Clearing Your Criminal Record Through Expungement In New JerseyA run in with the law that results in an arrest and/or conviction could end up haunting you for years. Once you have a criminal record, which is created the moment your information is put into the law enforcement system, can prevent you from such things as renting an apartment, buying a home, getting a job, volunteering for your favorite charity, or adopting a child. It is important to understand that while there are many Federal laws concerning the treatment of individuals with criminal records, New Jersey has loosened the reigns a bit and offers some reprieve for many individuals. If you have a record resulting from an arrest that did not lead to a conviction, or if you were convicted for a relatively minor offense, you may be able to file a petition in Superior Court to expunge your record. An expungement will help to clear any records related to your arrest.
How to Get Your Criminal Record Expunged?
If you are successful in petitioning the court to have your record expunged it means that you can legally deny that your arrest and/or conviction ever happened. Any records –both paper and electronic – related to your offense, including warrants, complaints, processing records such as fingerprints, photographs, index cards, rap sheets, judicial dockets, and DNA, will no longer exist in searchable state and federal databases. This can make a huge difference when it comes to a background check for a new job.
Let’s say you were arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana in Neptune, but you were never convicted of the crime. While no record of a conviction exists, a record of your arrest in the matter does. If your record is expunged and a prospective employer runs a background check – as they often do – the record of your arrest will not show up in their results. If you do not have your record expunged the record of the arrest will show up. Your end result is likely to be quite different in these two situations. If you have been arrested for and/or convicted of a minor offense, it may be in your interest to seek legal advice regarding an expungement.
There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not you are eligible, by law, to have your record expunged. If you received a summons, had a warrant in your name, or were arrested for a crime but were never convicted, you can petition for expungement immediately. If you were convicted of a crime (see the list of offenses that are not eligible for expungement below) you may petition to have your record expunged 10 years from the date of conviction, payment of a fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration – whichever is later. In some cases, a petition to expunge a conviction record may be granted under the court’s discretion and opinion. After five years if the court finds the expungement is in the public interested considering the nature of the offense, applicant’s character and conduct since the conviction.
It is important to note that New Jersey does not permit expungements for the conviction of a number of crimes including: Homicide, Kidnapping, Luring, Trafficking, Sexual Assault, Robbery, Arson, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Perjury and Terrorism. Seek the advice of an attorney if you have any questions about the terms of your conviction.In permitting records to be expunged, New Jersey has acknowledged it understands the various struggles some individuals who have a criminal record may face. The state has paved an easier path for many who have records to leave the past in the past and have lowered the waiting times for expungments.
The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are experienced in gaining expungements for their clients. If you have a criminal record in New Jersey and are looking for a new job it might be better to speak to one of our attorneys first. We will help you determine whether or not you qualify for an expungement. Call 732-800-2980 to speak with one of our attorneys.