors to clear their criminal records. Survivors often have to pay all fines and meet all probation requirements before they can ask a court to clear their criminal record of nonviolent offenses. Without a clear record, employment is almost impossible. Without employment, paying a fee to the court is a barrier that prevents many survivors from even trying to clear their records.

SOLUTION: AB 262 will prevent a court from refusing to hear a human trafficking victim’s petition to clear their record due to fines owed and/or probation requirements not met. Survivors will now be able to ask the court at any time after leaving trafficking to clear their records. Current law says “within a reasonable amount of time” which is up for interpretation.

RECORDS MUST BE PURGED IN 90 DAYS FROM RULING

PROBLEM: Local law enforcement agencies and the CA Department of Justice currently have one year from the court ruling to purge a survivor’s records. For a survivor unable to pass a background check to get a job, one year is an eternity.

SOLUTION: Survivors will have their records purged with local law enforcement or CA Department of Justice within 90 days of a judge’s order.