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    Question Dismissed Case Question.

    Here's the thing. I was arrested for posession of a weapon and after going to court the judge "dismissed" my case. My question is this: If the case is dismissed, does it mean that I'm still considered guilty of those charges? Even though the case was dismissed, technically, I was never found "innocent" because there was no trial.

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    It means that the charges against you were dropped and you are no longer being prosecuted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NE75 View Post
    It means that the charges against you were dropped and you are no longer being prosecuted.
    That I understand, but it still remains in my records. Even if they're dropped, it still doesn't mean that I was not guilty of what the officers arrested me for. Correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER_LA View Post
    That I understand, but it still remains in my records. Even if they're dropped, it still doesn't mean that I was not guilty of what the officers arrested me for. Correct?
    Incorrect:
    When someone runs an NCIC on you, it gives a summary arrests vs convictions.
    It also lists the charges, jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.
    The arrest will still show up, unless you get it expunged. It will not show up as a conviction. Some employers ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime. Most now ask if you have ever been arrested for anything more than a traffic offense.

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    I see what you guys are saying, but the question remains: Am I considered "innocent" or guilty in this situation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER_LA View Post
    I see what you guys are saying, but the question remains: Am I considered "innocent" or guilty in this situation?
    In the eyes of the legal system you are innocent until proven guilty. Since there was no opportunity to prove you guilty (the state apparently had no vested interest in doing so), you are therefore still innocent.

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    I guess that makes sense. The problem is that I had to spend $5300 to prove my innosence (after all that I still didn't get a chance to have some fun in court)

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    Guess you shouldn't have paid $5300 if you wanted to "have some fun" in court.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bing_Oh View Post
    Guess you shouldn't have paid $5300 if you wanted to "have some fun" in court.
    HAHA.... Unfortunately I had to pay that regardless to avoid having "fun" in prison.

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    Why was it dismissed?

    By spending $5K on this case I'm assuming you had an attorney. Ask your attorney why the case was dismissed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER_LA View Post
    Here's the thing. I was arrested for posession of a weapon and after going to court the judge "dismissed" my case. My question is this: If the case is dismissed, does it mean that I'm still considered guilty of those charges? Even though the case was dismissed, technically, I was never found "innocent" because there was no trial.
    Is this a new standard our justice system is using now? Are you aware that because you are already innocent until proven guilty, the fact that you weren't found guilty means that you are in fact innocent?

    As for your record, I would try to get that expunged. Don't know about CA, but here in NJ you can have any arrest expunged where it did not result in a conviction. Although it won't shield you from LE, other potential employers or landlords will not find out.
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    You're not guilty. If you paid for an attorney, ask him/her to get the record expunged and put the cost toward what you've already paid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticAlways View Post
    Why was it dismissed?

    By spending $5K on this case I'm assuming you had an attorney. Ask your attorney why the case was dismissed.
    You're right, I did have an attorney. Apparently a pretty damn good one. Two weeks after the charges were filed, a month before pre-trial he spoke with the D.A. / C.A. and this is why it was dropped, "Cops tried to add up as many violations as they could, but because of their lack of knowledge of the legal system, they couldn't provide D.A. with enough material to build a case, so they had no choice but to drop all charges." he told me.

    Thanks for the advice, I'll contact my attorney and hopefully he could help me get this case expunged from my record.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ex Army MP View Post
    Is this a new standard our justice system is using now? Are you aware that because you are already innocent until proven guilty, the fact that you weren't found guilty means that you are in fact innocent?

    As for your record, I would try to get that expunged. Don't know about CA, but here in NJ you can have any arrest expunged where it did not result in a conviction. Although it won't shield you from LE, other potential employers or landlords will not find out.

    As confusing as that sounds, I know what you mean. It's just difficult to think that you're innocent if after you're accused, you end up in jail, and the only way to get out until court is to post couple of grand for bail, and have to spend sooo much money for someone to tell the DA what your wanna say, only because you don't speak their language. And after all that have the case thrown out. Such a waste. Oh well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER_LA View Post
    As confusing as that sounds, I know what you mean. It's just difficult to think that you're innocent if after you're accused, you end up in jail, and the only way to get out until court is to post couple of grand for bail, and have to spend sooo much money for someone to tell the DA what your wanna say, only because you don't speak their language. And after all that have the case thrown out. Such a waste. Oh well.
    Poor guy. You really seem to be on the wrong end of all these "misunderstandings". All those cops going off all half cocked not understanding the law and everything. I guess I'm just lucky that that I never once in my life had a "misunderstanding" with the police.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER_LA View Post
    You're right, I did have an attorney. Apparently a pretty damn good one. Two weeks after the charges were filed, a month before pre-trial he spoke with the D.A. / C.A. and this is why it was dropped, "Cops tried to add up as many violations as they could, but because of their lack of knowledge of the legal system, they couldn't provide D.A. with enough material to build a case, so they had no choice but to drop all charges." he told me.

