When you’re arrested after committing a criminal offense, your best case scenario is having your charges dropped or dismissed. It’s the closest you can get to making the whole situation “go away.” In order to move on with your life, you’ll want an experienced criminal defense attorney helping you understand the possibility of dropped or dismissed charges in your specific case. So why would criminal charges be dropped or dismissed in Philadelphia?
Charges Dropped vs. Dismissed
First, let’s clarify the differences between the two. When charges are dropped, it can only be done by a prosecutor or arresting officer. This decision could be based on a number of circumstances such as the victim is no longer willing to cooperate, there is insufficient evidence, or new evidence is found contradicting the original arrest. In most cases where a charge is dismissed, there is an insufficient evidence to proceed with the trial. Unlike dropped charges, it can only be done after the case has already been filed.
Reasons Why Criminal Charges are Dropped:
When a prosecutor or arresting officer decides to drop criminal charges, it may be for one of the following reasons:
Constitutional Rights were Violated
This typically involves a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits law enforcement from conducting a search without paper justification. If a search occurs without probable cause or a warrant, the evidence is considered to be illegally seized and cannot be used in the case. If this evidence happens to be a essential to the case, it could be a reason to drop the charges.
Procedure Violations were Committed
From the time of the arrest to the prosecution, there are strict procedures that must be followed by law enforcement and prosecutors. For example, under the Sixth Amendment, if a suspect asks for an attorney but continues to be interrogated by the prosecution, then a procedural violation has occurred which could be grounds for dropping the charges.
Evidence is Destroyed or Lost
In some cases, evidence is destroyed or lost before the case goes to trial. It is common in these situations that important documents or files have been misplaced, which make it difficult for the prosecutors to prove their case.
There are Insufficient Resources
Criminal cases are an extremely common occurrence in big cities. A lot of prosecutors in Philadelphia will deal with multiple cases every single day. For this reason, many of them will choose to drop specific charges for trivial or summary offenses, such as traffic violations or disorderly conduct. But keep in mind, that also means if you’re facing charges for a much more serious offense, your case will be a prosecutor’s priority.
Victim is Uncooperative
Contrary to popular belief, a victim doesn’t actually have the authority to drop charges. But while the decision is one the prosecutor must make, it could also be based on the victim’s unwillingness to cooperate. If this is the case, it becomes more difficult for the prosecution to prove their case effectively, so they may consider dropping the charges as a result.
If you or someone you know has been arrested in Philadelphia, you’ll want an experienced defense attorney who will review the details of your case and know how to leverage this information to have your criminal charges dropped. Contact our lawyers to discuss your case today.Read More
If you’ve been convicted of a federal crime, the scariest thing is awaiting the sentence you’ll have to serve. The differences between state and federal crimes depend on a variety of factors like what offenses were involved and where the prosecution occurs, all of which will determine the length of the resulting sentence. In most cases, federal offenses will receive much harsher penalties than PA state crimes, from decades of jail time to tens of thousands of dollars in fines. So if you or someone you know needs to know if and how you can reduce your federal sentence, our team of experienced defense lawyers are here to help.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
When you’re being sentenced in court, the judge will determine the necessary sentencing range for your crime based on the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Assuming there is no mandatory minimum, which in most cases means the judge is required sentence you to that term of imprisonment, a criminal defense lawyer can argue a number of provisions (over 100 exist, but not all will apply to your specific case) on your behalf to reduce your federal sentence. Most of these arguments will need to be made during the sentencing, so don’t wait until it’s too late to have an experienced attorney fighting for you.
How to Get a Federal Sentence Reduced?
Offenders who can offer aid to the federal government in the prosecution of criminals may be presented the opportunity to reduce their sentence; this is known as Rule 35 Reduction. There are two common ways to reduce a federal sentence based on this rule: a method known as “substantial assistance motion,” which is filed before the offender is sentenced and presented during the sentencing trial and a method from the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure, which requires re-sentencing after the initial sentence is made.
Substantial assistance motion makes the request that the court “departs downward,” or consider granting a shorter sentence, based on a number of determining factors, including the value of the defendant’s assistance to the government based on government’s assessment, the truth and dependability of the information received from the defendant, and whether the defendant’s information is immediately helpful. If the court believes the defendant has provided a sufficient amount of help, a motion can then be filed to reduce their sentence. Rule 35 is one case in which a judge has the authority to disregard a mandatory minimum for the sentence.
