It depends on the question that is asked and what your conviction, if any, was for. If the case was dismissed and expunged and the question is whether you were ever convicted then the honest answer would be no. The main issue is to make sure that the answer is completely honest. Good luck.
I have been a criminal attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Brooklynlaw.net Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: email@example.com. This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.
You should just be forthcoming. Apply for the teaching certification and attach an addendum to the application explaining the complete situation. I highly doubt that stealing a small amount of merchandise from Walmart 10 years will be construed as moral turpitude precluding you from becoming certified. Full disclosure is always a good idea.
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You must really consult with an attorney, presumably NJ, who had experience and a history with the licensing body for teaching there. Moral turpitude is a broad category. Often the licensing authority will have clear "no-goes" and "ok" for different items under the category. And, as always, there is probably a gray area in which the authority will look at the circumstances. Hence, best to spend a few bucks on someone who deals with it often or all the time. This applies also to the question of disclosure. You apparently pled guilty, so that it is a matter of record. As such, you probably would have to disclose since they will find it. But again, speak to someone closer to the process.
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