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How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Explain Your Certificate of Disposition

 

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Explain Your Certificate of Disposition

If you have a criminal record, getting a job or applying for certain benefits can be really tricky. Employers and government agencies often ask for something called a “certificate of disposition” to get more details about your criminal history. But what is that, exactly? And how does it affect your life after an arrest or conviction? This article will explain what a certificate of disposition is, why one might be requested from you, and how a criminal defense lawyer can help make sure your rights are protected when providing this document.

What is a Certificate of Disposition?

A certificate of disposition is an official court record that lists the outcome of a criminal case. It shows the original charges, any convictions, and the sentence handed down by the judge. It’s basically a court document that summarizes what happened with your case from beginning to end. The disposition is the court’s final ruling on the matter.

These certificates are usually required when you apply for jobs, housing, licenses, immigration status, or other government benefits. The agency requesting it wants to confirm your criminal record and make sure you fully disclosed it. For example, if you apply for a home loan, the lender will probably ask for disposition certificates to verify any convictions you reported on the application.

Why Do Agencies and Employers Request Them?

There are a few key reasons an employer, government agency, or other entity might request your certificate of disposition:

  • To confirm your statements about your own criminal record are accurate and complete.
  • To review the details of convictions or arrests you disclosed to determine if they relate to the job, benefit, license, etc.
  • To investigate your background and check for undisclosed offenses you didn’t report.
  • To confirm that arrests without convictions did not actually lead to convictions.
  • To verify that convictions were not more serious than you reported.

Essentially, the certificate of disposition provides more details about your criminal history than a basic background check. It allows the requesting agency to make a more informed decision about your application or employment.

How Can a Defense Lawyer Help?

Navigating disposition certificates can be confusing, but a criminal defense lawyer can help in a few key ways:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
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.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
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
2024-03-18
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 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
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.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
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!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
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.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
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.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
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.
  • Get the Details Right – Your lawyer can pull court records and ensure the certificate is accurate and complete. This prevents any discrepancies or negative impressions if information is missing.
  • Explain the Charges – Your attorney can look at the charges listed and explain in plain English what they mean if you’re unsure yourself.
  • Put the Conviction in Context – Your lawyer can provide mitigating details to the requesting agency, like explaining why you pled down to a lesser charge.
  • Advocate for Your Rights – Your attorney can contact the agency to advocate for your employment or benefits if they have concerns after seeing your disposition.
  • Expunge Eligible Convictions – If eligible under your state law, your lawyer may be able to have certain convictions expunged from your record so they don’t show up on your disposition.

Your lawyer serves as your representative and can help present your certificate of disposition in the best possible light. This improves your chances of obtaining the job, license, benefits or other opportunities you seek.

How to Get a Copy of Your Disposition Certificate

Only the court where your criminal case was handled can issue an official certificate of disposition. To get a copy, follow these steps:

  1. Contact the court clerk’s office for the specific court that handled your case. Your lawyer can help identify the correct court if unsure.
  2. Ask about their procedures and requirements for disposition certificates. Many courts have special request forms.
  3. Be prepared to provide your full legal name, birth date, case docket number, and other identifying details.
  4. There is usually a small administrative fee (around $10). Ask about payment methods – some courts only accept money orders.
  5. If approved, the court will mail you an official certificate of disposition, usually within 1-2 weeks.

Some key tips: Get several certified copies so you have them handy for future job or apartment applications. And if any of your cases are sealed, be prepared to go through additional steps to access those dispositions.

Using Disposition Certificates to Your Advantage

Even if your criminal record isn’t perfect, the disposition certificate doesn’t have to be a roadblock. With some smart navigation, it can actually help rather than hurt your application. Here are some strategies to put it to good use:

  • Be upfront from the beginning – don’t wait for an employer’s background check to disclose convictions.
  • Put past offenses in the best context – be ready to briefly explain the circumstances.
  • Highlight positive steps since your conviction – like rehabilitation programs, volunteer work, etc.
  • Emphasize other strengths of your application – skills, experience, passion for the role, etc.
  • Submit evidence of your good character – reference letters from employers, teachers, etc.

While your criminal record isn’t erased, you can still reassure agencies that you are an asset and valuable candidate. With a lawyer’s help, disposition certificates don’t have to be a roadblock to your future goals.

A criminal conviction affects your life long after the court case ends. But knowledge is power – so understand certificate of dispositions, consult an attorney, and advocate for yourself. You can still thrive even with a prior conviction on your record!

 

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