If substantial assistance doesn’t apply to your case, there are other ways to reduce a federal sentence, some of which include:
- Criminal History: If you have older prior convictions or prior convictions that are not as serious as your criminal history suggests, allowing you to have a sentence based on a lower criminal history level than you actually fall.
- Fast Track: Based on the notion that if you plead guilty in an expedient manner, you’re alleviating the government of having to litigate the case, saving them time and resources.
- Coercion or Duress: Committing a crime under serious coercion or duress could qualify as a legitimate defense during trial, but you must be able to prove that you had reasonable fear of immediate or serious harm or death if the offense was not committed.
- General Mitigation: If any mitigating circumstances were not properly taken into consideration that could potentially offer reason that the crime was not as serious as the guideline range reflects or is appropriate to the history of the defendant.
There are also several programs that can help reduce a federal sentence after the defendant has is sentenced. If you’ve been convicted of a federal crime, it’s important to have an experienced defense attorney who knows all the possible provisions and will fight for you to provide the best chance at reducing your sentence. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.Read More
In many states, the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” are used interchangeably, but in Pennsylvania, there are important differences between the two. The one thing both crimes do have in common, however, is that they can lead to several years behind bars. That’s why it’s important to know how both offenses are classified, so you can handle your case in the most effective way possible. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you fight your sexual offense charges. To start, we’ll help you understand the difference between rape and sexual assault in Pennsylvania.
Sexual Assault vs. Rape
Sex crimes include any acts involving unlawful sex, sexual stimulation, sexual assault or having a sexual motive, while ranging from felony offenses to misdemeanor offenses. In Pennsylvania, sexual assault encompasses more than rape, while rape is the more serious crime. As a result, there are a number of different situations and additional nuances in which a person could be arrested for rape.
Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania
To be arrested for a sexual assault, an offender has had sexual intercourse or “deviate sexual intercourse” with a victim who has not given explicit consent. Deviate sexual intercourse, or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (IDSI), is where an offender offers unwanted touching of a body part; for example, penetrating the genitals or anus of a person with an object or performing oral penetration without the person’s consent.
Statutory sexual assault is one of the various types of sexual assault crimes. In this case, the offender has sex with someone who is 16 years old or younger, and at the time the sexual assault or abuse occurred, the offender is at least four years older than the victim. If the offender is as much as 11+ years older than the victim, their statutory sexual assault charge could be upgraded to a first degree felony, where they’ll face up to 20 years in prison. These offenses do not apply for married couples, regardless of age.
Rape in Pennsylvania
Rape refers to forced and non-consensual sexual penetration of a body part by another body part or object. The offender will use physical restraint, violence, or threats of violence against the victim to exert power and control. For example, if a victim feels endangered by the unwelcome sexual acts and unable to prevent them from happening through force of their own, the offender can be charged with rape, regardless of whether or not the victim consented to other physical contact. There are three other situations in which a rape arrest could be made:
- The suspect has sexual intercourse with a person is unconscious or unaware the sexual activity is occurring (ie. the victim is intoxicated)
- The suspect used drugs or other intoxicants to make the victim less likely to resist sexual harassment or unwanted penetration
- The victim is mentally incapacitated and unable to consent to the sexual activity suspect
As a first-degree felony, rape offenders face up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines, while most sexual assault charges result in up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines as a second-degree felony. In addition to these penalties, those convicted can expect a tarnished reputation for a lifetime. When it comes to sex crimes, it’s crucial to find an experienced lawyer who understands your case and the complex criminal proceedings to fight for you. Contact our criminal law attorneys today for a free consultation.Read More
Most people know that Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registry is available to the public online. Thanks to Megan’s Law, law enforcement authorities are required to identify sex offenders to the general public, tracking their whereabouts to protect individuals from victimization within their community. But with this information accessible to anyone at any time, are sex offenders required to notify their neighbors and employers of their criminal history directly? We’ll explain the disclosure requirements for your community and employment.
What Community Disclosure is Required for Sex Offenders?
Megan’s Law refers to a collection of laws that mandate the notification of sex offenders in a particular community to the people that live there. This registry was designed to help provide the public and area law enforcement with the information they need to develop constructive plans, safety programs and more to protect their local residents.
In Pennsylvania, the state categorizes registrants in two ways: sexual offenders or sexually violent predators. Sexually violent predators are offenders who “have a [court-determined] abnormality or personality disorder that makes that person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.” Unlike other sexual offenders who may be released from registration requirements after a minimum of 15 years, offenders designated as sexually violent must register for life.
