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Was I charged or convicted if my case was dismissed?

Sacramento, CA |

I was arrested & charged with a misdemeanor for check fraud. I wanted to go to trial and dispute it because it involved another person who basically "hoodwinked" me. Our case was separated but my PD told me going to trial would be an uphill battle. I had to think about how often I would be off work. Being that it was a "first time offense," my PD said he would try for a DEJ. I got a DEJ and was told to plead no contest. I paid restitution, took 4 classes on theft and after the last court date, the case was dismissed. I'm not sure what this means. If I apply for a job and is asked on an application if I was ever charged or convicted, do I check yes? Was I charged or convicted if my case was dismissed? I'm concerned about applying for jobs. I really wished I fought this now.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. If your case was dismissed, that means you were not convicted. However, you are still considered charged. The difference is significant. A dismissal is the same as being found not guilty at trial. It means that you did not commit a crime. Sometimes, jobs now require applicants to disclose if they were charged with a crime even if there wasn't a conviction. There is a remedy, however. You can petition the court to expunge your record. An expungement means the record is cleared. If an employer (other than police, government, and security) look up your record, it will not show that you were charged. To look into expunging your record, contact an attorney in your area or look at your state's self-help forms for instructions on expunging yourself. For more information, contact

  2. I would have to disagree with Mr. Glassman in almost every respect. In your case, you were charged, convicted, and then the case was dismissed. This is not at all the same as an acquittal and it does not mean that you did not commit a crime. There is no such thing as expungement in California and in California, it is illegal for a prospective employer to ask you about crimes that you were charged with and not convicted.

    What's relevant to you is that no job application should ask you about crimes that you were charged with, but not convicted. If they do, contact an employment attorney. Also, even though you were convicted and then the case was dismissed, because you did DEJ, you may legally answer "no" on any job application that asks if you have been convicted of a crime. However, because many employers these days do private background checks, they will likely see that you were charged and convicted of the misdemeanor and that the conviction was subsequently dismissed. You will then have to explain your circumstances, that the answer you gave was legally correct, and that it is illegal for them to make adverse employment decisions based on a dismissed conviction.

    I hope this answers your question. Good Luck.

  3. Mr. Pullman is absolutely correct. Disregard the other post completely. California does not have expungements and you were convicted.

    Mr. Pullman is also correct about the employment information. You can answer no to a question regarding a conviction and they cannot ask about arrests.

  4. Please note that the very sound advice given by the California attorneys here does not apply with respect to any work for which a California State license is required. California State professional and occupational license applications -- and applications for work under such State licenses -- variously ask whether the applicant has ever been arrested, charged, or convicted of any crime at any time in any place -- whether or not the crime was ultimately dismissed, expunged, set side, deferred, etc. These disclosure demands are explicitly allowed by California statute.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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