The term “criminal justice” implies a sense of fairness, but anyone who’s been caught up in the justice system understands well that this isn’t always the case. One such frustration for many of our clients is when their charges are dismissed, but they still have a criminal record.
What Happens When Your Case Is Dismissed
When a case is dismissed, it means that your attorney argues that the prosecutor has insufficient evidence to convict you for a crime and the judge in your case agrees. Sometimes, charges may also be dismissed if there is a procedural error on the part of the prosecution.
If your attorney tells you your case should be dismissed, you’re likely to feel a sense of relief—after all, if your attorney is right and charges are dismissed by your judge, you can move forward with your life and put your legal troubles behind you.
Unfortunately, that’s only partially true.
In the United States, it’s not just convictions that show up in public records searches—arrests and charges are also publicly available, unless your charges were dismissed when you were still a minor. This means anytime someone conducts a background check on you, whether it’s for a new job or for volunteering with your child’s Pee Wee Football League, your charges will show up.
While most employers only care if you’re convicted of a crime, not simply arrested or charged, your dismissed criminal charges can still affect how people view you. In some cases, you may be prevented from crossing the US border; other times, you might have trouble renting an apartment or volunteering. Dismissed charges can haunt you for years after the fact, even if you’ve never been charged with any other crimes before or since.
An attorney who knows how to get a criminal case dismissed is one thing, but you’ll also need to find an attorney who’s willing to go a step further and have your records expunged or sealed.
How to Get Your Record Expunged or Sealed
It’s certainly not fair that someone might judge you for criminal charges that were dismissed, but luckily you do have recourse. You can request to have your records expunged, which means your records are destroyed, or sealed, which means the public cannot access them.
A skilled criminal attorney can help you fill out an application to have your records sealed or expunged. They can also assist you should you need to go to a hearing and make your case in front of a judge. If the judge agrees with you, you’ll be granted your sealing or expungement. Now, whenever anyone performs a criminal background check on you, your dismissed charges will not show up.
Schedule a Consultation With Kelly Legal Group
Are you facing criminal charges? Are you wondering how to get a criminal case dismissed and how you can expunge your record so you can get a fresh start? The criminal defense attorneys at Kelly Legal Group can help. Contact us today at 512-505-0053 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.