Clearing Your Arrest Record
If you were arrested and that arrest did not result in a conviction, you may be eligible to file to expunge the records of those arrests. To be eligible you cannot currently be participating in a pretrial diversion program for another criminal offense. It also has to have been at least one year since the date of arrest. The prosecutor can agree to allow someone to file earlier than the one year. Early filing is completely within the prosecutor’s discretion. In practice, prosecutors rarely agree to an early filing.
Most individuals eligible for this type of expungement are first time offenders who had a minor criminal case such as possession of marijuana, public intoxication, minor consumption, or theft (shoplifting) dismissed pursuant to a pretrial diversion agreement. However, any arrest that did not result in a conviction is eligible. If the prosecutor elects not to file charges, filed charges are later dismissed, or you went to trial and were found not guilty, the records of those arrests can be expunged one year after the arrest date. Also, individuals are not currently limited to one lifetime filing for expungements of arrests that did not result in a conviction.
It is always in your best interests to expunge your dismissed criminal case. When you are charged with a crime, a public record is made that shows the criminal charge and a summary of all court proceedings. As a result, anyone can type in your name in the on-line court records and see the information about your case. We have business clients that call us regularly to check court records regarding prospective employees or tenants. What we discovered in these public record searches probably cost some individuals a job or a lease.
Once you expunge the dismissed case, it will be removed from the public record and the on-line docket so it will not be discoverable by potential employers, landlords, etc. Expunging a dismissed case does not prevent an expungement of a criminal conviction at a later time. Therefore, not expunging a dismissed criminal case is always a bad idea.
If you have any kind of criminal record, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer such as Steven Knecht to help you expunge your record.