Most people want to go through the expungement process so that they can have a clear record when they apply for jobs. They want a fresh start not weighed down by the stigma of a criminal record. When asked if they have ever been arrested and/or been convicted of a crime, they want to be able to say, "No."

After a record of arrest or conviction is expunged, it should not appear on a criminal background check, and it is unlawful for an employer to ask you about an “expunged” record.

But, is that criminal record truly gone? Unfortunately, no.

When an expungement is granted by a judge, law enforcement agencies and the courts are required to keep that person’s records private. Think of it as moving the file folder from an open, public file cabinet over to a locked cabinet in a private office, rather than the records being shredded. The file is still there, but can only be accessed in certain limited circumstances.

When Can an Expunged Record Haunt You?

What circumstances? Well, such as when a person applies for a job with law enforcement, corrections, or the courts. This does not mean that those agencies will never employ people with records, but it does mean that those applying must still reveal the existence of an expunged record on a job application.

Also, should you ever again become involved in any criminal proceedings, the records can be used in deciding your eligibility for supervisory treatment or diversion programs, setting bail, authorizing pre-trial release, preparation of pre-sentence reports, or for sentencing.

Following a conviction of a subsequent crime and a jail sentence, expunged records can be used in deciding eligibility for parole (early release). Your record may also still be kept in the Pretrial Intervention Registry (to prevent a second chance at a diversionary program), and reports of your record may be filed as required under the Controlled Dangerous Substance Registry Act.

If the expunged records are the subject of litigation or judicial proceedings, the court may allow these records to be inspected by appropriate parties.

Not Evereyone Must Obey an Expungement Order

Finally, agencies not associated with law enforcement that require information about a person’s criminal record prior to expungement (such as the Real Estate Commission or the Department of Insurance) cannot be compelled to correct their records after an Expungement Order is granted. Such agencies are beyond the reach of expungement orders and may continue to publicize such information.

An Expungement Is Still Worth It!

Even though the record is sealed, not shredded, it is still worth getting an expungement.

If you are looking to expunge some arrests and/or convictions in your past that occurred in the Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, area, have decided that you need an expungement and are ready to take action, then click on this link to schedule a call with me. Don’t let your past hold you back from a better future!

If you are not sure you are ready to hire a lawyer, but want more information, then download my free book, What Everyone Should Know About Getting a NJ Expungement to get the answers you're looking for!

Want to see if you are even eligible for an expungement? Take the quiz to the right and see!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.