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Debunking the Myths: When Expungement Is Required

March 25, 2013

Frequently individuals call our office for a free expungement consultation with the same question: I entered into and completed Conditional Discharge (“CD”) or Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”).  Do I still need to get the record expunged?  The answer is: YES!

Although the charges against you were dismissed upon successfully completion of your probation pursuant to the CD/PTI programs, the record of your original arrest and the charges that were filed against you are still on your record.  Any employer or other individual running a background check will be able to see when you were arrested and what you were charged with.  The only way to remove these records is to file for an expungement.

Under N.J.S.A. 52-6, individuals who completed CD or PTI are eligible to file to expunge the record of the arrest six months from the date the charges against them were dismissed (i.e., six months from the date they completed probation).

Similarly, many people think that if charges against them were subsequently dismissed or if they were never actually arrested (for example, the complaint was mailed to them), they do not have to expunge the record.  Even if you were never arrested or convicted, however, the mere fact that you were charged and a complaint was filed with the court creates a record.  The only way to remove that record is to file for an expungement.

Contrary to what some people assume, the passage of time does nothing to clear your record.  Unless you actively seek expungement to clear your record, potential employers and other third parties will be able to access the information.  Frequently, people assume the records will go away after time or are automatically expunged upon completion of CD or PTI.  Unfortunately, many people learn that this is not the case the hard way as these records resurface after an employer does a background check.  If you have questions about your record, call our office today for a free consultation.

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