We did a background check on an individual and found this person had a criminal record. This person said it was “dismissed.” In order to clarify this we had to go to the County Records Center (Achieves) in Los Angeles. The certified records did not indicate this criminal record was dismissed.
Can a criminal record be accessed even if it was dismissed? Can I assume this record was not dismissed?
NO, you cannot assume it was not dismissed. You, like many others, fail to understand the workings of Penal Code section 1203.4. Begin by reading the entire section. The file is neither destroyed nor sealed, but if the PC1203.4 motion was granted (often wrongly called "expunged"), the case is considered "dismissed."
SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY--20 years experience
A dismissal always shows in the record whether it was an early dismissal after filing or the result of a conviction and a successful 1203.4 motion.
Yes. A criminal record can be accessed even if the charges were dismissed. And no, you should not assume the record was not dismissed. The dismissals will appear on the record.
The answers provided do not constitute comprehensive legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship.
It depends on what you mean by a "criminal record". Assuming a case was not sealed (and we are not talking about juvenile records), there should be a file in the court's business office of any case that the local prosecuting agency has filed charges. A review of that file should indicate what happened to resolve the case, including whether it was dismissed by expungement or whatever reason. I do not think anyone should assume anything about the outcome of a court case.
Of course it can be accessed so long as the case is not too old. After a certain amount of time very old cases get destroyed. Even if a case was dismissed pursuant to 1203.4 there is still going to be a trail of some sort.
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