This blog was written as a public service to the People by Criminal Defense Attorney, Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
After a federal criminal case is dismissed the question is always asked by my clients is can I now get this arrest expunged? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Because a federal arrest or conviction in New Jersey comes under the jurisdiction of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, it is currently not possible to expunge a federal crime or misdemeanor in New Jersey, even if the case is ultimately dismissed.
Unfortunately, the federal third circuit has held that anyone arrest or convicted of a crime, including all persons that had their cases dismissed, either by a dismissal by the United States Attorney or acquittal by a jury are not entitled to any form of expungement. The Third Circuit covers, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Therefore, anyone arrested by federal authorities and charged, even if the case is dismissed cannot obtain an expungement of that arrest or dismissal. United States v. Dunegan, 251 F.3d 477, 478 (3d Cir. 2001); United States v. Rowlands, 451 F.3d 173 (3d Cir. 2006)
As usual, the United States Congress is not interested in seeking justice and allowing even people who have had there cases dismissed receive an expungement order. Therefore, former defendants, even innocent ones, are forced to cope with the continued injury to their reputations, and difficulty in obtaining employment, even when the charges are dropped. It is estimated that 80% percent of American employers conduct background checks for criminal records. This statistic comes from a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. In many cases employers will use arrests, even ones that lead to a dismissal of the charges as an excuse not to hire the applicant.