I have an arrest from about a decade ago for a petty crime. I was taken to a local jail given a court case and released. I went in front of the prosecutor and have no idea what actually happened to my case. I had to do a few days of community service. A few years ago I needed the record for some personal filing information and but the court where my case was did not have my record. They gave me a docket number and had me pick it up from Records Center. The thing is what I received does not say what the disposition was. I called the local court where my case was and was told that there is no public record of my arrest. They said it was either nullied, dismissed, acquital or records were erased. I have no idea what's going on. Does anyone have any experience with this?

  • Without specifying for what purpose the information is needed or more exactly explaining what information is needed, it is not possible to answer this question. – Cicero Jan 12 '17 at 19:01
  • @cicero I asked the question because me, myself and I want to know what happened to it. – BobSki Jan 12 '17 at 19:24
  • If the court does not have the record, then it means they threw it out. Judges do it all the time, they just throw old case records in the trash. – Cicero Jan 12 '17 at 19:25
  • @cicero yes i know. My question was what happened to the case? My charge is cannot be found anywhere on the internet - so upon contacting clerk's office at the local court - they informed me that my case is not a public record - for one of the three reasons - erased,dismissed, or nollied. In this case it was dismissed – BobSki Jan 12 '17 at 19:28
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    In some cases the court record is just a single sheet of paper that has a summary of the charges and evidence. If they threw it out, then there is no record of the case anymore. They know it is dismissed because they have a ledger of the disposition of all the cases. – Cicero Jan 12 '17 at 19:34

If your case was nullified, that means you went to court, and the court decided to act as if your case never happened. It just hasn't happened.

If your case was dismissed, that means the court said there was no reasonable evidence to prosecute you. That's one better than "not guilty". The judge said he doesn't even see a need to check whether you are guilty.

Since you did a few days of community service, the first two possibilities seem unlikely. If the case was nullified or dismissed, you wouldn't have done community service.

So it's the third: The case is sealed. You were probably quite young at the time, and the crime was minimal, so the court decided that nobody is supposed to find out about it, so you won't have problems finding a job, and so on. If someone asks if you were convicted for a crime, you can say "no". It would be very, very hard for anyone to find out about the conviction, and then they would most likely not be allowed to tell anyone. (For example, the judge might remember you but wouldn't tell anyone about it).

Not only you can't find out anything about what happened, but nobody can. Apart from your community service, it's as if it had never happened.

PS. If someone knows under which conditions someone could find out about a sealed conviction, I'd be curious to know. Same if someone can say when a case would be nullified (instead of dismissed).

  • It was a misdemeanor (small theft crime, under $100). But I was definitely over 18 - closer to 20. I did the community service maybe as a punishment for doing it. I dont know. But I know there's a record of it because like i said i have a docket number and I was given a sheet stating something about my records being erased or the court destroying court papers. Not sure – BobSki Jan 10 '17 at 18:14
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    The important thing for you is that you don't have any criminal record for this, and that means there is just no record. So the criminal system wants to treat you as if this matter never happened. – gnasher729 Jan 10 '17 at 18:23
  • Thank you. Also, and I apologize for continuing to comment - but the local gov't site tells me that if the case was SEALED, the clerk that I spoke to should have informed me about this, per this..."In the event of a file sealed by court order, the clerk may acknowledge the existence of such a file, but indicate it as being sealed." But they didn't say anything like that when I spoke on the phone. – BobSki Jan 10 '17 at 18:25
  • Last comment I promise - but what's the best way for me to find out exactly what it was? Certificate of disposition? – BobSki Jan 10 '17 at 18:30
  • Well i also found this..."Two of the most common ways to get a dismissal of your arrest for disorderly conduct, domestic violence, or any felony or misdemeanor arrest , is by getting a not guilty verdict at trial, or successfully completing a pretrial diversionary program. " Comments? – BobSki Jan 10 '17 at 20:30

Not True!!! Your arrest record will show on your FBI record as having no disposition...I am going through this nightmare myself! Worst yet, often times it is the accused that is required to submit proof of dismissal. If you ever have to take an FBI background check (usually if working with children or healthcare field) they may think that the case is still open so you should request your FBI record to see if the disposition is on it. If so that will solve your problem and you will have it on record...there is a 50/50 chance though as close to half of all FBI arrest records have wrong or missing disposition information on them...frustrating. If its missing on the FBI record you might consider getting your arrest record expunged if it's going to affect your employment. It won't leave your record, it will show expunged but its better than just showing as an open case!

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