A criminal conviction on your record can make it hard to find a home, get hired for a job, and even to get credit.
If you were convicted of a crime and served your sentence, you may be eligible to have your record expunged in New Jersey.
New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 through N.J.S.A. 2c:52-32) clarifies who is eligible to have a record expunged. A New Jersey expungement attorney can help you through this process.
If you need help learning more about how to expunge a criminal record in NJ, contact an experienced expungement attorney.
Our firm regularly helps clients with the expungement process. We can speak with you today about your options for expunging your criminal record.
What is Expungement in NJ?
Before you learn more about the process of expunging your criminal record in New Jersey, you must understand what expungement means.
New Jersey law defines expungement as “the extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person’s detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.”
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), expungement refers to “the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record.”
If you want to have a criminal record expunged, you are asking the court to erase your criminal record.
Expungement is not a pardon. An expungement cannot lessen your sentence or forgive the crime committed. It is a process that a person can go through once he or she serves their sentence or is excused.
Steps for Filing an Order to Expunge Your Criminal Record in New Jersey
Having your criminal record expunged begins with filing a Petition for Expungement. There are many steps to take when filing an order to have your records expunged:
Locating Your Criminal Records
The first step of having your criminal records expunged is finding your records.
You will need to get detailed information about the records. This includes the date of your arrest and the statute(s) and offense(s) under which you were arrested. These records should also include dates for the criminal indictment, accusation, and summons. You should also get any related docket numbers and warrant numbers. Your records should include the date of disposition (for example, a conviction or a not guilty verdict) and the punishment if convicted.
If you do not have this information, request a state police criminal history record.
Completing the Forms
Next, complete the documents to have your criminal record expunged.
The first is the Petition for Expungement (Form A). In filing this document, you are requesting an Expungement Order (what the judge will issue if your record gets expunged), and you will explain why you qualify for an expungement.
Then, you will need to file an Order for Hearing (Form B). The judge will use this to schedule your hearing 35 to 60 days after you file your Petition for Expungement.
Finally, complete the Expungement Order (Form C). The judge will sign this to approve your Petition for Expungement.
Filing the Forms
The next step in the process is to file and serve the forms you completed in Step 2.
Make three copies of the forms, and file the original documents, plus two copies, with the court. Keep one of the photocopies for your own records. You will also need to complete a Cover Letter (Form D), which explains the contents of your documents. Then, pay a filing fee of $52.50.
Send self-addressed stamped envelopes to receive filed copies of your documents.
Distributing the Filed Copies
Once you receive copies of your filed documents, make more copies and mail them to multiple government agencies. Your New Jersey expungement attorney can help with this process.
You will also need to submit a Proof of Notice document (Form F) to the court. This proves that you have given proper notice to the necessary government agencies.
Attending the Hearing
The next step is to attend the hearing. At the hearing, law enforcement officers will have the opportunity to object to the expungement. When an officer does not object, the expungement is usually granted.
Distributing the Signed Expungement Order
Finally, distribute copies of the signed Expungement Order to the necessary government agencies. This includes the Attorney General of New Jersey, the County Prosecutor and the Chief of Police where you were arrested.
Contact a New Jersey Expungement Lawyer
Do you need help with the expungement process in NJ? An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can help you.
Your lawyer can ensure that all the necessary materials are completed and filed properly and on time.
Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio LLC for more information about our services.