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How do I get a dismissed federal criminal indictment sealed/ expunged and out of the public record

Tacoma, WA |

Indictment only with full dismissal Federal Court State of Washington. What do I need to get done to be able to legally say I have never been indicted of a crime. Dismissal is two years old. This is very material to being able to make a living in my profession.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    Actually, if you were the subject of an Indictment as you said, then you were Indicted by a Grand Jury.

    Nonetheless, if the charges were dismissed, then the record should be sealed. Since you didn't mention what type of profession, its difficult to discuss it further. However, I know of no profession that would bar you based soley upon an Indictment which is nothing more than a formalized charge of committing a crime. The Dismissal is what's important and what ulitimately counts.

    If your record has still not been sealed and the file closed, then write a letter to the Court clerk's office or directly to the court and ask that it be done. Or have your attorney do it for you.

  2. Ted is right. However, you should speak with your attorney about the status of your case. There is a contradiction in your question. You say that the indictment was dismissed but that you were never indicted, Ted assumes, as do I, that you meant you were not convicted. In that case, the record should be sealed.
    However, if you are correct that you were never indicted, then you may have confused the term indictment with a complaint. Both state criminal charges. The difference is that an indictment holds a defendant for trial unless dismissed. In contrast, a complaint is used as a basis for any arrest warrant and is effective for not more than thirty days unless some further action is taken. It is very common in federal practice for the government to use a complaint to arrest someone in order to bring him or her into the system and then dismiss the complaint within 30 days. The government can do this "without prejudice" meaning that it can go back to the grand jury anytime within the statute if limitations to get an indictment and restart the case. That may have happened in your case if you are correct that you were never indicted. Speak with your attorney. Good luck.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.

    Circular 230 Disclosure: Pursuant to U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, I am now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein. A taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

  3. You should sign up for PACER to check whether your case is in fact unsealed. Most indictments are filed under seal and not opened until arraignment. If the case is unsealed, hire counsel and have him move to seal the case under your District's local rules.

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