Tampa, FL asked in Civil Rights for Florida

Q: Do you have to answer “yes” if a police officer asks you if you’ve ever been arrested if the prior charge was dismissed?

If you were arrested, but the charge was expunged / dismissed / or adjudication withheld, and then in the future a police officer pulls you over and asks you if you’ve ever been arrested, are you required to answer “yes”?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: No. The only thing you have to do is, if requested, show the officer your license, registration, and proof of insurance.

Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Not sure from your inquiry if your prior criminal case was expunged, which is far different than a dismissal or a withhold of adjudication. If expunged (and the expungement process is totally complete), and that is the only charge in your life, then you can deny having any prior charge because expungement (a/k/a expunction) means the charge is a nullity, as if it never existed (with certain exceptions under the law, such as if you were applying for employment as a police officer). A disposal of the charge in any way that does not result in an expungement is permanently of record and cannot be denied.

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