If you're arrested, it can be hard to think about the long-term consequences of an arrest. You may be solely focused on ensuring that you don't face prison or high fines. Having your charges dismissed or being found not guilty may be the furthest you can look ahead. Unfortunately, an arrest can often appear on background checks and internet searches, even if you were never convicted. A small notation on a background check can impact your job and professional opportunities for years to come. Fortunately, in New Jersey, you can use the legal process to clear your record of arrests and, in some cases, criminal convictions.
Before beginning the job search, if you have an arrest record, it's a good idea to run your own background check to see what turns up. But if you see a criminal charge with the notation “no billed” on your background check, what does this mean, and what can you do about it? This article will discuss how you should handle a “no billed” charge on your background check.
Criminal History and Job Applications
New Jersey has a “ban the box” statute to protect people from criminal or arrest history questions during the job application process unless you meet an exception to the law. As a result, most employers in New Jersey can't typically ask about your criminal record during your initial employment application process. Your employer can ask about your criminal or arrest record before your first interview if:
- You voluntarily disclose an arrest or conviction during your application process
- You seek a position with a law enforcement agency, corrections agency, the judiciary system, homeland security, or emergency management
- You're seeking a position that requires a security clearance or a criminal background check under the law, agency rule, or regulation
- If an arrest or conviction would prevent you from holding the job under the law
- If the law or regulations prevent a potential employer from engaging in their business based on the criminal activity of employees
- If you're applying for a job as part of a program created to encourage the employment of people with criminal records
After your first interview, a potential employer may ask about your criminal history, including arrests. They may also perform a criminal background check. If you've been arrested in the past, these arrests may appear on a background check even if you weren't convicted.
What Does “No Billed” Mean?
“No billed” on a background check is an indication that you were arrested for a crime, but a New Jersey grand jury found that the state didn't have enough evidence to prosecute you and failed to indict you. Unfortunately, however, the “no billed” on your background check may indicate the crime the state arrested you for. For a felony charge, this could be a problem for potential employers or others, particularly if the person reviewing your background check isn't familiar with the ins and outs of the New Jersey criminal justice system.
Expungements in New Jersey
Fortunately, you may be able to have your “no billed” charge expunged from your record. An “expungement” is a court order directing law enforcement and court offices to remove your records from public view. Your arrest or criminal record will still exist, but most people can't view it without good reason.
While New Jersey expungement law is designed to open up educational and employment opportunities for those with arrest records or criminal convictions, only about 6% of people eligible for expungements petition the court to obtain one. As a result, the New Jersey legislature revised the law in December 2019 to make expungements more accessible and easier to obtain.
Who is Eligible for Expungement?
Under New Jersey law, many people may expunge past arrests and criminal histories through several pathways.
- Traditional Pathway Expungement: Under New Jersey's traditional pathway for expungement, you can expunge up to one indictable offense and three disorderly offenses. An indictable offense is New Jersey's equivalent of a felony, while a disorderly offense is the equivalent of a misdemeanor. Alternatively, you can expunge five disorderly offenses or petty disorderly offenses. The waiting period is five years.
- Early Pathway Expungement: In some circumstances, you can have criminal convictions expunged after only three years. This early option is available for less serious convictions if you have no further arrests and have compelling circumstances such as a specific job or educational opportunities.
- Clean Slate Expungement: The clean slate option is New Jersey's newest expungement path. After ten years, you can expunge your entire criminal history, including arrest records and criminal convictions. This might be an option even if you weren't eligible for the traditional pathway expungement.
Expunging a “No Billed” Charge
New Jersey law doesn't limit the number of charges you can have expunged if you weren't convicted. This includes arrest records that didn't result in formal criminal charges, criminal charges later dismissed by the state, and where a judge or jury failed to convict you. There is also no limit on the number of “no billed” charges you can expunge if a New Jersey grand jury failed to indict you. However, expungement law does have a six-month waiting period for charges dismissed due to a diversion program.
The best way to determine if you can have a “no billed” record expunged in New Jersey is to consult an experienced expungement attorney to determine your best option, any waiting period, and a path forward.
You Need an Experienced New Jersey Expungement Attorney
Don't let a past arrest or a “no billed” charge keep you from pursuing the career or job you want. A skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney well versed in expungements can help you clean up your record. Attorney Joseph Lento and the experienced team at The Lento Law Firm have been helping people in New Jersey accused of crimes for years, and they can help you too. Give them a call today at 888-535-3686 or contact them online to schedule your consultation.