NOT GUILTY – If you elect to have a trial (either a jury trial or a bench trial by a Judge) and the finder of fact does not find that the State has proven every element of the charges against you, then you will be found not guilty and your case is over. If found not guilty, your case may be eligible for expungement, but you need to file a Petition for Expungement as it will not automatically be done.
GUILTY – If you elect to have a trial (either a jury trial or a bench trial by a Judge) and the finder of fact finds that the State has proven every element of the charges against you, then you will be found guilty. If found guilty then your case will move to the sentencing stage and depending on your charges your sentence may include an active jail sentence, a suspended jail sentence, a combination of an active jail sentence and a suspended jail sentence, and/or a fine. The Judge may offer you Probation Before Judgment (“PBJ”) which is discussed below.
STET – Your case may be placed on the “Stet” docket which means that the case is placed on an inactive docket for a period of three (3) years. The first year the case may be reopened by either party (State or Defendant) for any reason. Years two and three the case may only be reopened for “good cause” and by written application to the Court. You must accept your case being placed on the Stet docket and to do so, you must waive your constitutional and statutory right to a speedy trial. After a period of time, a matter placed on the Stet docket may be eligible for expungement.
NOLLE PROSSED (Nolle Prosequi) – If your case was Nolle Prossed then your case has been dismissed, but not expunged. As with a not guilty finding you must file a Petition for Expungement to have all of the record of your case expunged.
PBJ (Probation Before Judgment) – This simply means that the trial Judge has “stricken” any guilty finding and your record will not show a conviction. If you have accepted a PBJ disposition, you waive your right to appeal because there is no conviction to appeal. After a period of time, your PBJ may be eligible for expungement.
EXPUNGEMENT – Your case may be expunged in certain circumstances. You must be qualified to receive the expungement. It is important that you also request the Court to expunge both the court and arrest records. TBH&E criminal attorneys are experienced in getting criminal cases expunged for clients.
About the Author
Justin Esworthy is a founding partner of Timmerman Beaulieu Hinkle & Esworthy, LLC. Justin’s practice focuses on criminal defense, traffic defense, and complex civil litigation. He also advises individuals and businesses of all sizes on general business and risk management issues. He can be contacted by phone at (410) 649-4440 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.