Unfortunately, after serving their time, paying the necessary fines, and trying to reintegrate into society, many convicted felons face employment discrimination and financial challenges after their release. Because of the societal consequences and/or discrimination, ex-offenders may consider expunging their record (if they are eligible).
An expungement refers to the removal of any records of previous arrests, detentions, trials, or dispositions of an offense within the criminal or juvenile justice system; this includes records on file within courts, correctional facilities, law enforcement officers, criminal justice agencies, or juvenile justice agencies. With an expungement, a conviction or disposition is basically considered not to have occurred.
If your record is expunged, not just anyone can access the sealed records. Expunged records can only be released if a person has a court order. Even if you, as the ex-offender, wished to see your records, you will have to submit an official request, and those who wish to access expunged records in New Jersey must prove that they have good cause (in making the request) and a compelling need to receive the records.
Can Expunged Records Be Found in a Background Check?
Expunged records should not appear in a background check conducted by state or federal authorities. If your records appear in a background check, you should ask what company ran the check as some private databases and companies may still have your criminal record. Working with an attorney you can obtain help in informing databases that they should remove expunged records.
However, it is illegal for anyone to share information concerning an arrest, conviction, or another legal proceeding if they know that those records have been sealed or expunged (see N.J.S.A. 2C:52-30). If they do disclose such information, they have committed a disorderly persons offense. Thus private companies as well as individuals who know about your previous conviction cannot knowingly disclose the existence or details of your record if they know that your record has been expunged.
Do You Have to Disclose an Expungement on a Job Application in NJ?
Unless you are applying to work within the legal system or at a correctional/law enforcement agency, you do not have to disclose whether your record has been expunged or not. As we mentioned, expunged convictions are considered not to have occurred. Thus, you can choose to deny or not disclose that an arrest or conviction happened.
Interested in Expungement in New Jersey? Contact Our Team.
The Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC is equipped to help you or a loved one through the expungement process and answer any questions you may have about the procedure. We can advise you on whether you are eligible for expungement and can help you:
- Compile a list of the times you have been arrested (in New Jersey, another state, or under federal jurisdiction)
- Determine whether you have anything complicating your case
- Develop a plan to address any complexities
- Prepare for a hearing in the event that the prosecution objects to the expungement
- Address any questions or concerns you might have
- Offer you objective, personalized legal counsel and solutions
To schedule a free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC online or via phone (201) 574-7919. We look forward to hearing from you.