    Thanks for the advice, I'll contact my attorney and hopefully he could help me get this case expunged from my record.

    Also ask your attorney for a copy of the police report / complaint / affidavit. Scan those into your PC and post it on the board (redacted of course). I'm curious as to how the officers documented this incident / articulated their probable cause.

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    Originally Posted by Ex Army MP View Post
    Is this a new standard our justice system is using now? Are you aware that because you are already innocent until proven guilty, the fact that you weren't found guilty means that you are in fact innocent?

    I repeatedly hear people assert that as a matter of fact, if someone is not found guilty then he is innocent. Failure to file charges, a dismissal of charges or even an acquittal only means that for legal purposes, the person considered not to be guilty. Generally, unless the charges were dismissed after a trial commenced, the accused can be prosecuted again. There are cases in which someone is arrested, charges are voluntarily dismissed, and then refiled, with the person being convicted.

    Although a convition establishes guilt for criminal and civil purposes, the converse is not true. OJ was acquitted, yet a civil jury found that he committed murder.

    If someone commits murder followed by suicide, he will never be prosecuted and therefore is considered not; nonetheless, in the orddinary sense of the word, he is guilty. If a person goes to trial, is found guilty and dies before the imposition of sentence, he is considered not guilty. If you are speeding but you do not get caught or do not get a ticket, you still were speeding.

    Getting back to the question, law enforcement employers will ask whether you were arrested. They also will ask about your prior interactions with law enforcement officers. They will go back and look into the circumstances. Private employers generally are not permitted to inquire about arrests, only convictions.
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    There is one more consideration. If your charge(s) was dismissed "with prejudice" the State is precluded from trying you on that particular charge again. Most dismissals are "without prejudice" which means the District Attorney can refile the charges on you. Will he? As a practical matter probably not. A word of caution on "expungement" Should you apply to a law enforcement agency, there is really no such thing as an expungement. Background Investigators routinely access records which were expunged.

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    Bouncer,

    Something to consider....the court that my station had to deal with would dismiss 40-50 percent of all cases submitted. If it was not a 'slam-dunk' case, the DA didnt want to spend the resources to take it to trial.

    In your case, since the case was dismissed, you are by definition 'not guilty'....learn from the incident, and move on

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    A finding of "Not Guilty" after a trial does not mean the defendant is "innocent".... it simply means the People were not able to meet the burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If not guilty = innocent then civil cases against acquitted defendants could never be brought.

    In New York, except for law enforcement jobs and some financial positions, wmployers cannot ask if you've ever been arrested, only if you've ever been convicted of a crime.

    When a charge is dismissed you go to the status you had before you were charged.
    Last edited by Dinosaur32; 01-13-2008 at 06:41 PM. Reason: Thanks to DAL for pointing out a goof.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAL View Post
    Although a convition establishes guilt for criminal and civil purposes, the converse is not true. OJ was acquitted, yet a civil jury found that he committed murder.
    I thought the civil jury found OJ "liable for their deaths"????
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    Quote Originally Posted by saranac View Post
    Are you guilty?
    Absolutely, Positively, NO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticAlways View Post
    Also ask your attorney for a copy of the police report / complaint / affidavit. Scan those into your PC and post it on the board (redacted of course). I'm curious as to how the officers documented this incident / articulated their probable cause.
    I'll try. But one thing. What do you mean by "redacted"? (Also, keep in mind, that's not everything in the report exactly as the officers say it! *but that's just according to the way I remember it*)

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    Am closing this thread. We're getting into an area where we're offering legal advice and none of us is an attorney. If we are, then we aren't supposed to be replying to questions asked in the Ask A Cop section.

    Bouncer: Get it expunged. If you need help with that, ask your attorney. For everything you paid him just for the case to be dismissed, he OWES you.

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