Tim Farrow has been telling his clients for years now to be very careful about pleading guilty to a criminal offense, even if it is just a “minor misdemeanor”. The days of just moving on with your life and leaving that minor youthful indiscretion behind are long gone.
Google Background Check – With the expansion of the internet, background checks are much easier to conduct. It used to be only possible to obtain a background check through the NJ State Police. Now just type it into Google and you will see pages and pages of sites and companies that do them.
“Background Check Required” – A majority of people used to live their without ever being fingerprinted, but those days are gone. Here are some of the most common encounters:
– Employment – Not long ago limited to government and law enforcement, but now common and often required for retail, childcare, contractors, union workers, computer technicians, healthcare providers, and teachers.
– College – large majority of schools conduct for admissions, and financial aid is often revoked for a conviction
– Civic Involvement/Coaching – whether at school or community level, paid or unpaid, assistant or head coach, checks are now standard
– Immigration/Citizenship – if a non-citizen is lucky enough to avoid deportation after an arrest, it will definitely come up in an application for citizenship
“Not me, I’m not a criminal.” You might be saying, “So what? That’s not me and I don’t hang around “those kind of people”. However, especially when it comes to minor misdemeanors, don’t be so quick to judge. Here are some of the more common scenarios that pop up by surprise:
– Youthful Indiscretions – college pranks, house parties, bar fights, stealing a candy bar = criminal charges of Underage Drinking, Disorderly Conduct, Simple Assault, and Shoplifting
– “Just a fine” – you might never think that paying a little fine could result in a record, but a first offense misdemeanor usually only results in a fine but is still a conviction.
– “It was Dismissed!” – one would think a dismissal = no record, but not true.
The record of the arrest still remains even after a dismissal unless you get it expunged.
There is still hope – an Expungement. Although there are specific requirements depending upon the nature of the conviction and time period elapsed, most criminal records are eligible for expungement. An expungement serves to seal all records related to an arrest and conviction. If granted, a person can answer any question or background check as if the record never existed.
So please contact Tim Farrow if you or someone you know is faced with a criminal offense. If you have already pled or have been found guilty, contact him about an expungement.