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Can my employer fire me for spending a night in jail, but with no criminal conviction? Do I need a lawyer?

Jersey City, NJ |

Over ten years ago, I was arrested and spent the night in jail (I had lapse in judgment as a stupid teenager). When I went to trial, the case was dismissed. I now have a job (several degrees later) in a great company. In the employment application, I was asked if I was ever convicted of a crime. I, of course, checked no (the event from years past not even in my mind anymore). Now, a background check showed the arrest and dismissed case. The board of the company is meeting in a few days to decide on whether to give me a chance or fire me based on the fact that I withheld information and lied on my application. Can they legally do this? I still do not believe I lied on my application. Should I get a lawyer to represent me or do I just have to wait and see what the decision is?

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

If the charge was dismissed, it is not a conviction. These types of issues depend on the specific wording of the question. If the wording was...have you ever been arrested (or charged)...then your answer of NO would be incorrect, as you had been arrested and charged. If the question only listed ...have you ever been convicted...then your answer would be legally correct, as a dismissal is not a conviction. Try to get a copy of the disposition sheet from thje Court which this matter was in. You can then decide whether to take that to your company to show you did not mislead them, and you can use the disposition sheet to discuss your options with a lawyer. Once this is over, get your record expunged. Good luck.

This answer is provided solely for informational purposes, for you to use as a starting point when speaking directly with a lawyer in your State. I do not practice law in your State, and this answer does not constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or constitute attorney advertising. I urge you to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice law in your State before you make any decisions about this case.


If it is an at-will employment, the answer is yes.