These offenders are also subject to “active community notification.” While this requires no action from the offender himself, local law enforcement authorities are obligated to post notification flyers within the community in which the offender lives.
What are Sex Offenders Required to Disclose to Employers?
Here’s the short answer: If you are still on probation, parole or in treatment, your probation/parole officer or treatment provider may require you to inform your employer. If you are not under any type of supervision, there is no legal obligation requiring you to disclose this information.
However, in many cities across Pennsylvania, employers are generally permitted to ask about criminal convictions on their job applications. While offenders must answer truthfully, several other state and federal laws are in place to protect against hiring discrimination. One of these laws is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, requiring employers to consider how the offense relates to the functions of the actual job, as well as the severity of the offense and how long ago it occurred. If the conviction does not impact the applicant’s ability to adequately and safely perform the tasks of the job, they cannot reject that applicant solely on the basis of their criminal record.
If you’re living or working in Philadelphia, the rules are a little different. As a result of the Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Ordinance, employers are prohibited from asking about criminal records on job applications all together. This statute, also known as the “Ban the Box” Ordinance, applies to all employers with at least 10 employees, except for criminal justice agencies (ie. police departments).
If you or someone you know was convicted of a sex crime in Pennsylvania, you’ll want an experienced criminal defense attorney guiding you through the process. Contact us for a legal consultation to discuss what is required of you legally and the recommended next steps to help you move on.Read More
It’s not unusual two young adults or teens to become sexually active, but an adult molesting a child is reprehensible. A distinction between the two situations seems obvious, but in many states across the US, there’s a fine line legally between a mutual decision and abusive actions. In many cases, Romeo and Juliet Laws reduce or eliminate the penalty of statutory offenses. If you or someone you know have been accused of statutory sexual assault or rape, here’s a better understanding of Romeo and Juliet laws in Pennsylvania.
What are Romeo and Juliet Laws?
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the epic love between two young protagonists has a tragic ending. But in our justice system, Romeo and Juliet laws were created as an exception to a serious criminal offense to help prevent a dreadful outcome for young star crossed lovers in real life.
By definition, Romeo and Juliet laws are provisions to statutory laws that pertain to individuals under the age of consent who engage in sexual intercourse when there is a minor age difference. Each state law has a specific age difference permitted, as well as its own determination of which criminal charges apply to each situation.
In order to understand these provisions, it’s important to understand the ground rules of statutory law. In Pennsylvania, the age of consent, or legal age in which an individual can agree to sexual intercourse, is 16 years old. Anyone under that age is considered a minor, while anyone 18 years of age or older is considered an adult is considered.
Statutory laws were created on the premise that minors are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities. Reversely, Romeo and Juliet laws were designed to protect the relationships of minors and adults who are less than four years apart. For example, a high school senior and a high school sophomore who are intimately involved bridge the age of consent but are safeguarded within a 3-year age gap. However, if the minor is under the age of 13, the older individual will be charged with statutory rape regardless of their age. So even a 14 year old who has a sexual relationship with 12 year old is in violation of this law.
What are the Penalties for Statutory Sexual Assault and Rape?
Penalties for Statutory Sexual Assault and Rape will vary based on the specific circumstances, but below is a general guideline of what to expect.
Statutory Rape- Sexual intercourse with a minor under 13 years old is considered a first degree felony and could involve up to a $25,000 fine, 40 years in prison, or both.
Statutory Sexual Assault- Sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor, ages 13-15, when:
- The defendant is between 4 and 10 years older than the victim (second degree felony)
- The defendant is at least 11 years older than the victim (first degree felony)
A first degree conviction can result in up to a $25,000 fine, 20 years of prison, or both.
When it comes to statutory offenses, there’s little distinction between an innocent relationship and a reprehensible crime. If you’re involved in a statutory sexual assault or rape conviction, it’s important you have an experienced sex offense attorney with a full understanding of Romeo and Juliet laws fighting for you. Contact our team of Philadelphia lawyers to schedule a consultation today.Read More
When the sentencing hearings of Bill Cosby or Larry Nassar occured, everyone saw the headlines. Through photos, videos and recordings, media coverage gave the country a closer look at this integral part of our criminal justice system. But there’s a lot more to know when you’re the one on trial. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, here’s what you can expect at a sentencing hearing in Pennsylvania.
