Once you’ve been arrested, your name is in the criminal justice system. Most people worry that this means that they are going to end up with a permanent criminal record no matter what. Some people even assume this means that they should simply plead guilty to minor charges in hopes of avoiding jail time. Too often, we see people give up before ever speaking with a lawyer. Unfortunately, being charged with a crime doesn’t always mean getting a criminal record, so these people end up with a criminal record for no good reason— a problem that can follow them for the rest of their lives.
You see, the U.S. Constitution ensures that we are innocent until proven guilty. That means that just because law enforcement has enough evidence to arrest you, they don’t necessarily have enough evidence to convict you. With the advice of a qualified Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to get a plea deal that doesn’t include a formal conviction, allowing you to get the charge expunged. Under the right circumstances, your attorney may even get the charges dropped entirely.
3 Ways to Keep a Clean Criminal Record After Being Charged
There are three basic ways that your attorney can keep you from getting a criminal record after being charged with a crime.
- A dismissal of all charges: After investigating the charges and getting illegally obtained evidence excluded, your attorney will demonstrate that there is not enough evidence against you to bring the case to trial. Once the charges are formally dismissed, you are free to move on.
- A plea deal with adjudication of guilt withheld: Sometimes your attorney can work out a plea deal with the prosecution that allows you to accept some punishment for the crime in exchange for charges that are not formally adjudicated guilty, which means that legally, you have never been convicted.
- A not guilty verdict: If a case goes to trial, a successful strategy can establish reasonable doubt that you committed the crime and get you a not guilty verdict—which means that you are prevented from ever being accused of that crime again and you can honestly say you were not convicted.
After any of these outcomes, the charges can be expunged, which means that legally it’s like you were never charged or arrested for a crime. No evidence of the charges will show up if a potential employer or another person pulls your criminal record, and you can honestly answer no when asked if you were ever arrested. Your record stays clean, and you never have to worry about the consequences of having a criminal record due to the charges.
In order to take advantage of these outcomes and have a better chance at avoiding a criminal record, however, you must have experienced legal advice and a solid defense. At Luftman, Heck, and Associates, our Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer has years of experience building legal strategies and getting successful outcomes for our clients. We will fight for your rights and won’t give up on you. Call us today at for a free consultation on your case to find out how we can help.