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If charges are dropped against someone, is there still a public record of this?

Home Forums Personal Security If charges are dropped against someone, is there still a public record of this?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Gaylord Fleming 6 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1328 Reply

    Maru Quevedo

    I have sort of a legal question, although anyone who feels like they have something constructive to add to this discussion is welcome to answer also.

    I understand that arrest records and that kind of thing are matters of public record, and that anyone really who goes looking for these things can find them. Also, if a case goes to trial, there are further records created and maintained. Some of this is public record, but a good deal of it is not from this point on. The ruling is usually (according to my limited understanding of the law) a matter of public record and this can be searched and found by anyone who really cares to look. But, my main question is what happens in the situation where the charges are dropped against someone?

    I mean, is there still a public record of the case, or does it go away? Also, if charges are dropped against someone, is there still a public record of this? Would something like this matter as to when the charges were dropped? For example, this result could have been due to a plea bargain, or the police (or prosecuting attorney) not feeling like they had enough of a case or enough evidence to get a conviction.

  • #1329 Reply


    Well, first of all, you are correct to the extent of most arrest records being a matter of public record. Generally anyone with a computer and the password to the records database (not hard to get) is able to see these records. Sometimes this information is even publicized and made directly available to the public. Of course, there are overly concerned privacy activists who do feel like having this information on the public record is a big problem and invasion of privacy.

    If a case goes to trial, then generally all of the parties involved do have a bit more rights in terms of keeping the details of their case from the public. The ruling is a matter of public record, although the ruling itself does not really tell a whole lot about the case itself.

    The question you asked is about the charges being dropped. I think the manner in which this will (or will not) appear on the public record depends on each individual jurisdiction. For example, if the charges are dropped before the case comes to trial, then chances are that the public record will still an arrest and subsequent charges dropped or dismissed. In other places, the dropping of the charges may result in an automatic not guilty resolution being noted in the file. However, either way, there is still likely to be an arrest record present.

    Someone who is in this situation, may be able to have their record cleaned at a later point in the future. Each state has their expungement process, which is generally what the process of cleaning items from a criminal record is called. This is generally the best way of ensuring a clean record.

  • #1330 Reply

    Gaylord Fleming

    Can I seek monetary damages? I was recently arrested and sat in jail for 33 hours and then made 3 trips to a district justice hearings, this cost me money and loss of wages. Can anyone comment on this?

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