What is a Sentencing Hearing?
When a defendant pleads guilty or is convicted of a crime, a sentence must be served. Sentencing in PA varies based on the crime committed and can be a confusing procedure. In most cases, the sentencing of a defendant is at the judge’s discretion. However, by state law, there are a number of mandatory minimum sentences that may also be involved.
A sentencing hearing takes place in an open court, just like a trial. The district attorney, defendant and defense counsel will all be present as the judge will review all the information of the case provides to determine the length and disposition of the defendant’s sentence.
What Happens at a Sentencing Hearing?
During a sentencing hearing, it’s the trial judge’s responsibility to sentence the convicted in accordance with the law of the state in which the crime was committed, but the judge does has a wide array of sentencing alternatives available in his decision. This could mean ordering a defendant to serve probation while on electronic home monitoring and paying restitution to a victim, or performing community service while enrolled in a drug or alcohol treatment program.
There may be certain restraints, however, as various crimes carry mandatory sentences, which must be fulfilled. These crimes may also have maximum sentences in which the judge cannot exceed. The degree of the crime will determine these restraints as stated below:
18 Pa.C.S.A. §1101 et seq.
|Felony 1st Degree||20 years||$25,000|
|Felony 2nd Degree||10 years||$25,000|
|Felony 3rd Degree/Felonyu*||7 years||$15,000|
|Misdemeanor 1st Degree||5 years||$10,000|
|Misdemeanor 2nd Degree||2 years||$5,000|
|Misdemeanor 3rd Degree/Misdemeanoru**||1 year||$2,500|
*Fu=F3; See 18 Pa.C.S.A. §106(b)(5)
**Mu=M3; See 18 Pa.C.S.A. §106(b)(9)
***Default Fine, 75 Pa.C.S.A. §6502(a)
Your sentencing guideline will be based on two things: 1. The seriousness of the offense (Offense Gravity Score) 2. Your prior criminal record (Prior Record Score).
While deciding what sentencing to impose, the judge will consult the sentencing guideline and review the pre-sentence report prepared by the probation officer. This contains background information on the defendant, such as criminal record, medical or psychiatric reports and any time spent in custody awaiting trial. The judge may also permit oral statements to be made in open court from the prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims and/or the defendant.
If a sentence has not already been set based on plea negotiations, the prosecution will further outline the facts of the case and highlight specific things that may make it more or less serious based on the impact it had on the victims. This may also include a Victim Personal Statement. The defense will then have a chance to respond with an explanation of the specific circumstances in an attempt to lessen the seriousness of the crime. Based on the information provided and shared throughout the hearing, the judge will decide on the defendant’s sentence.
How Long Does a Sentencing Hearing Take?
The actual sentencing of a case takes only a few minutes, especially if plea negotiations have been made prior to the hearing. Felony cases can even wrap up fairly quickly when the sentence has been predetermined as part of the plea bargain. But this isn’t always the case. For example, if the judge is legally authorized to order a more serious sentence and imprisonment, the prosecution and defense will take their turns arguing for or against the probation officer’s recommendations provided in the pre-sentencing report (as mentioned above).
How to Learn more…
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime, there still may be a chance to reduce your sentence and protect your future. For an experienced defense attorney who can provide the legal support you need throughout every step of the process, contact our team today.Read More
Being a convicted felon is a label that many will have to live with the rest of their lives. A criminal record is something potential employers, educational institutions and housing facilities all have access to, creating significant challenges in your future. But what if there was a way to have your record wiped clean? Well, there is. It’s a process called Expungement.
What Does it Mean to Get a Crime Expunged?
An expungement is a court ordered process in which an arrest or conviction is erased from a criminal record. Unlike a pardon in which the crime is forgiven but is still accessible to the public, getting a record expunged is as if the crime never happened in the first place. That means this information will not be attainable during employment background checks, housing and rental checks and other government investigations moving forward. While most crimes are not eligible for expungement, it could change the course of your future to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer find out.
Who Qualifies for Expungement in PA?
In all cases, there is several criteria to meet for a conviction to qualify for expungement. These include the following:
- You are 70 years or older and have had no arrests or prosecutions for 10 years after your release from prison or supervision.
- You have no arrests or prosecutions within 5 years of conviction or completion of probation, parole or incarceration for summary offense.
- The conviction must have been for a misdemeanor 2, misdemeanor 3, or upgraded misdemeanor offense.
