Do I have to disclose a filing that was expunged on a teaching employment and certification application?

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Do I have to disclose a filing that was expunged on a teaching employment and certification application?

I was never convicted of a crime; I did pay a fine had a 6 month filing in RI. The file was expunged in RI 4 years ago (I believe RI destroys their records and not just seals them). I was never in trouble with the law after (or before) this incident. I would like to change careers and go back to school for teaching. Do I need to disclose this on the application for teaching certification and applications for employment?

Asked on August 17, 2010 under Criminal Law, Maine

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If a criminal record has been "expunged" (destroyed), by law it is treated as if it never happened. Therefore, generally there is no no need to disclose that on an employment application or any other form.  This is true as well if the record was not destroyed but rather sealed.  Although there are exceptions.

If you want to make absolutely sure how such a record is treated in your state, you could place a quick call into a local criminal attorney's office, check with legal aid or contact a law school legal clinic.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, run a background check on yourself to make sure that none of the records come up.  That is the only way that you can really know. But remember: the records are available for view by certain employers and law enforcement agencies.  You are asking about Rhode Island, correct? According to what I have read expunged convictions must be disclosed under Rhode Island General Law 12-1.3-4 and it says so on the application itself.  So the answer is that you have to disclose. Otherwise you may be subject to disqualification.  Good luck.   


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