Tag Archives: Arrest

Will my Charge Appear on My Criminal Record?

This is always one of the first questions people have and rightfully so. Having a conviction appear on your criminal history can create huge issues for employment, travel, and immigration (just to name a few).

The answer will depend on the charge and whether or not you are convicted. Let’s walk through it.

In New Jersey, there are motor vehicle offenses under Title 39, Disorderly Persons Offenses under Title 2C and indicatable offenses under Title 2C. There are also Municipal Ordinance Offenses that are enacted by each municipality/city. Ordinance violations are not under the State code (not Title 39 or Title 2C).

Title 39 offenses appear on your driving record/abstract. Not on your criminal record. This includes DWI and Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle. You can’t remove items from your driving record. They stay forever. This is different than criminal.

Title 2C convictions appear on your criminal record or CCH. A charge or being charged is not the same as being convicted. Only convictions appear on a CCH (some refer to it as a RAP sheet). If you are not convicted, meaning you were not found guilty or pleaded guilty, then you don’t have a record, but there are some exceptions.

Pre-trial intervention and Conditional Discharge programs do not result in conviction. Nonetheless, you will have a record that your completed the program. You can remove this record through a process called expungement six months after you complete the program.

Additionally, anytime you are arrested or charged under Title 2C, there is a record of that charge, even if it is subsequently dismissed. However, you can expunge a record of the arrest/charge immediately upon dismissal.

Municipal Ordinances, although low level violations, may still appear on your record. Maybe you were issued one of these when you and your friends rented that shore house and the party got a little out of hand. You can expunge these too.

There is a waiting period for expungement. You must wait five year to expunge a disorderly persons offense, 5-10 years for an indictable, and 2 years for an ordinance. The clock does not start to run until the fines are paid, the probation is completed or the jail time has been served (whichever date is latest)

It is clear that the information highway opens our closets up like never before. In this day and age you should assume that any trouble you have or had will follow you and be seen by the outside world.

If you find yourself in a situation, big or small, it is smart to figure out how it may affect you in the future by seeking legal counsel.

Teachers in New Jersey and Criminal Charges

I have represented many educators who were charged with criminal offenses such as theft and shoplifting, drug possession, assault, etc. Unfortunately, the ramifications of a conviction go beyond a criminal record.

Depending upon your position (teacher, teacher’s assistant, aid, etc.) the consequences are different in my experience. For example, a teacher with a contract will be sent a flagging notice from the state advising he/she that the record reflects an arrest or charge. The letter will also state obligations that the employee has during the pendency of the matter including keeping the board advised of the progress of the case ( I always make sure that I am the one who makes that communication, never my client). The outcome of the case will determine, under most circumstances, whether you keep your job. Not all offenses are disqualifying, but many are, especially drug related charges. Teachers at least get the opportunity to litigate the case before the board takes any final action, meaning if we can avoid a conviction or fashion a plea agreement that fits our goals, you will be in good shape.

The is not the story for many other schools employees. Substitute teacher, aids, administrators and other employees (coaches even) can be terminated immediately upon being charged. However, this may be reversible if we are able to win the case or reach a resolution that smartly fits within the regulations.

It often comes as a real shock to these individuals when they receive that initial notice in the mail . There could be a tremendous amount riding on the outcome of the case. Aside from the loss of employment, pensions, health insurance and other important benefits could be cancelled.

I recently represented a coach who was hired by the school district for that purpose only. He quickly was terminated when the record of his drug arrest (a joint) went into the system. However, there were verbal promises made to him that he could return to coaching should his charged be dismissed or if his offense was amended to something other than a NJSA 2C offense. This meant that we either would have to win at trial or have the case downgraded to an ordinance violation. Even a conditional discharge would not suffice. According to the rules promulgated by this state board, a conditional discharge would prohibit the rehiring of the school employee for the entirety of the probationary period (at least one year) and made any future employment offers discretionary ( this means its tough to get rehired unless you complete the CD and have the arrest expunged).

The case took about two months to work out, but it worked out well. Although plea bargaining is not allowed in drug cases, there were enough legal issues with the case that the prosecutor felt justified in offering an ordinance violation.

Each one of these cases is a little different and dependent upon, inter alia, the nature of the offense and your position at the school. If you are working in a school system and need help feel free to reach out to us.