One of the common invaluable pieces of information that could be included in a particular arrest report, is whether or not the particular charges were brought to conviction or dismissal status. While almost any defendant hopes for their criminal charges to be discharged, whether or not they actually are, rests wholly upon a variety of legal factors. When it comes to getting criminal allegations discharged, there are only a couple of reasons that the judge and/or prosecution might choose to do so. In the following discussion, we examine the nature of discharged indictments more closely, as what defines them, what are the possible reasons for a dismissal, as well as how this relates to a potential offender’s criminal record and a background check that could ensue.
When criminal allegations are dismissed, it is by the will of the judge or court overseeing the criminal case in which the potential offender stands. The ability for this to happen can occur anytime after the arrest and up until the conviction of the defendant. While discharged indictments are somewhat common as a means of separating significant cases from those unworthy of a trial, as well as those improperly processed from those which were processed legally, the majority of offenses brought up for conviction will not be discharged unless one of two factors are present, as discussed below.
The first of the two most common reasons that a judge may dismiss criminal allegations initially brought against a defendant is if there was something legally unsound about either the process of the arrest or the criminal accusations themselves. There may be many times in which a private or legal entity decides to bring an indictment against a particular individual, and either there is not enough proof, or they are not arrested in the legal process of the law-such as in the case in which the defendant is interrogated with being made aware of or able to call upon their Miranda Rights. In either of these related reasons, the indictment can be dismissed.
The second of the possible reasons why there may be a dismissal of charges is if the judge decides that the defendant is, in fact, guilty of the allegations brought against him/her; but because either the nature of the case or the mild criminal history of the defendant, the judge decides to, instead of keeping the indictment filed to stand conviction, dismiss the allegations and offer alternative sentencing. This type of alternative sentencing can come in a variety of forms such as a fine, community service, education classes, probation, etc.
When it comes to a dismissal of accusations, there are two entities that can dismiss an indictment: one is the judge overseeing the case, and the other is the prosecution-whether a private party with legal counsel or representation of the state, district, or local law enforcement. While it is the ultimate decision of the judge whether or not a set of allegations is discharged against a potential offender, the prosecution and/or the defendant has the right to ask for the judge’s ruling of discharged allegations in any case; but of course, should have a specific and compelling reason to do so.
Now, in relation to a defendant’s criminal record and history, how do allegations that have been discharged present themselves and relate to the information available to the public? While charges dismissed are much less serious in nature than those that are formally filed and prosecuted, they are still present on a person’s criminal record, as discharged allegations. It will show up what the criminal indictment was in nature and why they were discharged by the judge overseeing the criminal case or the prosecution pressing the original accusation. When indictments are discharged in the criminal legal system, the defendant is not found guilty or not guilty-the allegations are just discharged for one of the reasons listed above. The only way in which discharged allegations can be absent from a defendant’s criminal record after having received them as such, is if the record is expunged. While getting this sort of criminal record expunged is an option, it does need an acceptable reason for doing so, and is not necessarily easy or commonly successful. This said, depending on the nature of your criminal records search, there are ways in which criminal records can be accessible to you, and ways in which they are restricted according to federal statute and state regulation. A good example of federal statute limitations is how an entity asks a past defendant if they have been charged with a crime or if they ask if they have been convicted.