A criminal record may feel like a heavy burden that holds your future hostage. Whether you want to pursue a higher education, are seeking a job, need a loan or mortgage, or even just want to rent an apartment, a criminal record has the tendency to put road blocks in almost every area of your life, even if it has been years since you were convicted. It is easy to feel frustrated as your hopes and dreams are halted. However, under New Jersey law, there is opportunity to start fresh and pursue opportunities that were once out of reach. You may be eligible for a criminal record expungement.
If you or a loved one is looking to have a crime expunged from your criminal record in South Jersey, contact our Atlantic City expungement lawyers today at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our criminal defense and expungement lawyers offer free consultations. Call (609) 800-2942 today for your consultation.
What is Expungement in New Jersey?
Here in New Jersey, in some instances the law allows for expungement in past criminal convictions. This means that prior arrests and convictions can be permanently removed from your criminal record which makes future background checks far less anxiety ridden and tedious than they were before. Once an arrest or convictions has been expunged, there is no longer a requirement disclose it. Of course, this is not an option for all crimes, but there is a chance that your conviction might be eligible for expungement. If you are eligible, we are here to help guide you through the expungement process.
Basically, expungement of your criminal record is available ten years after your most recent conviction, payment of fines, completion of probation or parole, or release from prison. In those ten years, you must be free from arrests or convictions for any other crimes. There is are exceptions for disorderly persons or petty disorderly person offenses; as long as there have not been any arrests or convictions more than twice in the ten-year period, you could still be eligible for expungement. Therefore, if you have maintained a “clean slate” within those ten years, you could be eligible for expungement.
Getting Your Criminal Record Expunged in NJ
Starting on February 1, 2018, New Jersey law will make expungement much easier to attain. It’s possible to file a petition within ten years after arrest or conviction, if you meet certain requirements.
First, you may be eligible to file a petition and have your record expunged less than ten years after your last payment of a criminal fine if you have a “clean slate” and the court believes that you have stayed current with your payment plan to the best of your ability. Even if the terms and conditions of the payment plan were not totally satisfied, the court could still expunge your record if circumstances beyond your control prevented you from fulfilling this obligation. The court takes into consideration your age at the time of conviction or sentencing, and it may also examine other outside circumstances that made it difficult to stay current with payments. If the court finds that you completed the payment to the best of your ability, as circumstances allowed, then your record less than ten years after arrest or conviction has the potential to be expunged.
Second, there is opportunity for expungement if it’s been between five and ten years after your most recent arrest, conviction, payment of fines, completion of probation or parole, or release from prison (whichever of these happens last). In this case, you may be eligible if you have been free of arrest or conviction for a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense. The court will look at your behavior since release and weigh that against the severity of the crime you committed. If a court decides that expungement is in your best interest and will be not be a harm to society, your record could be expunged less than ten years after release.
What Crimes can be Expunged in NJ?
You must keep in mind that there are some crimes for which expungement is not an option. These crimes are among the most serious offenses including murder, manslaughter, treason, kidnapping, rape, arson, perjury, robbery, and conspiracy. It is not in society’s interest to allow their expungement because of their severity and wanton disregard for the wellbeing of others.
Also, if you are a public official under the government of the State of New Jersey, your past arrests and convictions are not eligible for expungement. Most drug trafficking or distribution convictions are also ineligible, except if they involve marijuana or hashish, or if it is in society’s best interest to expunge your record. The vast majority of offenses, excluding the most severe, are eligible for expungement.
South Jersey Expungement Lawyers
As stated above, in order to begin the expungement process, the court requires that you file a petition. If the court approves this petition, your record may be expunged. Because this process can be intimidating and tedious it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced professional. Attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych. have a history of guiding many people through this process and helping them move start fresh. We will help you determine whether you are eligible for expungement and we will zealously advocate for you throughout the entire process. If you are in need of any assistance, please contact us about a free consultation.