- Criminal proceedings were either dismissed, the defendant was found not guilty or acquitted after the trial.
- Person was released before formal charges were filed.
- All required fines or restitution have been paid in full.
- All diversion programs, education programs, probation and community service requirements have been completed.
What is the Expungement Process?
Filing an application or petition is the first step to the expungement process. In Pennsylvania, this will include one of two different forms. For violations or infractions, use this form consistent with Criminal Procedure Code section 490. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you’ll use this form pursuant to Criminal Procedure Code 790.
You’ll work with your state’s probation department to prepare a report including a number of documents and information about your case to be presented in court. After you file, a hearing will be scheduled before a judge who will decide whether or not to grant the expungement request.
The expungement rules in Pennsylvania can be complicated, so it’s best to have an experienced legal team on your side to make sure you know what’s required of you during the process. For more information or to find out if your criminal record is eligible for expungement, contact our Philadelphia lawyers today.Read More
The holidays are the most joyful time of year; however, all the good cheer, great food and gift giving may be a distraction from the risks the season can also bring. Break-ins, porch pirates and pickpockets are more popular than ever this time of year as the hustle and bustle of the holidays can leave us vulnerable to thieves. While theft, robbery and burglary are often used interchangeably, they’re actually very different offenses when defined by Pennsylvania Law. We’ll explain the differences between theft, robbery and burglary in Pennsylvania and the possible penalties they involve.
As one of the most commonly committed crimes in the country, theft is known by a number of different titles; larceny, petty theft, grand theft and more depending on various states. This crime is defined as taking someone else’s property without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its use or possession. Theft can be committed in a few different ways, including the use of deception, extortion or wrongfully carrying something away.
Theft can pertain to the taking of both tangible property, such as money, physical goods or other objects you can transport or move, or intangible property, including services, utilities or valuable information. Since theft does not involve interaction with the victim, it is almost always classified as a “property crime.”
While often referred to as “theft plus,” robbery is always a felony, or “violent crime,” due to an additional element that involves force, assault or the physical removal of property from another person. If at any time during the theft, the victim is threatened, in fear of harm, forced to remove the property, injured in any way, the crime is considered a robbery.
Each of these additional factors can impact the severity of the punishment. For example, if the robbery involves serious bodily harm to the victim, it’s considered a first degree felony which can be punishable by more than 10 years in prison. If there are no threats or harm as a result of taking the property, the crime is a third degree robbery with a maximum sentence of seven years prison time.
Other factors can also influence the conviction of the crime. When drugs or controlled substances are the goal of the robbery, it’s automatically a first degree offense, while the use of a gun during the robbery requires a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in jail.
The crime of burglary is closely related to that of robbery without the act or threat of harm to the victim. Instead, burglary specifically involves entering a building or piece of property with the intent to commit a crime inside. You can be convicted of burglary even without taking anything, since the crime focuses on the violation of someone else’s home or property based on the intent to commit another crime. And because of how this stature is specifically defined, a burglary crime may also include trespassing with the intent to commit murder, rape, theft, robbery or other offenses as well.
Burglary can be classified in the following ways:
– Object of the crime is to obtain drugs
– Building is a home or someone is present inside at the time of the crime
– The building entered is not a home and no one is present at the time of the crime
– A break in occurs without the intent to commit a crime inside (considered criminal trespass)
– A building is entered without break-in and without the intent to commit a crime (considered third degree criminal trespass)
Reversely, there are three primary defenses to burglary, which include if the building was abandoned, open to the public or the person was “licensed or privileged” to enter.
If you’re seeking legal advice about theft, robbery and burglary or want more information about the classifications and punishments of each crime in Pennsylvania, contact us to meet with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys today.Read More
With the joy and excitement of the holiday season also comes feelings of stress and irritability. With both the good or bad, these heightened emotions can cause people to act more rashly or take more risks than normal. While we all wish for a season that’s calm and bright, accidents and conflicts do happen, and November and December, we see an uptick in the number of crimes committed before the New Year. Here are some of the most common crimes around the holidays.
Theft and Burglary
Topping the list of crimes during the holidays is theft. While it may be the season to be grateful for the things we have, it’s also a time to celebrate getting new things. More than ever, we’re making big purchases and spending money on new electronics, appliances and other expensive items. This mentality makes delivery trucks full of packages all too appealing to burglars this time of year, while crowded malls make hurried and distracted shoppers easy targets.
