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Thread: Background Check and NJ PTI?

  1. #1
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    Default Background Check and NJ PTI?

    Hey all

    Just got on the board recently, right after moving to PA, and this is my first time posting. Now that I'm out of NJ, I was planning on buying a gun. I used to own two when I was in the Army and stationed in GA, but that was quite a while ago. My question is regarding question #11C on the background check application: "Have you ever been convicted in any court of a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more then one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation?" I was arrested when I was 20, for a non-violent offense. Rather then going to trial, I accepted an offer of PTI (Pre-Trial Intervention). Basically you are on probation for 6-12 months. If you have no other legal trouble during that time, the case is closed and the record is sealed. It can then later be expunged, removing it totally. I haven't ever done the expungement, but I've also never had any trouble with background checks for anything else. So, if the record is sealed, and I was never convicted of a crime, can I answer NO for that question? I'm thinking of going ahead and doing the expungment, but just wanted to get an opinion first. Someone also suggested talking to a lawyer, and getting them to do a records check to see what comes up. I think I could also just do my own records check, but I'm not sure which is the best place to start. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Contact info for a good attorney to speak to would be helpful as well.

    Thanks,
    Mike S.

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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    In PA's law's, the definition of a "conviction" is worded as:

    "A conviction, a finding of guilty or the entering of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, whether or not judgment of sentence has been imposed, as determined by the law of the jurisdiction in which the prosecution was held. The term does not include a conviction which has been expunged or overturned or for which an individual has been pardoned unless the pardon expressly provides that the individual may not possess or transport firearms."

    I had an incident in FL in my youth that resulted in a Nolo plea and an adjudication withheld - which is NOT a conviction under FL law. I had to prove it through a denial responce and the PA State Police were fine with it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    Quote Originally Posted by mstork5 View Post
    So, if the record is sealed, and I was never convicted of a crime, can I answer NO for that question?
    This is true. But if you were convicted of a crime of violence, drug related, or felony, it would be a serious crime not to disclose that on your application, even it the original record was sealed.

    I think I could also just do my own records check, but I'm not sure which is the best place to start. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.
    Here are 7 Steps To A Free Criminal Background Search. However, I think that a do-it-yourself background check involves some work on your part, and some courthouses charge a fee for access to their website or to get hard copies from the courthouse. Many on-line companies will do it for you almost instantly, but they charge a modest fee.

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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    Its a really big risk if you place a "no" on that question.. you can just place a yes and they will still run your name through the FBI NICs background check for the gun purchase nevertheless.. But since you mentioned the case was closed and settled, it might not show up on the FBI report.. The FBI check will decline you if it finds felony convictions but not for sealed cases as far as I have read on their website..

    As for your search for reliable background check sites, do not go for those free ones as they do not provide accurate information... and just to make sure your problem doesn't come back to bite you in the future, make sure that you do have it expunged.. good luck..

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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    Sounds like you've never been convicted of anything to me. You went into the PTI program, and you got what is known as a " plea bargain" deal. I went through the same thing many years ago, I know I DIDN'T plead guilty to anything! If I remember right, the expungement was automatic. That was the deal I got.If you want to make sure that you record has been "expunged", go to the county where you got the deal. If they were true to their side of the bargain, you're ok.

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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    I ran a check on myself via the NJ State Police back in 2003 by just having my local PD do a fingerprint card and mailing it into the ID Bureau with a quick one paragraph letter asking them to run my information for anything , as I was planning to apply for my Firearms ID Card and didnt want to screw myself by answering no . Info came back a month later , with a single record for a misdemeanor classified as " dismissed " . I never did apply for the NJ FID Card , but I had no problems buying all kinds of guns for three years in Florida , or passing a backround check to do ride alongs with a buddy that was a Deputy , or passing numerous backround checks since then so .................. just sayin . I guess dismissed means I dont have to worry about it at all . Good thing I still have the file just in case .
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    Couple of different issues here.

    1. Lying on the form (and answering no appears to me to be one) can result in a problem. Even if you just attempt to "mislead" the sheriff's office it can jump up and bite you in the rear end.

