Legal Question in Criminal Law in New York

Back in 2005 I was charge with Petty theft under $20 after the case was over I hire a lawyer to Expunge my record that is the only record I have had in the pass I'm about to apply to become a police officer do I need to mention this incident or since my record was expunged I don't need too.? I'm not sure until what extend the expunge procedure covers me. Thank you

Asked on 5/23/11, 11:23 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Campbell Law Office Of John Campbell

With regard to your question, here is some general, non-specific information. If this occurred in New York, there is no way to "expunge" a conviction. There is no provision under NY law to expunge a conviction no matter how much time has passed. You should consult with your original attorney to determine exactly how your case was resolved. I assume what you refer to as "Petty theft" for under $20 involved what is commonly known as "shoplifting". In New York, the charge would have been "Petit Larceny" in violation of Penal Law 155.25. This is the most common charge for "shoplifting" in New York. Petit Larceny in New York is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year incarceration in local jail. You really need to find out how your case was resolved. Typically, in New York, a first time offender charged with Petit Larceny (PL 155.25) can resolve the case with what is called an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). With an ACD, if you stay out of trouble for 6 months, the case is dismissed. It results in a total dismissal and you would therefore have an arrest record (which would be sealed ) but you would not have a criminal conviction. If for some reason the case was not resolved with an ACD, then it might have been resolved with a Disorderly Conduct ("Discon") plea under Penal Law 240.20. A "Discon" is a non-criminal petty offense. Your record would be partially sealed and you would not have a criminal conviction but you would have a Discon conviction. This can never be expunged. With regard to your question about what to reveal on the police application - you must reveal everything. Any arrests no matter how they resolved. You will see that on a police application they ask about arrests. Having a minor arrest record or even a Discon on your record won't necessarily disqualify you from a law enforcement job. However, lying in anyway on that application will. I just recently spoke to the Criminal Justice Section at Berkeley College and I was joined by agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the NJ State Police and other law enforcement agencies. They all told the students that lying in slightest way on the application will result in your quick rejection. Feel free to call me with any questions. John Campbell. 1-877-377-8666 or visit

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Answered on 5/24/11, 9:13 am
peter bark bark & karpf

You probably received an ACD but I suggest you go to the Court and get a certificate of disposition. When you app;y, you must read the question carefully and answer truthfully.

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Answered on 5/25/11, 5:17 am

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