This is an important question, because only criminal convictions can be vacated. Here is how a case generally proceeds from beginning to end:
- Police Take A Report (record witness statements, names, contact information, and list facts)
- Police Send The Report To Prosecutors
- Prosecutors Review The Report And File Charges (Sometimes Months Later)
- The Defendant Goes To Arraignment and Pleads Not Guilty of the crime
The Case Resolves As Follows:
- Guilty Plea – Newton/Alford Pleas, etc.
- Guilty Plea With Deferred Sentence
- Guilty Verdict following trial
- Guilty Finding following Deferred Prosecution
- Guilty Finding Following Failed Drug Court
- Dismissal – On Motion, Following Deferred, Following SOC, Etc.
Even though a sentence was dismissed, the WSP might still record the outcome as a conviction. For instance, even if the case was dismissed following a deferred sentence, your criminal history will still show as a conviction. Most dismissals are not counted as conviction but are still public information provided by the WSP and the court where your case was heard.