Can Dropped Charges Show Up on Your Criminal Record?

On many occasions, minor legal charges (like shoplifting, possession of cannabis, or speeding) qualify for dismissal. Nonetheless, once the charges are dismissed, the arrest itself still has certain ramifications. If you have a criminal record, it might impact career opportunities open to you. Likewise, your access to housing, student loans, your participation in civic duties, and government benefits could be restricted. As far as criminal records go, it is vital to grasp the concepts of expungement and dismissal.


There are numerous reasons why legal charges might be dismissed in American courts. Someone accused of several crimes could arrange a plea deal with the Office of the District Attorney. Under such a deal, multiple charges might be dropped.

Lawyers like Chicago Trusted Attorneys can often get legal charges dismissed if a witness does not turn up to court or if evidence is misplaced or withheld from a jury due to a suppression clause. Furthermore, people who are accused of some crimes can qualify for deferred prosecutions.


Irrespective of how your legal charges are dropped, your criminal record will usually highlight each time you have been placed under arrest—whether you were convicted, or not. In many states, if you are accused of a crime and the case against you is dropped, you can apply to the county court to have the official entries and records linked to your arrest expunged.

If your application is approved, it would mean that your dismissed charges will be taken off your official criminal record. People seeking expungement cannot be convicted felons and will likely have to pay a filing charge.

You cannot get rid of your criminal history completely with expungement, but it does make it private in many circumstances. After your case details are expunged, the relevant paperwork and computer records held by the authorities—including photos and fingerprints—are seized and put into secure storage.

If officials are subsequently asked about your criminal history, they must reply that no such information exists. This process can stop landlords, employers, and other people from finding out about your past misdemeanors using official record background checks. Moreover, if you are questioned about your criminal record during a housing or job application, you are permitted to claim that you have no previous arrests or convictions.


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