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About seven years ago I was arrested for shoplifting a $20 item. Will it stay on my record forever & affect my job applications?

Flushing, NY |

About seven years ago I got caught shoplifting a $20 item. The department store called the police and I was Arrested right away, and taken to jail. I had a court date and appeared before the judge with my attorney. It was dismissed and I had to do community service. My question is will this stay on my record forever? How do I know if it is sealed? Is there a public way to see what is on my record? I am very concerned because it was an honest mistake that I took complete blame for and paid for, but I want to be able to have a clear record so I can work in the future.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. It should not be on your record as it was probably dismissed and sealed. The only way to truly find out if it shows up on your record is by requesting a fingerprint check at your local precinct.

    George Vomvolakis Law Offices
    275 Madison Avenue, 35th Floor
    New York, NY 10016
    212.682.0700


  2. If your case was dismissed, the record is sealed, and even if unsealed would show no conviction anyway. Contact your attorney from that case and confirm the disposition if you are concerned.

    If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.


  3. If it was dismissed it should be sealed. Go to the court and see if there is a public record for the case. If they say NO it is sealed.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  4. If it was an "honest mistake' then you should have gone to trial. If you took a Disorderly Conduct plea or got an ACD dismissal it is sealed and you will not have a record. Do not make poor decisions in the future and do not suffer any delusions about your guilt or you will not learn to make better decisions. People often say "it was a mistake" or they were "at the wrong place at the wrong time". They say that they were the "victim of circumstances" because they are embarrassed, in denial, and basically not very honest in general. They say what they want other people to hear, not the truth and that is being a con artist. It is not being able to take responsibility for their actions. Crimes are not mistakes, that are intentional or negligent actions. Mistakes and accidents are not crimes.


  5. A case that's dismissed should not be on your record, that's what happens when something gets dismissed. Sounds to me like you got an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) where the case was dismissed after you did community service. If that's the case it should be dismissed and sealed completely. There's probably no need to worry about it.

    For more information visit www.reibsteinlaw.com. Please note that unless a formal letter of engagement or retainer agreement has been entered into by and between the reader and the attorney this answer shall not be construed as official legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Its contents are intended for general information purposes only. No attorney-client relationship has been created.

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