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I have a misdemeanor charge for shoplifting in NJ. Will I be denied certification for teaching in NY due to moral turpitude?

Sunnyside, NY |

In March 2003 I was arrested and charge with a misdemeanor on one count of shoplifting violation N.J.S.C 2C-20-11 I paid the fines to the court, safe neighborhood, and additional fines to Walmart. I also had ten days of community service. In 2013 I decided to get the record +expunged. My question is, now that I live in NY, can I apply for teaching certification or will I be denied on the basis of moral turpitude? I know the record will be expunged but I was under the impression that I must disclose it any way if I am applying for government position because it will show up on my fingerprint background check.

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Attorney answers 4


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: Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: 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.

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.


Tell the truth and hope they will still hire you. If you fail to disclose they will not hire you for sure.

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