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Is being charged with a crime the same as being convicted?

Question by Nury : Is being charged with a crime the same as being convicted? My college application is asking if I have ever been “charged” with a crime. I was arrested for a misdemeanor, but they gave me a yellow paper (no jail), and four days later the case was closed, and when I looked it up online, the disposition said “nolle pros.” Best answer:

Answer by speakeasy
Being charged is not the same as being convicted. You are innocent until proven guilty. Many innocent people are charged with a crime and their innocence later proven in court.

I think it is wrong to ask if a person was ever charged with a crime. That proves nothing.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

2 Responses to “Is being charged with a crime the same as being convicted?”

  1. rickinnocal says:


    Being “charged” with a crime is the formal process under which the State says “Joe did so-and-so, and we can prove it.”

    Being convicted means that the court agrees with the State and finds that yes, you did do it.

    It sounds as if you were never even charged, though. You were arrested, and the case was not prosecuted. Most “Nolle Pros” cases are dropped BEFORE charges are filed. The DA looks at the police report and decides he can’t prove the case.

    Except under certain limited circumstances, (Such as asking people who intend to work with children if they’ve ever been “charged” with a sex crime) it is illegal to even ask about arrests or charges on an application – you can only ask about convictions.


  2. jokr8790 says:

    Being charged is absolutely not the same as being convicted. Nolle Pros means the prosecution did not want to proceed with your case. In certain states, such as Connecticut for example the record is automatically erased after 13 months. I don’t know what state you are in but you should ask a court clerk if there is a similar law in the state you were arrested in or how you can go about getting the record erased.