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PC 1385 and reasons for dismissal in a criminal case

San Jose, CA |

A person facing misdaemenour charges for a violent crime
1. Scenario 1: DA dismisses the case after sometime due to insufficient evidence
2. Scenario 2: DA dismisses the case after the person completed some sort of diversion. The person never signed a plea of guilty documents

Are both scenarios going to fall under PC 1385. Will there be a reason for dismissal that will pop up in background checks or how easy it is for someone to see the reason for dismissal? If the California PC is different in both scenarios then it is easy to guess why the case was dismissed.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

It is not clear from this post what it is you need to know and in what context. But I offer this info: the most useful kind of dismissal in my view is pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 in the interests of justice. There is California case law authority which holds that dismissal on this ground "had same effect as if Deft had never been charged or prosecuted..." And: "… dismissal in furtherance of justice of the charge underlying a prior conviction operates, as a matter of law, to erase the prior conviction as if the Deft had never suffered the conviction in the initial instance. … The deft stands as if he had never been prosecuted for the alleged offense."

Peo. v. Barrro, 2001, 93 CA4th 62
Peo v Carrasco, 2008, 163 CA 4th 978

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Asker

Posted

thank you. Maybe let me clarify my question. In the second scenario, the charge was dismissed after taking classes. Hence will the reason for dismissal still be 1385. If it will still be 1385, will it say apart from usual language that dismissed due to completion of diversion, etc?

Posted

I think you posted this question already. However, both dismissals under PC Section 1385 will show up on a rap sheet as the same, other than the fact that one dismissal will be "in the interest of justice" and the other is "insufficent evidence." It makes little difference, in most contexts which of the two dismissals happened. his question is probably better answered with more detail. It may depend on whom is doing the background check and for what reason.

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Posted

Dismissals, expungements, and even sealing of juvenile records do not make them "disappear" as if they never happened. Depending on the circumstances certain parties can still find out about these. In these days of the internet where every detail of your life is on file somewhere whether you want it or not, a determined employer (or pretty much anyone else) could find out what you ate for breakfast yesterday if they really wanted to. The question you must ask yourself is: Would you really want to work for an employer who is concerned about a criminal charge that never resulted in a conviction?

The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.

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Posted

Technically speaking when the DA voluntarily dismisses a case it is always under PC 1385 "in the interests of justice" and they do not have to state their specific reasons. The only thing that will show on a background check when the DA dismisses is just that: "Dismissed PC 1385 interests of justice". However, when the judge dismisses a case under PC 1385, the court minutes must reflect the court's reasons and case law guides the courts on what factors are legit in exercising this great discretion. But, when the court dismisses PC 1385, the background check will likely only show the same as above: "dismissed PC 1385 in the interests of justice". In order for someone to really find out the reasons, then that person should order the transcripts of the court proceedings.

Answers posted herein should not be construed as legal advice. Legal advice will only be given after a consultation wherein the attorney can ask follow up questions and obtain all necessary information about your circumstances.

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Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

Agreed. In fact, for maximum benefit, the defense counsel should make a specific request of the court to enter the statutory language for the dismissal and the factual basis for it in the minutes -- and often it will be necessary to come back to court with a written request and even a draft of proposed language for the court to enter in the minutes.

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