If you are or aspire to be a licensed pharmacist in New Jersey, then it is important that you understand how criminal convictions can affect your ability to obtain and/or keep your professional license. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, then getting an expungement may help you acquire or preserve your pharmacist's license. All pharmacist licenses in New Jersey are issued and monitored by the State Board of Pharmacy. The State Board of Pharmacy follows a set of guidelines and state laws to determine who they deem is fit to be a licensed pharmacist. Having a criminal conviction on your record can prevent your licensure by the Board and can also result in losing your license. In this article, we'll define what expungements are, discuss which types of crimes specifically hurt your pharmacist license in New Jersey, and discuss the expungement process.
What is an Expungement?
The main way to remove a criminal conviction from your criminal record is through the expungement process. Under New Jersey law, you are allowed to expunge a conviction or episode of a criminal act through the expungement process. Make sure to verify that you qualify for an expungement before you start the process.
Expungement laws in 2021 have changed nationwide. The state of New Jersey passed sweeping expungement legislation that changed many expungement laws, including:
- Being able to seek expungement while having multiple criminal convictions
- Expungement eligibility once five years have passed from your conviction
- Immediate expungement eligibility for marijuana convictions
Other changes to New Jersey expungement law might apply to your situation. Make sure to speak to an experienced expungements attorney to see how an expungement may help you with your pharmacy license.
What are the Reasons that the Board May Deny a Pharmacy License?
The State Board of Pharmacy in New Jersey operates under appropriate state law when dealing with any licensed pharmacist or anyone seeking a license. The Board of Pharmacy must follow the rules laid out by the New Jersey Administrative Code at Title 13, Chapter 39. These rules combine pertinent New Jersey state law regarding licensing and outline the rules that any licensed pharmacist must follow. Pursuant to this chapter, the Board may deny or revoke a pharmacy license to anyone convicted of a drug-related offense, a crime involving moral turpitude, or any other relevant criminal conviction.
The New Jersey Revised Code section titled Professions and Occupations governs Board actions. Specifically, under Title 45:1-21, any professional licensing board may refuse to issue a license, or suspend or revoke an active license, if a licensee has been convicted of certain crimes. In short, a criminal conviction can keep you from being able to work as a licensed pharmacist in New Jersey. An expungement of that conviction may help you restore the ability to be granted a pharmacy license.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
Once you have determined you are eligible, your next step is to file an expungement petition. An expungement petition must contain specific data, including:
- Your birthdate;
- Your arrest date;
- Any state laws that apply;
- Any court case numbers that apply;
- Your conviction date;
- The final disposition of the court; and
- An affidavit telling the judge that you don't have any current criminal charges pending.
An expungement petition is properly filed only at the court of your most recent conviction. Once an expungement petition is received by the court, you will then get a hearing date for your expungement petition. If the prosecutor does not file any objections to your expungement petition, then it is possible that your appearance at the expungement hearing may be excused. If the prosecutor objects to your petition in any way, then you will likely have to appear in court to respond to these objections.
If the court grants your petition, then you will get an order in the mail signed by the judge confirming your expungement success. You must then take this signed order to the appropriate government agencies so your conviction can be actually be expunged. Your convictions will remain visible on your public criminal record until your order is served to the proper government agencies.
What Are the Benefits of Getting an Expungement?
Obviously, the biggest benefit of an expungement is having your criminal record erased. A clean criminal record can have other collateral benefits, including:
- Restoring your second amendment rights to own a firearm
- The ability to tout your clean record for job applications
- The ability to tout your clean record for housing applications
A successful expungement can lead to the granting or restoring of your pharmacy license from the State Board of Pharmacy in New Jersey.
What Are Some Reasons Why an Expungement Will Be Denied?
Your expungement petition can be denied for several reasons. Often, the main issue is eligibility. Make sure that your criminal conviction is eligible to be expunged in the first place. Several criminal convictions cannot be expunged in New Jersey, including:
- Drunk driving/DUI/DWI
- Sexual assault
There are several other convictions that are not eligible for expungement in New Jersey, so it is essential to determine eligibility. Incomplete expungement petitions or petitions filed before the date of eligibility will be denied by the court. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are eligible before filing your petition and that your expungement petition is prepared correctly and completely. If you have any legal questions about how expungement can help you, call us so we can help!
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are or aspire to be a licensed pharmacist in New Jersey, then don't let a criminal conviction hold you back. Having an experienced expungement attorney on your side can help prevent making the mistakes that many make when applying to erase a prior conviction. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring us is the right choice to help you prepare and file your expungement application. You can also contact us online.