It should always be in your best interest to explore any possible alternatives to a guilty plea before deciding on that course of action, especially if it is your first time appearing in court. If you do decide to plead guilty, the results of a criminal conviction could last years, affecting things such as your future job opportunities or ability to borrow money. Although pleading guilty, if you have been told you will receive probation may seem like the easiest path out of your current troubles, in reality, the consequences can be much more severe and life-altering after the court process than you may have previously believed.
A criminal conviction can be much more permanent than some people may originally believe. There is no length of time that will pass where a criminal conviction will disappear from someone’s criminal record automatically. Criminal convictions can remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life unless you are able to have it expunged or sealed by a court of law. Additionally, a court will only expunge a criminal conviction if it is the offender’s first criminal conviction in the court system.
Moreover, the judge in charge of your case has complete autonomy in their decision in whether or not to grant you expungement after you file a motion for it as well as appear in court personally to request that your conviction be expunged, regardless of your eligibility. Not only is the process of expungement difficult and not guaranteed, but the expunged conviction may still be visible to courts, police forces, as well as government employers and possibly others. It is often the case where an employer may be able to access your criminal records prior to expungement and use it against you through the use of employee investigation firms.
Diversion Programs in NJ
Alternatively to a criminal conviction, for many nonviolent crimes courts may implement a diversion program. If the crime committed was nonviolent regardless if you are charged with something as serious as felony theft, you may be able to qualify for diversion under New Jersey court systems. Diversion programs make it possible for you to not be convicted of a crime although the program is very similar to a probation program. Included in a diversion program may be one or more required educational sessions, community service hours, as well as payment of restitution, all while not committing any further crimes for a period of time that is determined by a court ruling. If you are able to successfully complete the program in its entirety, your charges will be dismissed and your arrest records will be expunged.
Call an Atlantic City, NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing a criminal conviction, remember that pleading guilty should be your last option. There are many available alternatives to having a permanent conviction on your criminal record and only an experienced attorney will be able to navigate and understand how to achieve the best possible result. Contact John W. Tumelty today so that we may get started working for you immediately and work towards the best result possible.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
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