What crimes can be expunged in new jersey?
New Jersey gives certain individuals who have been arrested and convicted of a crime the ability to wipe their record clean after serving their sentence and proving that they are a productive member of society. This process, called expungement in New Jersey, is particularly helpful for offenders committed to a law-abiding life, as a criminal record can follow a person for the rest of his or her life and adversely impact his or her ability to seek education, employment, or housing.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is a legal process that results in the court issuing an “order of expungement,” which requires courts and law enforcement agencies to remove and/or isolate all records of a person’s arrest and criminal conviction. As a result, an offender’s records are sealed and can only be accessed by certain agencies under very limited circumstances. But for purposes of background checks for employment or housing or other applications, the records should not show up on a search.
Why Seek Expungement?
Expungement can remove many barriers to living a productive life after you’ve completed your sentence. Since your record is removed and sealed to almost everyone, in many cases you may legally say on a job or housing application that you have not been arrested or convicted of a crime (you still have to disclose the existence of your record in certain cases, such as applying for law enforcement positions). Expungement also allows your right to vote and obtain a firearms license to be restored. In the end, expungement allows you to avoid having a past mistake ruin the rest of your life.
What Convictions Can Be Expunged?
In New Jersey, most felony convictions (also known as indictable crime offenses) are eligible for expungement. However, the expungement statute expressly precludes certain serious offenses from eligibility, including homicide, arson, robbery, many sex crimes, manufacture or distribution of drugs, perjury, and bribery. However, the arrest record for any crime can be expunged so long as it did not result in a conviction.
Generally, eligible convictions may be expunged beginning ten years after you completed your sentence, paid the last cent on your fine, or completed probation or parole. In certain cases, you may be entitled to seek expungement in as little as five years; however, this has a high bar for eligibility and you will need to prove to the court that getting expungement sooner is in the public’s interest.
If your offense resulted in pre-trial intervention, you may seek expungement in as little as six months after dismissal of your charges. An arrest that doesn’t result in conviction may be expunged at any time.
How to Have Your Arrests and Convictions Expunged
Assuming you are eligible to seek expungement for an arrest and/or conviction, you will need to file a petition in the court where your conviction took place, or the court sitting for the jurisdiction where you were arrested if you are seeking to expunge an arrest that did not result in conviction. You will often need to supply the court with a copy of your criminal record, which you can obtain from law enforcement.
The local prosecutor has the opportunity to object to your petition for expungement, which usually only happens if you don’t meet one of the eligibility requirements, if you have other criminal charges pending against you, or if expungement would not be in the public’s interest. Ultimately, the court will conduct a hearing, after which it will issue a decision to grant or deny your expungement.
Contact an Experienced Jersey City Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Charges in NJ
Were you arrested or charged in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The Jersey City personal injury lawyers and criminal law attorneys at Team Law have successfully represented clients charged in Clifton, Trenton, Camden, Passaic, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 540-1394 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 136 Central Ave., Clark, NJ 07066, as well as offices located in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.