What to do if my job of 5 years is on the line due to a criminal offense that was supposed to be cleared from my record?

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What to do if my job of 5 years is on the line due to a criminal offense that was supposed to be cleared from my record?

About 6 years ago I was arrested for a Class C misdemeanor. I hired an attorney to represent me and she told me that she talked to the DA; they came up with a plea bargain and if I complied with its terms that it would be dropped to a ticket. So I did everything and she said it was not going to be on my record. Well I just got a promotion at my job and they did a background check; this past incident came up and now my job is on the line unless I can show them proof that I was right. But what I don’t understand is that my attorney lied to me and now I am suspended from work. I don’t know what to do and I have a family to support.

Asked on December 22, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

David West / West & Corvelli

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, if you entered a plea to a charge and the prosecutors said it would not show up on your record, this is probably not true.  In most states, you have a record based upon your arrest.  If you get a conviction it will show as guilty.  If it gets dismissed, it will say the charge was dismissed.  If it gets reduced, it will show the charge you actually pled to. It will not, in most circumstances, get erased or expunged as a result of some plea.

In most states, you can apply to have your arrest expunged with the agency that arrested you.  They will process your application and determine if you qualify for your arrest to be wiped off your record.  If your case was dropped or reduced and there is any record in the file that you were to be eligible for expungement then you may very well get one.  However, you are right to be disappointed with your lawyer because they should have told you at the end of your case how this charge would appear on your record and what, if anything, you needed to do to clear it off.

Luckily, a highly trained criminal defense attorney like myself can often come in, even years later, and help you to try and get this situation corrected - hopefully getting the charge finally removed from your record.  The time this takes depends on the state you live in - for instance in Georgia the process can be completed in 6-8 weeks.

Consult with a lawyer immediately and see if something can't be done to save your job.

David West

Attorney at Law

David West / David West & Associates

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, if you entered a plea to a charge and the prosecutors said it would not show up on your record, this is probably not true.  In most states, you have a record based upon your arrest.  If you get a conviction it will show as guilty.  If it gets dismissed, it will say the charge was dismissed.  If it gets reduced, it will show the charge you actually pled to. It will not, in most circumstances, get erased or expunged as a result of some plea.

In most states, you can apply to have your arrest expunged with the agency that arrested you.  They will process your application and determine if you qualify for your arrest to be wiped off your record.  If your case was dropped or reduced and there is any record in the file that you were to be eligible for expungement then you may very well get one.  However, you are right to be disappointed with your lawyer because they should have told you at the end of your case how this charge would appear on your record and what, if anything, you needed to do to clear it off.

Luckily, a highly trained criminal defense attorney like myself can often come in, even years later, and help you to try and get this situation corrected - hopefully getting the charge finally removed from your record.  The time this takes depends on the state you live in - for instance in Georgia the process can be completed in 6-8 weeks.

Consult with a lawyer immediately and see if something can't be done to save your job.

David West

Attorney at Law


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