BAIL BONDS FAQ
Do I need a lawyer?
You are not required to have a lawyer. However, a lawyer will offer you legal advice, help defend you and protect your interests before the court.
When should I contact a lawyer?
Immediately! Your lawyer will need time to prepare your case for trial. If you have not hired your own lawyer or contacted the public defender by the time of your trial, the judge can make you go to trial without a lawyer. The public defender may refuse your case if you apply with less than 10 working days before trial.
It is your responsibility to obtain legal counsel.
Will I have a criminal record?
Records will exist on all charges filed against you and the disposition of those charges, including any convictions. Even if you are not convicted, court records will exist on the charges filed against you and the result of the case. Additionally, police agencies, the state’s attorney, or the public defender may maintain records of your arrest and/or trial.
If your case is expunged, no public or private agency or individual can use the records of your arrest and/or trial against you. You can request expungement:
If you were arrested but no charge was filed, you may file immediately at police headquarters.
If you are found not guilty, the charges are dismissed or the state’s attorney enters a nol pros, a Petition for Expungement may be filed immediately following the trial with a General Waiver and Release or after three years from the date of disposition.
If you are placed on probation before judgment, you may petition for expungement three years after probation was granted or discharged, whichever is later.
If your case is marked stet by the state’s attorney, you may petition for expungement three years after the date of the stet.
If your petition is based on a guilty verdict for a specified nuisance crime, you may file 3 or more years after the conviction or satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation, whichever is later.
If you are convicted of a nonviolent criminal act and are pardoned by the governor, you may request an expungement after five years, but not more than ten years, from the signing of the pardon.
You may also petition the court for expungement at any time on a showing of good cause.