Interviewer: When a case gets dismissed does it completely come off someone’s record or?
There May Still Be a Record of the Arrest
Court: Well, yes and no. There will still be a record of the arrest in some cases. When you have a bureau of criminal investigation report, there will be two sorts of things that will show up. One of them is arrest and the other one is conviction.
You won’t be convicted obviously, so that will not appear on the report. But in certain agencies and certain reports that are catalogued the arrest will show. It can be expunged or taken off of your record but it will, if you don’t do anything about it, it will still show the arrest.
How Can You Expunge Your Record?
Interviewer: Let’s say someone has a paraphernalia charge and they don’t want that on their record when they are applying for jobs and employers are doing background searches. What are the steps that they need to take in order to have it taken off their record?
Court: There is a statute that states how long you have to wait before you can get your record expunged; it’s called expungement of the record. The time period that you have to wait is different depending on what an offense it is.
You Have to Wait a Required Time Period before Applying for an Expungement
Usually, it’s shorter for misdemeanors and longer for felonies. If you’ve got a class-C it’s not a very long wait at all, if you have a class-A misdemeanor it might be a couple of years or more that you have to wait. After that time period is up you are then eligible to have it expunged.
You make a motion to the court to have the record expunged and acquire some paperwork and some certificates that attest you have waited an appropriate time period. Then the prosecutor will have a chance to object to the expungement and if they don’t then you can get the record expunged.
It’s really common and in almost all cases there are no objections to it from the prosecutor. There are many people doing it and that can really help out with clearing your record and for things like school applications and job applications.
Paraphernalia Charges Are Less Serious than Possession Charges
Interviewer: About the paraphernalia, is that considered a misdemeanor or a felony; is that less serious than getting a possession charge?
Court: Yes, it’s usually a lesser degree. Paraphernalia charges are class-B misdemeanors but I think all the time, I’m not sure and I’ll look at the statute but I’m pretty sure it’s always a class-B misdemeanor. That can be better than a class-A misdemeanor or a felony.
Paraphernalia Charges Are Separate Charges; Many People Face Multiple Charges in One Arrest
The thing about paraphernalia charges is they add to the charges you are facing. Most of the times when somebody is charged with the crime, they are not charged with just one crime; they’re charged with every possible crime that the prosecutor can have probable cause to charge them with. If you’re found with some marijuana and a pipe what’s going to happen is you’re going to get a possession of marijuana charge and a paraphernalia charge.
The paraphernalia charge, often, is something that you can get dropped off with negotiations with the prosecutor to help you out because it is a less serious charge than the drug possession charge. It’s possible that you can receive a paraphernalia charge only but it’s pretty rare for someone to just have that one charge. A lot of the times, if you have a paraphernalia charge you’re looking at also a drug possession charge.