Criminal charges can have a significant long-term impact on your life, especially regarding your relationships and job prospects.
Having a criminal record is nothing to brag about, and sooner or later, most people realize its actual repercussions.
However, according to Washington criminal defense lawyers, you can have your case dismissed. You may also be eligible for expungement.
Both scenarios are positive, but they are entirely different. Here is everything you need to know about dismissal and expungement in Washington.
What Does Dismissal Mean?
Anyone arrested for a crime will wonder at some point how it will impact their record. It mostly depends on the facts and circumstances of their case and the resolution. For example, misdemeanors are less severe than felonies.
If it’s your first time dealing with such charges, you will have more options than repeat offenders. If you are lucky and your case is dismissed, your record won’t look so bad.
It will show that charges were brought but were later dropped, and there will be a history of your arrest. What isn’t so good is that your case file and arrest record will be on public record.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement means that your criminal case and your arrest record are destroyed and aren’t accessible to the public. However, specific requirements need to be met to be eligible for expungement.
The most crucial aspect is that your charges weren’t filed, or they were but later got dismissed. Regardless of your circumstances, you won’t have a criminal record.
You may benefit from expungement if you were arrested, but the prosecutor didn’t file your charges.
Let’s say the charges were dismissed due to a dispositive court event, such as a motion to suppress crucial evidence or completing a diversion program. The Pretrial Intervention is one such example.
Main Difference Between Dismissal and Expungement
The primary difference between a dismissal and expungement is that when you have your record expunged, all the data regarding your arrest and court case won’t be discovered by a simple public search.
Authorities can access them. However, potential employers or other people that might want to dig into your past won’t be able to.
Having no criminal record comes with various advantages. One key element in obtaining an expungement is contacting a defense lawyer.
A criminal defense lawyer can analyze your records and let you know if you qualify for expungement or sealing. Your lawyer can file your request and go to your hearing. On the other hand, having your case dismissed is equally important.
By contacting an attorney specializing in criminal defense, you will have a higher chance of having your case dismissed.
Lawyers know how to file your pre-trial motion favorably and can be able to convince the judge to drop your charges, which may include a motion to suppress or dismiss.
Some law firms offer free consultations that you can take advantage of to learn more about your legal standings. The lawyers can tell you immediately if you have a strong case on your hands and what your options are.
The most important thing is to be completely honest with your lawyer. Remember, they are here to help you out, and no one can stop them from doing it except you.
Don’t let criminal charges take hold of your life. Search for a good lawyer to fight for your rights!
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