MAKING NEW LAW IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Expunging Charges That Were Dropped In Exchange For A Plea

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The Law Offices of James W. Flood, P.C. recently won a great victory for those seeking to expunge their records in Montgomery County. Our client had been previously arrested and charged with very serious felony offenses. After a full investigation and a vigorous defense, the serious charges were nolle prossed (dropped) and the client pled guilty to a minor offense. We petitioned to expunge the serious charges that had been dropped. However, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office opposed our request.

After a hearing, the Honorable Senior Judge William T. Nicholas granted the petition and ordered the expungement of the charges that had been nolle prossed at the time of the plea.

The primary basis for the Commonwealth’s objection to expungement was the idea that the guilty plea was a “quasi-contract,” and that we couldn’t expunge the charges that had been dropped because that would change the terms of deal. In a memorandum supporting the ruling, Judge Nicholas held that in order to support that theory, the Commonwealth had the burden to prove that the client had previously agreed that he would not seek expungement of the dropped charges. When the Commonwealth offered no evidence of such an agreement, the court employed a balancing test to determine whether the harm caused to the client by the retention of the information outweighed any benefit to the Commonwealth in keeping the information. Some of the factors examined by the court included the strength of the Commonwealth’s case against the client, the reasons the Commonwealth gave for keeping the records, the client’s age and employment history, the length of time that had elapsed between the arrest and expungement, and the specific adverse consequences suffered by the client.

The client testified that the record of being arrest for felonies had limited his job opportunities and hindered the advancement of his career. This testimony, and the other factors considered by the court, resulted in a decision by the Honorable Judge Nicholas to expunge his record of the serious charges of which he was not convicted.

If you have previously been through the criminal justice system and your case resulted in a guilty plea to some of the less serious charges, you may be entitled to expunge the more serious charges which were “dropped”. Please contact us to look into this further at 610.945.9456, jwf@jimfloodlaw.com.

Posted on October 26, 2015, in Alcohol, Criminal Law, Distracted Driving, Drugs, DUI, Family Law, Search & Seizure, Sexual Assault, Underage Drinking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on MAKING NEW LAW IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Expunging Charges That Were Dropped In Exchange For A Plea.

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