Need to expunge a Criminal Record in NJ?
Every day that you have a criminal conviction on your record can mean a lost opportunity in life. This opportunity can be a job you wanted and were otherwise qualified for, a financial aid package you needed, or the opportunity to vote or obtain a firearm permit. Many companies and schools pursue a background check on prospective candidates, you may be wondering what you can do to rectify your situation.
Fortunately, the state of New Jersey offers an opportunity to have your record cleared through the expungement process. Unfortunately, strict rules govern who can and cannot receive an expungement. The process can also be somewhat tedious and time-consuming, with precise paperwork and deadlines.
New Jersey Criminal Charge Expungements
Almost everyone has some events from their past that they’re not proud of. Just because you did something wrong when you were younger, does that mean that you should be punished for it for the rest of your life? Even if you’ve served your sentence as ordered by a court of law, you may feel like you’re still being punished for the mistakes of your past because of your criminal record.
Luckily, New Jersey statute allows for criminal records to be expunged in certain circumstances. This means that your record can be wiped clean as if the offenses never occurred. Applying for and being granted a criminal record expungement in New Jersey can be a complicated process but for most people, it is entirely achievable.
Read on to find out more about seeking expungement of your criminal record in New Jersey, and the first steps to take to get the process started.I would like to thank Mr. Vecchio and his office for their professionalism and the quick and timely action they took care of my legal matters. I appreciate their hard work and I am so thankful that I found Mr. Vecchio and his team.
HOW TO EXPUNGE A RECORD IN NJ?
A better question would be, “How do you get the various agencies who have records on you to remove or destroy them?”
Criminal records are never destroyed. However, they can be “extracted and isolated” by these agencies from public view if those agencies are ordered to do so.
These agencies include the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the county prosecutor’s office, sheriff’s department and probation department in whatever county you were prosecuted in, as well as the local police department and municipal court in the town you were arrested or charged in.How do you force these agencies to remove and isolate your records? By hiring an expungement attorney who will then ask a Superior Court Judge to do so through filing an expungement petition along with other legal documents, paying a filing fee, and properly serving the appropriate state agencies with the petition and supporting items.
Once the process is completed, the records will be removed from public view and you will be lawfully entitled to answer, “no” to any question regarding the expungement records orunderlying incident.
Why You Should Seek Expungement In New Jersey
Anyone with a criminal record will know the impact your prior mistakes can have on your day-to-day life. Whether you’re applying for a job, scholarship, loan, firearms permit, or even a place to live, as soon as someone undertakes a criminal history check you know that your chances of being approved have dramatically decreased.
But when your criminal history has been expunged, your prior convictions will no longer appear on your criminal record. And with laws in place prohibiting potential employees from asking you to disclose expunged criminal records, you can feel secure in the knowledge that you can move on with your life without the mistakes of the past clouding your future.
Who is eligible for a new jersey expungement?
First, only New Jersey criminal records and juvenile records can be expunged. A New Jersey judge does not have jurisdiction to order that records from other states or jurisdictions be expunged. Second, motor vehicle records, including DWI convictions, and civil orders cannot be expunged. Lastly, whether your criminal record can be expunged depends on what you were convicted of. How much time has passed since you completed whatever sentence was imposed, and how many and what type of other convictions are on your record.
If you merely arrested or charged with an offense, but the charges were later dismissed, you may apply for an expungement right away. However, if the charges were dismissed following completion of a diversionary program like a conditional discharge or the pre trial intervention program, you must wait six months from the dismissal date.
Those convicted of a crime (indictable or “felony”), may apply for an expungement after 5 years has passed since they completed their sentence or term of probation if the judge finds that it is in the public interest to grant the expungement. Showing that it is in the public interest that you obtain an expungement is easier said than done. You can avoid this requirement if you wait 10 years instead of 5.
The individual also must not have ever been convicted of a crime either before or after the incident or have been convicted of more than two disorderly persons offense.
When Are You Eligible For An Expungement In New Jersey?
Eligibility for expungement in New Jersey can be difficult to understand and will vary depending on your circumstances. First, you won’t be eligible for expungement of prior offenses if you have any open or pending charges against you. Otherwise, everything turns on the type of offense that was committed, and whether it was an indictable offense, a disorderly person’s offense, or a violation of a municipal ordinance.
Waiting periods vary depending on the type of crime committed. The waiting period will begin either at the end of your prison sentence, on the date a fine is paid, or on the date judgment is entered, whichever is the later. This means that if you were arrested, stood trial, sentenced, and then paid a fine, the clock would start ticking on the date that you paid the fine. However, if you were arrested, stood trial, sentenced, paid a fine, and were also sentenced to prison time, the clock wouldn’t start ticking until the date of your release.
If you have completed Drug Court in New Jersey, you can start the expungements application process once you have successfully completed the program. Other waiting periods for expungement can range from one year for young drug offenders to two years for a municipal ordinance offense, five years for a disorderly person’s offense or juvenile adjudication, and up to ten years for a felony crime.