The penalties for shoplifting and other types of burglary depend on the value of the items stolen. Even items less than $150 are a summary offense with up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. High-value items of over $2,000 are considered a third-degree felony which can land you 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine; quite possibly costing you much more than the item you actually stole.
Far too often people forget about this very common holiday offense, which may be why every year more and more people are hurt, killed or convicted for DUIs. The holidays are a time of celebrating, so from office parties to cookie exchanges, the number of drunk drivers double during this season. A few sips of eggnog or mulled wine at a holiday party is enough reason to hand over the keys, and let someone else drive. In addition to the risk of hurting yourself and someone else, that drink can result in fines, license suspension, probation, and jail time, which is a sure way to ruin the holiday season for you and your family.
Online shopping continues to increase in popularity each year, and it’s reported that this year’s online holiday sales have already topped $123.73 billion. With so many people trusting their most personal information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank accounts and more, we’re more vulnerable than ever. It’s the unfortunate risk we take in exchange for the convenience of getting all of our holiday shopping complete without ever leaving the couch. And as our uses for technology increase, so do the ways in which hackers can make their move, so it’s no surprise credit card and identity theft could be more prevalent than ever this season.
Credit Card/Identity Theft
And while we speaking of identity theft, it’s important to note that technology isn’t the only cause to blame. Even in crowded malls and shopping centers, scammers are looking for any way to get ahead, including stealing personal information as people open their wallets and pocketbooks to purchase gifts or donate to charity. There are a number of ways in which credit card theft can happen, so shoppers should be alert at all times.
A first offense for identity theft in Pennsylvania can result in as many as 5 years in prison or a $10,000 fine, while the amount of money involved in the crime could increase the severity of the punishment even further.
The best part about online shopping is having your purchases delivered right to your door. So as online ordering increases, so do unattended packages left on porches all over the neighborhood. These deliveries make it all too easy for a specific type of burglar, known as a porch pirate, to steals recently delivered packages before owners can claim them.
If you find yourself on the wrong end of a crime this season, don’t let the accusations or sentence ruin your holiday. Contact our experienced defense lawyers to make sure you have the representation you need to prevent a wrongful conviction or harsh punishments you don’t deserve.Read More
Being arrested is one of the most stressful situations a person can experience. Not only is it an embarrassing process, but can also lead to an array of subsequent consequences in your work and personal life. And even if your charges are eventually dismissed due to insufficient evidence or a not guilty verdict, you may still not feel complete relief. Will these dismissed charges show up on my record and background checks? Will they affect my ability to get a job? Can I get them removed?
If you were arrested or charged of a crime, but didn’t end up getting convicted, you may be asking yourself these questions. As one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Philadelphia, we have your answers. Here’s what you need to know about the impact of a dismissed case on your criminal record.
The Making of a Criminal Record
When you’re arrested, the first record created and shared between police departments is the fact of your arrest. This information is most commonly known as a RAP sheet, or Record for Arrests and Prosecutions, and can show up on some background checks.
A criminal record is then created as soon as you are taken to court, noting information such as your arraignment, the charges and any other court appearances that follow. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to prevent a criminal record and any formal charges before your arraignment by working a deal with the prosecutor. As your best case, it’s essential that you contact an experienced defense attorney to act quickly.
If you do end up charged in court, you’ll still have a court record even if the case is later dismissed. This report will indicate that you were charged and taken to court, but were not convicted.
The Effects of a Dismissed Charge
The good news is that most employers will specifically phrase criminal history questions as “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” This is because a conviction is proof of quilt under Pennsylvania law. Even if you have been arrested or charge, a dismissal supports the fact that there was not enough evidence to prove you guilty of the crime, and many employers do recognize the difference.
To put it simply, the question of whether or not a dismissed charge will show up on a background check isn’t quite clear cut. Chances are both not guilty verdicts and dismissals will show up on your criminal record, but there is a difference between cases that become charges and appear in a criminal trial verses arrests that never lead to any formal charges. And of course, the effect this information will have on future job opportunities depends on the individual employer, so it’s best to be prepared on how to handle the conversation if it arises.
If your court case has already been dismissed and you want to see if you’re eligible for an expungement, or the removal of any past criminal charges from your record, our experienced defense attorneys can help get you the answers you need in just one phone call. Contact our law offices to discuss your specific case and take action today.Read More