Interviewer: If someone had a domestic violence case and they got it dismissed, would that stop them from being hired?
Gary Churak: Yes, it’s still on their record. The way the system works is basically once you are arrested it goes on the computer and it goes to FBI. It goes to DPS. It goes to the local authorities and it shows the arrest. It also will show the court proceedings.
Even though it may say it was dismissed, it’ll still show that you were arrested on your record. For people that are looking for jobs and other things, the fact that they have an arrest on their record is detrimental to them even though the case was dismissed.
There are many tools I can incorporate into a defense and I have been successful and I do handle many cases because I had a fairly good record. I have a fairly good record and I can get anything to stop a case as dismissed.
For 10 years I had not a plea, every case was dismissed. What we do is once the case is dismissed and the statute of limitations has run, which is 2 years, we go ahead and file an expungement to make sure that it is off the record.
Interviewer: So if it’s dismissed, it can be expunged?
Gary Churak: Yes. Under Texas law if a case has been dismissed and limitations has run, you can go ahead and get an expungement. Expungements can be done with dismissal and/or not guilty verdict, but the most part we run across the situation where we’ve had some not guilty pleas and have still been able to have the charge expunged. But for the most part it’s just an outright dismissal.
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Gary Churak: Right, people just don’t understand how sophisticated background checks have become. Potentially, they find out everything so it’s always my recommendation if you got it dismissed to do an expungement on it. This is because we don’t want it showing up.
The bad part about it is you can’t even do a nondisclosure on this type of case so even if you got deferred and were not convicted, you’re still limited to having it on your record and you cannot seal it. That’s the bad part about it.
I believe that’s the biggest misconception people have, that they think the case is dismissed and it just goes away.