Anytime you do something drastic, you wonder just how lasting that impact of new actions may be down the road. For instance, if you decide to get serious about your health and start making changes to diet and exercise, you should only expect these changes to last as long as you are practicing healthy habits. This is a positive long term effect, but not all actions have this same kind of result. A good example is an arrest, and your natural inclination to wonder if the arrest will have any kind of effect on your future. The answer depends on the type of case, the outcome of the case, and a few other factors.

Criminal cases are usually disposed of by a finding of guilt or innocence, or the charges get dropped (dismissed). If your case was not dismissed, you can take steps to have the record cleared. But, when doing this it is good to know the difference between a dismissal and an expungement (clearing) of your record. Here are two ways a dismissal is different from an expungement:

  • A dismissed case is the same as if the case was never filed. You cannot be found guilty or innocent of a case that was never filed, so if you get a dismissal there should be no notation of anything other than the dismissal.
  • A case that gets expunged has the effect of removing the charges from public viewing of your record. This means a search should not yield any results with data about the arrest or case.

To get an expungement you do have to meet certain requirements. One way to get an expungement is to successfully complete a term of probation. If you do that, you may be able to get an order from the Court that clears the matter from your record. For more information, call our office. We will review the facts of your case and let you know if you qualify for an expungement and can also handle the paperwork for you. Do keep in mind though that even with an expungement there may be some law enforcement officials that are still able to see your record. So, it is important to know why you want an expungement before you make a request for one, and we can help with that too.

For help with questions about how to clear your record, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged with all sorts of crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.