An Arrest is the taking of a person into custody because they have been accused either by a warrant or by probable cause of committing a criminal act. An arrest is not a conviction and anyone can be wrongfully arrested or falsely accused. A criminal conviction on the other hand is a judicial ruling that the accused has committed a crime.
The difference between an arrest and conviction is most often asked in how it relates to job applicants. In this regard the difference is dramatic. The New York State Human Rights Law prevents most employers to inquire about an applicant’s arrest record. Generally, the only questions an employer is permitted to ask are: have you ever been convicted of a crime? and, are you a defendant in a pending criminal case?
Employers are not permitted to ask if you’ve ever been arrested or even accused in a complaint. Nor can they ask about youthful offender adjudications or sealed records.