What If I Was Arrested But Never Charged with a Crime?
If you believe you were arrested but not charged with a crime, the first thing you should do is have an attorney help you determine whether this is in fact the case. Sometimes due to mix ups with addresses a person is charged but they do not receive their summons and therefore do not know that charges were ever filed. In this situation, a person often ends up with a warrant for their arrest that they do not know about.
An attorney could help you confirm whether charges were filed and if there is a warrant they will be able to assist you with either quashing the warrant or turning yourself in to make a court appearance. If charges have not been filed, your attorney will be able to advise you whether the statute of limitations has run. If it has, you cannot be charged, and you are in the clear. If it has not, your attorney can contact the prosecuting authority to determine whether the case is still under review or whether charges have been declined. If the case is still under review, your attorney can monitor the status of the case and attempt to convince the prosecuting authority not to file charges. If the prosecutor does decide to file charges, your attorney may be able to help ensure that the case is charged by summons and complaint rather than with an arrest warrant and complaint. This means that you may simply be able to appear for a court date rather than be arrested or turn yourself in before appearing in court.
If charges are declined, different things can happen depending on which prosecuting authority declined to file charges. If a county attorney declines to file felony charges, they can forward the case on to a city attorney for consideration of gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor charges. If the city attorney declines to file charges the case is generally over, and you are in the clear.
If charges are declined will I still have an arrest record?
Yes. When formal charges are not filed, the arrest records still exist. This information can include name, date of birth, fingerprints, photos, physical mark identification data, aliases, or other identification information. This means that even though you were never charged with a crime, law enforcement will still have a considerable amount of your private personal information on file.
Can I get rid of my arrest record?
Yes, Minn. Stat. § 299C.11 Subd. 1(b) provides for the destruction of arrest records in certain circumstances. If the prosecuting authority declined to file any charges and a grand jury did not indict, you can have these records destroyed. Additionally, if the charges were dismissed prior to a determination of probable cause, you can also have the records destroyed. This means that the law enforcement agency will no longer have your records on file. This is different than an expungement because when records are expunged, they are sealed from public view but not actually destroyed.
If you believe you were never formally charged following an arrest, contact the BK Law Group to review your case to ensure there are no outstanding warrants, confirm that charges have been declined, and help you have your arrest records destroyed so that they do not cause future problems with obtaining housing or employment. The BK Law Group can help you look out for your future.