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Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help if My Disposition is Wrong on the Certificate?

Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help if My Disposition is Wrong on the Certificate?

Having the wrong disposition on your criminal record can cause all kinds of problems. It can affect your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, or get approved for loans. So what can you do if there is an error on your disposition? The good news is that a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help get it corrected.

What is a Disposition?

First, let’s make sure we understand what a disposition is. The disposition is the final result of your criminal case – whether you were found guilty, not guilty, the charges were dropped, etc 1. 

It’s basically the outcome that gets marked on your criminal record.Some common dispositions include:

  • Guilty
  • Not Guilty
  • Dismissed
  • Deferred Adjudication
  • No Charges Filed

The disposition shows up on background checks and is a permanent part of your criminal record. It’s important that it’s accurate, because any mistakes could come back to haunt you.

Why the Disposition Matters

The disposition on your record matters because it indicates to others whether or not you were convicted of a crime. For example, an employer doing a background check will look at the disposition to see if you have any convictions. If your disposition says “guilty” but you were actually found “not guilty,” then it looks like you have a conviction when you really don’t.Having the wrong disposition can prevent you from getting jobs, professional licenses, housing, loans, and more. It basically inaccurately paints you as a convicted criminal when that’s not the case. So it’s critical to get any errors fixed.

How Disposition Errors Happen

There are a few ways a wrong disposition could end up on your record:

  • Clerical error – The court clerk simply made a mistake inputting the data. Humans make errors, and entering dispositions into the system is no exception.
  • Confusion over pleas – If you originally pleaded guilty but later changed your plea to not guilty, the system may still show guilty.
  • Charges changed – Prosecutors sometimes reduce or change charges as part of a plea deal. The final disposition may not reflect changes.
  • Multiple charges – For cases with multiple charges, the disposition of each charge may be entered incorrectly.
  • Failure to update – If the disposition was later changed or vacated, the record may not have been updated.

As you can see, disposition errors can happen fairly easily. The good news is they can also be corrected.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
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Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
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Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
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Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
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Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
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divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Checking Your Disposition

The first step is to check your disposition so you know if there is an error. You can get a copy of your criminal record from the court clerk’s office that handled your case.You can also get a background check report to see what employers would see. Be sure to check the disposition listed for each charge, not just the overall case disposition. Any discrepancies need to be fixed.If you see any errors or something doesn’t look right, don’t panic. This is exactly why criminal defense lawyers can help.

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If the disposition on your record is wrong, a criminal defense attorney has several options to pursue getting it corrected:

  • Request a disposition clarification – The lawyer can file a motion asking the court to issue an order clarifying the correct disposition if there is a mistake.
  • File for post-conviction relief – In some cases, they may be able to reopen your case and get the inaccurate disposition vacated or changed.
  • Request record sealing or expungement – If the error can’t be fixed, they may be able to get your record sealed so the incorrect disposition doesn’t show up on background checks.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors – The lawyer may be able to negotiate with prosecutors to get errors corrected or charges dropped from your record.
  • Update databases – They can contact background check companies and other databases to update incorrect dispositions in their systems.
  • Provide evidence of errors – Having an attorney present evidence of the mistakes to the court, prosecutors, and record keepers can add credibility to the requests for corrections.

The strategies available depend on the laws and procedures in your state. An experienced local criminal defense lawyer will know the options in your jurisdiction.

Is it Too Late to Fix an Error?

In most states, it’s never too late to try and correct a wrong disposition 2. 

While it’s best to catch errors early, the court system allows for fixing mistakes even years later.The only time it may be impossible is if you already exhausted all your direct appeal options long ago. But in many cases, there are still remedies available. Don’t assume it’s too late without talking to a lawyer.

When Do You Need a Lawyer?

Technically you can request disposition clarifications and record updates on your own without legal counsel. But having a lawyer vastly improves your chances of success.Here are some signs it makes sense to hire a criminal defense attorney:

  • You already tried to fix it yourself with no luck.
  • The error is preventing you from getting a job or other opportunities.
  • You have a complex record with multiple charges.
  • You are unsure of the options and procedures in your jurisdiction.
  • The prosecutor or court clerk is giving you resistance.
  • You are worried about making things worse by handling it alone.

Their expertise navigating the system is invaluable. And persistently following up is part of their job.

Finding the Right Lawyer

Not just any lawyer will do. To correct your disposition, you need an experienced local criminal defense attorney. Here are some tips for finding the best one:

  • Search for lawyers who specialize in criminal record corrections and expungements.
  • Look for someone with years of experience handling criminal cases in your courthouse.
  • Ask about their success correcting wrong dispositions for past clients.
  • Choose someone you feel comfortable with and can trust.
  • Avoid lawyers who promise guaranteed results or make you uncomfortable.

Take time to research options and ask candidates plenty of questions. This is your future, so it’s worth being picky.

What You Can Do Now

While you look for a lawyer, there are a few things you can start doing:

  • Get copies of your records so you have everything you need, including the incorrect disposition.
  • Gather evidence like court documents, transcripts, or lawyer correspondence showing the actual disposition.
  • Make note of anyone you already contacted about the error and their response.
  • Avoid further convictions – Getting into more legal trouble will only make fixing the error harder.

Staying organized and avoiding new issues will help smooth the process once you hire counsel.

Don’t Lose Hope!

It’s understandably frustrating and stressful having the wrong disposition out there. Just don’t lose hope. The criminal justice system knows errors happen. So there are remedies available if you take action.With an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side, the odds are in your favor. They know how to navigate the system to get inaccurate dispositions corrected.It may take some time and effort. But getting your record fixed is absolutely worth it for your future. So if you see any wrong dispositions, contact a lawyer right away to get started – you’ve got this!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get in trouble for having the wrong disposition on my record?

No, you can’t get in legal trouble simply because there is an error on your criminal record. Mistakes happen, and the error was likely just an accident or oversight. As long as you act in good faith to get your disposition corrected, you have nothing to worry about.

What if I can’t afford a lawyer to help with my disposition?

If you cannot afford a criminal defense lawyer, you may qualify for a public defender or court-appointed attorney. You can request representation at no cost if your financial situation meets the eligibility guidelines. Just explain your situation to the court clerk or judge.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer to fix my disposition?

Costs vary depending on your location and the complexity of your case. Many lawyers offer free consultations, so you can get quotes before hiring someone. Fees are usually hourly, ranging from $100-$300 per hour. Simple clarifications may only take a few hours. More complex cases could reach $2,000-$5,000 or more.

What if I already lost out on a job due to the wrong disposition?

If an incorrect disposition on your record cost you a specific job offer or opportunity, a lawyer may be able to help recover damages in some cases. This would involve filing a civil lawsuit against the court or government agency responsible for the error.

Can a conviction be completely removed from my record?

It depends on the laws in your state. Some convictions are eligible for expungement or record sealing to essentially remove them from your criminal record. An attorney can advise if this is an option. But if your disposition just has the wrong conviction listed, it can likely be updated to reflect the actual outcome.

How long does it take to get a disposition corrected?

It depends on the complexity of your case and the responsiveness of the courts. Some minor clarifications can be resolved in just a few weeks. More complicated errors involving multiple charges or formal hearings could take several months. A lawyer can provide a better estimate based on your specific situation. The important thing is to be patient and persistent.






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