Florence, SC asked in Criminal Law, Gov & Administrative Law and White Collar Crime for South Carolina

Q: If a case was dismissed am I a convicted felon

I'm applying for an insurance license n I have a dismissed case. Legally what should I do

1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Hajarizadeh
Michael Hajarizadeh

A: I am an attorney in Oregon so keep in mind that SC law is likely different there. First, there may be a difference on what you need to and can do depending on what occurred in your case. Most legal matters are fact specific. For instance, if the prosecutor brought charges against you and then later decided that you a) didn't do it, b) they didn't have enough evidence to proceed and ultimately dismissed the case without proceeding then you would not have a conviction, as you never plead guilty to a charge, nor were you sentenced. Another example would be if you made some sort of deal with the prosecutor and plead guilty and had your sentencing set over a period of time in order to complete some task (usually treatment, or some sort of rehabilitation supervised by some organization), after completion of that task and a period of time the prosecutor made a motion in the court to dismiss your case. That would mean you plead guilty to a crime, but the case was later dismissed and you weren't sentenced. In these two instances you would not be convicted of a crime (the sentencing phase) but in one of them you would have plead guilty to something that was later dismissed.

Depending on how the question on your application is phrased determines how you could answer. In a industry like law or insurance or anything where their are ethical obligations if you are unsure it is often better to over disclose so that you are seen as above board and the agency certifying you doesn't find out that you were trying to hide something.

Additionally depending on the length of time since your "dismissal' and your post and prior criminal history you may be eligible to apply for an expungement or "set aside" which could seal the arrest and court record for the dismissed case.

I hope that helps, remember, I practice in Oregon and not in SC and it could be helpful to visit with an attorney for even just a 30 minute consult if the stakes are high for you.

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