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xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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Why did i get a letter saying I need to my fingerprints done after charges were dropp

Customer Question

I got caught stealing with my friend, and got a fine. I paid the fine in Oct 2008, and got a letter a few months ago stating the charges were dropped because i paid my fine. Now today i got a letter, April 2009, stating i need my fingerprints done .. why?? I paid my fine, and it said it was dropped.??
Also i go to school for early childhood and need my FBI clearances every year .. will this effect it, even though my charges were dropped prior to this??
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  xavierjd replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for using


If the theft was your first offense, you may have been part of a diversionary program. That means that if you paid your fine and completed any terms of probation, at the end of the term, the case would be dismissed.


Even if the case was dismissed, it doesn't mean that law enforcement is not entitled to have a copy of your fingerprints. Actually, that probably should have been done at the time you were arrested. However, if the case was dismissed, you may be able to seek permission of the court in which you were sentenced to not have your fingerprints taken because the case was dismissed. If your fingerprints do have to be taken and the case has been dismissed, you may ask to have any fingerprint card destroyed.


As far as your FBI clearances, chances are that the charge segment of theft would show up, even if the case was dismissed. If it was dismissed, this means that there was no conviction and the FBI may not be concerned.


You should contact an attorney who specializes in criminal law. You can contact your local bar association for a referral. It will probably give you 2 or 3 names. You can contact the attorney(s) for a telephone consultation, or ask to set up an appointment to discuss the specific facts of your case. Sometimes, these consultations are free.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I didn't have probation and i wasnt arrested .. it was my 1st offence, so i got a Summary, and just got the fine. Also, i never had to go to court either.

As far as my backround check, after it happened, it did not show up.. i just retook my backround check, and it came up clear .. but im still confused .. since i have to get my fingerprints done every year, will it come up if i do have to get them done? even if i ask for a destroy of the card ? and what exactly does that do? Im just very worried that im gonna have to quit school over some stupid mistake i did.

Expert:  xavierjd replied 8 years ago.

If it hasn't show up yet, most likely it won't show up in the future.


It sounds like you may have paid a civil fine to the person/place where the theft occurred. If you were not arrested and never went to court, then your prints would not have been taken.


If you need to get your prints taken every year now, especially since you work with children, that means that your employer is making sure that you weren't arrested or convicted of any crime, especially any involving children.


You should be fine. But, as suggested, you may want to consult a criminal law attorney in your area if you want to be safe.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.

yes, that was it .. a civil fine. So now when i go to get the fingerprints, just tell the magistrate that i paid my fine, and it was dropped? and see what they do? What about the fingerprint card .. if thats destroyed, will it show up on another fingerprint check?

sorry for so many questions, just worried!!

Expert:  xavierjd replied 8 years ago.

If it is your employer/school is asking that you be fingerprinted because of your job/program, you don't need to say anything. It hasn't shown up thus far, and that means that it probably won't.


Who did the letter of dismissal come from? If it was from the place where the theft occurred, then don't worry about anything. If it came from the court, then you need to find out from the court or police department why they need your fingerprints since the case was dismissed. It may be nothing more than a clerical error.


But again, to play it safe, you may want to consult a criminal attorney in your area.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.

The letter of dismissal came from the lawyer of the place where the theft occured. But the fingerprint letter now came from the magistrate.

It didnt come up in my backround check, but would it come up in the FBI check, if i do have to get the fingerprints done?

Expert:  xavierjd replied 8 years ago.

If the fingerprint letter came from the magistrate, then you need to go to the court listed on the letterhead. You need to ask to review your file and find out if there ever was a case opened by the court.


If you were not charged criminally for the theft, it is unlikely that it would come up in a background check.


Again, if you want to play it safe, seek the assistance of a criminal lawyer in your area.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Well it hasnt come up yet, but after i get printed will it? I read online that you pretty much get fingerprinted for identy, to make sure you didnt say you were someone else .. is that correct? Also when you get fingerprinted, is it just you in the system, or would the crime that dropped come up/