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New Jersey Expungement Process

13
Oct
2009

by in Expungements

New Jersey Expungement Process: My office has handled many expungements for New Jersey expungement petitioners and always gives this case top priority. Since the New Jersey courts are heavily backlogged, it can take several months for courts to process expungements in New Jersey. That is why I personally draft these petitions and supporting documentation as soon as we are retained. Filing the petition in a timely manner can considerably shorten the waiting time. Call to speak with a New Jersey Expungement Lawyer.

You may be eligible for an expungement if you meet the following criteria:

If you were convicted of a crime (felony):

Waiting Period: 10 years after completion of sentence. An application can now be made however in 5 years but the burden is on on the applicant to show that granting the expungement is not against the public’s interest.

Exclusions: Certain crimes cannot be expunged no matter how much time has passed. They include:

  1. Distribution of Drugs (Controlled Dangerous Substance) or Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances with Intent to Distribute in the first or second-degree. An application may be possible for a third or fourth degree depending on the facts of the case;
  2. Many sex-offense in including: Aggravated Sexual Assault; Sexual Assault of a Minor; Luring, Enticing, and some cases of Endangering the Welfare of a Child;
  3. Kidnapping, Criminal Restraint, and False imprisonment;
  4. Robbery
  5. Perjury and False Swearing
  6. Murder

Other limitations: You must not have been convicted of two or more indictable offenses.

If you were convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly person offense:

Waiting period: Eligible for a New Jersey Expungement after 5 years

Limitations: You must not have been convicted of four or more disorderly persons offenses. You must also never have had a charge dismissed through a diversionary program.

If you were convicted of a Municipal Ordinance:

Waiting period: Eligible for a New Jersey Expungement after 2 years

If you were granted a dismissal through PTI or a Conditional charge:

Waiting period: Eligible for a New Jersey Expungement after 6 months.

If were you were granted a straight dismissal:

Waiting period: None

Exclusions: The charge must not have been dismissed for reason of insanity, or lack of mental capacity.

A New Jersey expungement can make the difference in getting the job you want. If you are looking for a job but have a criminal conviction on your record, you should should certainly get an expungement if your are eligible. Almost all employers now conduct background checks on applicants. In today’s job market, any blemish on your criminal record can break your chances for getting a new job or keeping the one you already have.

Almost all potential employers require you to answer whether you have been arrested or convicted of a crime. Even if you already have a job, many employers conduct random background checks on their employees, especially when considering who to let go when times are tough. After obtaining a New Jersey expungement, you will be entitled to answer “no” to any question regarding your past record.

While you can attempt to obtain a New Jersey expungement, the process is complicated. Very particular rules apply and the petition, verification, order for a hearing and proposed final order must be meticulously drafted. Your expungement attorney will review the information you provide regarding your record and determine if you are eligible for an expungement. It is also advisable to have a background check conducted by being fingerprinted by a private company.

If you are eligible, the next step is filing a petition for expungement, proposed order for an expungement hearing, proposed expungement order, and verification that you are eligible for a New Jersey expungement. These forms are highly detailed, and should only be prepared by an attorney. Any mistake can result in you having to start the process all over again.

There is usually a waiting period for most individuals seeking to expunge their records. If you have been convicted of an indictable crime (felony) in New Jersey, you must wait 10 years to obtain an expungement. If you have been convicted of a disorderly persons (misdemeanor) offense, you must wait 5 years. If you have been convicted or adjudicated delinquent in a juvenile matter, the waiting period is also 5 years. For a municipal ordinance, the waiting period is 2 years. If you were a “young drug offender” (under 21 years old when the offense was committed, the waiting period is only 1 year. If your case was resolved through a conditional discharge, you only have to wait 6 months. In a matter where you were only arrested but the charge was dismissed, there is generally no waiting period at all.

Not everyone is eligible for a New Jersey expungement. Certain convictions can never be expunged. These include Murder, Robbery, Perjury, Arson, Kidnapping, and Sexual Assault. Also, if you have been convicted of distribution of drugs (except a small amount of marijuana), you may not be able to obtain an expungement. A DWI conviction can not be expunged. A conviction for attempt or conspiracy for any of the above offenses also precludes an expungement. Further, if you have been convicted for three or more disorderly person offenses or have had a prior charge dismissed through PTI or a similar program, expungement may not be possible.

Contact an experienced New Jersey expungement lawyer for a free consultation on the New Jersey expungement process.

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