Having a criminal mark on your record can keep you from taking advantage of opportunities and advancements you may otherwise have earned. For example, employers and landlords commonly ask applicants whether they have ever been convicted of a criminal offense.
If you answer yes, that employer or landlord may be less likely to hire you or grant your residence application.
Many people want to seal their arrest or conviction records in New Jersey, but few know where to begin. To help get you started, I’ve gathered (with the help of Nolo) four questions you should be asking your New Jersey expungement attorney right away.
- Is my particular offense eligible for expungement? In New Jersey, if you were arrested or detained, but not convicted, you may petition to have the related criminal record expunged. This applies if the proceedings against you were dismissed, or if you were acquitted or discharged without a finding of guilt. If you were convicted of a crime, New Jersey law permits expungement after successfully completing your sentence and waiting for the required period of time. Motor vehicle offenses, however, cannot be expunged.
- When am I eligible for expungement? For indictable offenses, the typical waiting period is 10 years. The waiting period for disorderly person offenses is five years, while it is two years for municipal ordinance violations.
- What does the expungement process involve? Cleaning up a criminal record can be a complicated process. If you’re not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement, you should contact an experienced New Jersey expungement attorney.
- What are the consequences of expungement? Even if a conviction has been expunged in New Jersey, it still could show up in some circumstances. (For instance, police departments and some licensing boards may be able to find out about a job applicant’s record, even if it has been expunged.)
Of course, there are exceptions and special circumstances for each of the “typical” waiting periods and eligible offenses indicated above. If you have questions about expungement in New Jersey or need help sealing an arrest or conviction record, contact an experienced New Jersey expungement attorney today.