What’s the Difference between a Nolle & Dismissal of Your Connecticut Arrest?

Once a Connecticut arrest gets dismissed or dropped, top Connecticut criminal lawyers often get asked the difference between a “nolle” and a “dismissal.” These are two technical legal terms that the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers and best Greenwich Connecticut criminal attorneys know can have very different consequences on your professional life. The legal distinction affects your background checks and can make the difference between having your Stamford, Darien or Wilton Connecticut criminal arrest on your record for up to 13 months after you criminal case is finished in court.

So what’s the better ending to fighting your arrest in Stamford, Darien, Greenwich, Westport or anywhere else in Connecticut?  A nolle? Or a dismissal? Keep reading to learn the answer..

What is a Nolle?

A nolle (also incorrectly spelled nollie, or nollee) is short for the Latin legal term “nolle prosequi” which means “unwilling to prosecute.” Thus, a nolle is when the prosecutor decides to drop your criminal charge in Connecticut. Here’s how it works…when you are arrested in Stamford, Wilton or Ridgefield Connecticut for crimes like disorderly conduct, breach of peace, risk of injury or interference with police, the police turn over their reports and arrest papers to Connecticut Superior Court prosecutors who become solely responsible for handling your case. The prosecutors who are called “state’s attorneys” in Connecticut (like “DAs” or “district attorneys” in New York State) must then decide whether to take your case to trial, offer you a plea deal or “plea bargain,” or agree to drop your charges altogether. It is this third option that we are discussing in this blog article. When a Connecticut prosecutor drops a Connecticut misdemeanor or felony charge, it is called a “nolle.” By operation of Connecticut law, a nolled case is automatically dismissed 13 months after the nolle date. Here’s the technical problem with a nolle: during these 13 months, a prosecutor can actually re-open the case at their sole discretion—for any or no reason—and re-prosecute the case. Sound unfair? That’s because it is; however, if you ask any of the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers, they will tell you that it is very, very rare for a prosecutor to re-open a nolled case. (In fact, I have never seen it in my 17+ years of practice).

Some additional benefits of a nolle…in Connecticut domestic violence arrests, once a case is nolled, all protective orders and restraining orders attached to the nolled criminal charges immediately terminate. So if you were arrested in Stamford, Greenwich or Darien Connecticut for a domestic violence crime, and you were subjected to a full no contact protective order that prevented you from returning to your home, then once your case is nolled, you may return home. Similarly, once your case is nolled, all conditions of release attached to your case immediately terminate. So if you were ordered to submit to random drug testing or mandatory counseling during your case, once your case is nolled, these conditions terminate as soon as you walk out of your courthouse. Your bail / bond is also discharged on the date of nolle (if not earlier).

What Is a Dismissal?

As any of the best Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers would acknowledge, a dismissal is most ideal resolution of a criminal case. Two of the most common ways to get a dismissal of your Connecticut arrest for disorderly conduct, domestic violence, or any felony or misdemeanor arrest in Connecticut, is by getting a not guilty verdict at trial, or successfully completing a Connecticut pretrial diversionary program. However, there are other ways the top Connecticut criminal lawyers can get your Connecticut arrests dismissed, even after your case is scheduled to be nolled.

Once your Connecticut arrest is dismissed, the provisions of Connecticut’s Erasure Statute CGS 54-142a kick are triggered. Once dismissed, your case is considered erased and expunged, as if it never happened. In fact, as to the dismissed charges, you can swear under oath that you were never even arrested (which is a big help to people involved in messy divorces or who are looking for jobs). It also is huge advantage to have your case dismissed when you are trying to remove your online arrest records from the internet. Follow this link to learn more about our firm’s internet scrubbing services and getting your arrest records off the internet.

How Do I Get My Connecticut Arrest Records, Arrest Photographs & Arrest Fingerprints Destroyed?

After your case is dismissed, one additional service the Mark Sherman Law Firm offers is making a motion to the court to order the destruction of your fingerprints and booking photographs that were collected at your arrest and are in the possession of the police department. We file this paperwork and then argue to the court as to why it is necessary that these records be destroyed. We do not want any of these materials showing up on the internet, being used against our clients in civil lawsuits, or being used to humiliate our clients later in life. If and once we are able to get that court order, we submit the court order to the arresting police agency and demand certification from the records sergeant for written proof that such materials were destroyed. We then also submit the court order to the State Police to confirm that these materials have been removed from the national criminal record database.

Can A Nolle or Dismissal Show Up on My Background Checks?

Yes.  A Connecticut criminal arrest that is nolled will definitely show up on your criminal background checks until a dismissal is entered. However, a dismissed case will not show up on any search of your criminal history during employment background checks; however, if your arrest is still being reported on the internet, the arrest will show up on those websites. That’s why we encourage you to consult with a top Connecticut internet scrubbing lawyer attorney who can discuss your chances of having those media websites take down those online arrest reports.

Can I Get Written Proof of My Nolle or Dismissal from the Connecticut Criminal Court?

Absolutely. In fact, top Fairfield, Danbury and top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers strongly recommend you get written proof from the Superior Court that your case has been nolled or dismissed.   Depending on when your Connecticut arrest was nolled or dismissed, your top Connecticut criminal lawyer can submit a request for a “certificate of disposition.”   This is a court-sealed document that either the local courthouse or Chief Clerk’s office in Wethersfield Connecticut can provide. If you have been arrested in Connecticut and would like to get hold of your Certificate of Disposition, give a top Connecticut criminal attorney lawyer a call today.

Contact a Stamford Connecticut Criminal Erasure & Expungement Lawyer Today

The team of Connecticut criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are very sensitive to how critical getting a dismissal of your Connecticut arrest is to your personal and professional livelihoods. Your online and offline reputations are everything. To that end, we will do all we can to fight for the most ideal disposition of your case, and one that gives you the best chance of a quick dismissal or nolle of your case. We will always be up front with you about expectations—sometimes a nolle is the best result that can be achieved under your case circumstances. However, once your dismissal kicks in, we can aggressively work to get the arrest records destroyed, get the online arrest reports taken offline, and allow you to move forward with your life, without the blemish of your Connecticut arrest holding you back. So call us today at (203) 358-4700 to start the process of getting a dismissal of your Connecticut arrest as quickly as possible.