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As a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, I am often asked about the differences between expungements and dismissals. It’s not surprising that many people do not know the difference between the two, but are certainly intrigued when I tell them the difference in the results.

When a case is dismissed by a prosecutor or judged, that means that the decision has been made to drop the case. This most often happens when there is not enough evidence to convict, or when a person pays of their fine, completes community service, or something else along those lines. 

The major difference between expungements and dismissals is that when a case is dismissed, the crime that person committed could still show up on a background check or security clearance. Your criminal record will showed that you were indeed charged, but that the case was dismissed and that you were not convicted of any crimes.

An expungement is when all accounts of the crime for which you’ve been arrested are completely erased from the system. Any record trial is destroyed and employers cannot see anything about the arrest, or even know you were ever arrested.

Cases can be dismissed and expunged, but as long as an expungement is pending, the dismissal is still visible to potential employers.

If you have questions about expungements and dismissals, we may be able to help. If you’re not eligible for expungement, we may be able to help you determine your best options. Call the Pittsburgh Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson today for a free consultation at 412-219-6875 .

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