A charge will only appear on your permanent record when you have been convicted, not just arrested. When you are arrested, there is no case against you. An arrest means that the officers are merely alleging that you could be guilty of the crime of which you are accused. In contrast, when you are convicted of an offense, you have been proven to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
A conviction will fall under one of three categories; infraction, misdemeanor or felony. When you get a traffic ticket or a jaywalking ticket, it is usually an infraction. These are minor incidents that can be corrected by a fine and without appearing in court. Additionally, these offenses do not involve any jail time. An infraction does not go on your record. You are not required to report it to employers, financial institutions, or any other application processes that may ask if you have a criminal record.
A misdemeanor requires that you appear in court before a judge or an attorney appear on your behalf. The sentence can include jail time, a fine and/or community service, depending on the facts of the case. A misdemeanor is more severe than an infraction and has harsher consequences. More often than not, you will have to report a misdemeanor to your employers, financial institutions or anywhere else you are asked about your criminal record.
A felony requires that you personally appear in court, and may even keep you in custody during the proceedings, depending on the facts of your case. A felony will have higher prison sentences, fines and a longer probationary period. A felony will always be on your permanent record and you will be required to disclose it when asked to do so.
After you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, it is difficult to keep it off your permanent record, unless you get it expunged. Your best possible chances are if you get the charge reduced or dismissed before your conviction. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has helped reduced or dismissed thousands of cases just like yours. Assure that you have a powerful fighting chance in getting the outcome you desire.