    2. Assuming that a plea deal that was supposed to be sealed is actually sealed or expunged is also a GIANT mistake.

    Courts are not all that good at follow up. Unless you personally made sure your record was expunged, there's a good chance it wasn't, and then it will show up in this background check, causing problem 1 to be an even bigger issue for you.

    What's the penalty? It's a violation of section 4904 of the PA criminal code to make a false statement on the form.

    4904. Unsworn falsification to authorities.
    (a) In general.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the
    second degree if, with intent to mislead a public servant in
    performing his official function, he:
    (1) makes any written false statement which he does not
    believe to be true;
    (2) submits or invites reliance on any writing which he
    knows to be forged, altered or otherwise lacking in
    authenticity; or
    (3) submits or invites reliance on any sample, specimen,
    map, boundary mark, or other object which he knows to be
    false.
    (b) Statements "under penalty".--A person commits a
    misdemeanor of the third degree if he makes a written false
    statement which he does not believe to be true, on or pursuant
    to a form bearing notice, authorized by law, to the effect that
    false statements made therein are punishable.
    (c) Perjury provisions applicable.--Section 4902(c) through
    (f) of this title (relating to perjury) applies to this section.
    (d) Penalty.--In addition to any other penalty that may be
    imposed, a person convicted under this section shall be
    sentenced to pay a fine of at least $1,000.
    (Nov. 29, 2006, P.L.1481, No.168, eff. 60 days)

    2006 Amendment. Act 168 added subsec. (d).
    Cross References. Section 4904 is referred to in section
    6116 of this title; section 2344 of Title 3 (Agriculture);
    section 1518 of Title 4 (Amusements); sections 102, 134, 8998 of
    Title 15 (Corporations and Unincorporated Associations);
    sections 761, 911, 3101 of Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and
    Fiduciaries); sections 4308.1, 5103, 6711 of Title 23 (Domestic
    Relations); section 1714 of Title 25 (Elections); section 4110
    of Title 27 (Environmental Resources); sections 102, 1904, 5552,
    5903, 5947 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure);
    section 101 of Title 54 (Names).

    Ultimately a lawyer can do the digging on your prior plea and find out if it is really gone from the system. That's step one. He can also answer your question as to knowingly making a false statement on the app.

    My guess? The answer is yes, you've been convicted of a crime that fits the exclusion category and even though it was a non-plea, by accepting the terms you were technically adjudicated guilty at the time. Wasn't a condition of the deal that you not get into further trouble or the plea would end up costing you jail time?

    D

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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    You guys do realize this post is almost 3 years old

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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    My guess? The answer is yes, you've been convicted of a crime that fits the exclusion category and even though it was a non-plea, by accepting the terms you were technically adjudicated guilty at the time. Wasn't a condition of the deal that you not get into further trouble or the plea would end up costing you jail time?

    D[/QUOTE]

    No, you've got it wrong here friend. The condition of the deal was that you would not go to trial if you accepted their offer. The idea of PTI (Pre Trial Intervention) is that there is no trial. That is what PTI is for, to avoid a trial. This saves the authorities money and it saves you money. The person could have elected to go to trial and have a jury decide the issue. He/she could have been found not guilty, hence no conviction. Or, on the other hand there could have been a guilty verdict. The person would be lying on any form only if there had been a conviction. PTI is not a conviction! At this point there has only been an arrest and an "administrative" action. When the person completes his/her part of the deal, as far as the legal community is concerned, the incident never happened.
    Last edited by Defender; August 2nd, 2009 at 09:33 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Background Check and NJ PTI?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7998 View Post
    You guys do realize this post is almost 3 years old
    Yeah, almost no one looks at the dates anymore

    But, as a definitive answer to the question (Coming from my lawyer and personal experience), a PTI deal is NOT a conviction, and once you have completed the terms of the PTI, the charges are dropped. You can't be convicted of something if they never charge you

    BTW, if all of this wasn't true, I wouldn't be here posting this today
    Not succumbing to highly off-chance fears and speculations doesn't make someone a fool. - NineseveN

    "The schooling has just begun." - Pa. Patriot

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