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After my Record is Expunged, Can the Record of my Arrest or Conviction Ever be Disclosed?

March 17, 2014

Expungement clients often ask the attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf whether or not their expunged records can ever be disclosed.  The short answer is: Yes.  Although your records were expunged, they are not actually destroyed and they can be accessed under certain circumstances.  Those circumstances, however, are very limited and are established by statute.  They are as follows:

1.    If you apply for another expungement.

If you apply for another expungement, your expunged records may be used by the court to determine whether or not you are eligible for a subsequent expungement.  The information will only be disclosed to the court and those parties that are entitled to notice of your expungement.  Those parties would include the New Jersey State Police, the prosecutor, the police of the municipality where the offense was committed, and the court in which the original proceeding was heard.

2.    If a claim has been filed with the Violent Crimes Compensation Board.

If a claim has been filed against you with the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, your expunged records may be supplied to that board.

3.    When the subject matter of your expunged record is the subject of pending litigation.

Access to your expunged files may be permitted when they are the subject of pending litigation.  In order to have the expunged information disclosed, however, the party seeking disclosure must demonstrate good cause and a compelling need for the records.  As an example, permission to inspect expunged files under this exception may be granted when a person being sued for malicious prosecution based on charges that were the subject of an expungement order.  Permission to inspect an expunged record might also be granted pursuant to this exception when the person seeking the records is being sued for libel based on what was written about the charges made or the conviction.  Expunged records, however, will not be disclosed when the purpose is solely to impeach a witness.

4.    If you apply for a diversionary program, such as Conditional Discharge or Pretrial     Intervention.

If you are subsequently arrested and are applying for a diversionary program in the State of New Jersey, such as Conditional Discharge or Pretrial Intervention, your expunged records may be used by a court to determine eligibility for these programs, which usually require the absence of a criminal record.

5.    For purposes of setting bail and determining sentencing.

If you are subsequently conviction of a criminal offense, your expunged records may be disclosed if requested by a judge, prosecutor, or probation department for purposes of sentencing.  Additionally, expunged records may be disclosed to a Parole Board.  The Parole Board is entitled to use the records and give them the same weight as they would have had if they were not expunged.  The Parole Board, however, does not have the right to obtain expunged records of arrests that did not result in a conviction, such as when the charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty.

6.    To the Department of Corrections when assigning you to a correctional institution.

Your expunged records may be released to a correctional department for purposes of classifying and assigning you to a correctional institution.

7.     If you are applying for a position in law enforcement, corrections, or the court system.

If you are applying for a position in law enforcement, corrections, or the court system, you are required to disclose expunged matters on your employment application.  This does not necessarily mean that you are barred from ever receiving a job in those areas.  Unless a statute specifically states that a prior arrest or conviction is disqualifying (and very few do), then disclosure of the expunged information does not automatically disqualify you.  You can explain that the matter has been expunged.  The government agency will then consider your application and either approve it or reject it.

Expunged records do not need to be disclosed when applying for a position in any other profession, so long as it is not within law enforcement, corrections, or the court system.  Professional license applications (other than to practice law) also do not need to disclose expunged matters.

As can be seen, these situations are very limited and involve access of your expunged record by the court or correctional systems.  They do not permit private employers or other third parties to access your information.  Moreover, so long as you remain law-abiding, the vast majority of these exceptions would not apply to you.  The Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf has extensive experience and knowledge in the processing and consequences of expungements.  Call us today if you have questions about your case, or click here to complete an expungement interview form online and we will help you determine if you qualify for expungement.

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By way of disclaimer, I must advise you that the purpose of this blog is not to provide legal advise and I am not doing so. I do not generally police this blog and I have no way of knowing whether the information that anyone else posts is accurate. Also keep in mind that laws and regulations change frequently and anything you read may be out of date.

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