The best criminal law firms in Stamford, Greenwich and Danbury Connecticut are often asked… what’s the difference between a “nolle” and a “dismissal” in the Connecticut criminal courts. While both nolles / nollies and dismissals result in the conclusion of your Connecticut criminal arrest case, the top Stamford, Greenwich and Wilton Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys know that a dismissal is by far the best result, although it is not always available. So how do you know when to take a nolle and run? Or on the other hand, how do you know when to keep pushing for a dismissal of your Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport or Norwalk Connecticut court case?
It’s tricky but here a few things to think about before you make your decision…
No. A “nolle” which is Latin for “nolle prosequi” means that Stamford, Norwalk, or Danbury state prosecutors have decided to no longer prosecute your case. The decision to nolle / nollie your case is completely up to the state prosecutors and not up to the judge. Frequently, the best Danbury, Bridgeport or Stamford criminal defense attorneys and lawyers will meet with the prosecutor handling your case in advance of your court date and persuade them to nolle your Connecticut criminal arrest, in light of compelling personal, professional or family circumstances, or after you have had the chance to undergo anger management, or alcohol or drug counseling.
A dismissal, however, is the best result. And as any top Fairfield, Darien or New Canaan Connecticut criminal attorney or lawyer would tell you, only a Connecticut judge—not a prosecutor—can dismiss your case. Most of the time, a judge will dismiss your Stamford, Greenwich or Ridgefield arrest in response to your top Connecticut criminal lawyer’s motion to dismiss. And once dismissed, your case is completely erased and expunged, and the prosecutors cannot bring the criminal charges back against you under any circumstances (due in large part to Connecticut’s double jeopardy laws).
Here’s the rub with a Connecticut nolle…during the time period that is 13 months from the date of your nolle, your nolled / nollied criminal arrest records will linger on your public record, subject to all background checks. Then, on that date that is 13 months from the date of nolle, the Connecticut criminal court clerk’s office will automatically dismiss your case, order all police arrest records, booking photographs, and fingerprints destroyed, and wipe your record completely clean of the nolled charge, pursuant to Connecticut’s Erasure Statute. In fact, once your case is dismissed, Connecticut’s Erasure Statute allows you to even swear under oath that you’ve never been arrested (with respect to the erased and expunged case only, of course)!
As the top Stamford, Greenwich, Wilton and Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers often warn, one downside of a nolle is that Connecticut prosecutors can re-open your nolled case at their sole discretion, especially if you get arrested for the same or similar crimes for which you were arrested. That’s why you may hear the term “conditional nolle” in the Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport or Danbury criminal courts, implying that if you violate a condition during your nolle period—such as harass or assault a victim from your original case, or get arrested for another Connecticut DUI / DWI—then Connecticut prosecutors will re-open your nolled case and reinstate the charges.
An additional advantage of getting your Stamford, Greenwich or Darien criminal arrest dismissed rather than nollied is that the best Connecticut internet scrubbing law firms are more likely to succeed in getting online arrest reports of your Greenwich, Stamford, Wilton, or Westport Connecticut arrest off the internet. The Mark Sherman Law Firm offers one of the leading and most aggressive internet scrubbing practices in the state, having taken national news companies all the way to the United States Supreme Court to help people arrested in Connecticut get their dismissed cases offline. Follow this link for more on the Mark Sherman Law Firm’s nationally recognized internet scrubbing practice.
The best Connecticut criminal law firms often advise their clients to take a nolle now, rather than a dismissal at a later date. Remember that every Connecticut criminal arrest case is different, and there are often strategic reasons that your top Stamford, Norwalk or Danbury Connecticut criminal attorney lawyer is recommending a nolle over a dismissal. They may want you to save your Accelerated Rehabilitation diversionary program for something more serious, or they may be concerned that you are exposed to more serious criminal charges and liability if you escalate your case. Whatever the reason, make sure you get an honest and thorough assessment of your case from your top Connecticut criminal lawyer before agreeing to a nolle or deciding not to push for a dismissal.
The team of criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are keenly aware of how critical this distinction between a nolle and dismissal may mean to your Connecticut criminal arrest, your employment background checks, and your professional future. You can read our Avvo.com-certified client reviews to view our testimonials, or contact us directly at (203) 358-4700 to discuss the most appropriate resolution of your case, whether it involves a nolle or dismissal.