In New Jersey, a person can have their criminal record expunged after a certain amount of time. How long it takes to get an expungement depends on your record.
How long it takes to get an expungement depends on what kind of records you want expunged. There is generally a required waiting period for expungements during which petitioners must remain free from criminal activity. The duration of the waiting period varies but typically lasts at least a few years. For juveniles, the waiting period is a bit shorter as juveniles tend to become eligible for expungement sooner than adults. Even after waiting the required amount of time, the court’s actual process may last a few weeks or months.
If you have a criminal record you want to wipe clean, our New Jersey expungement lawyers can help you get the petition process started. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free case assessment with our team.
How Long Does it Take to Expunge Criminal Records in New Jersey?
How long your expungement takes depends on what kind of expungement you want. A standard expungement is typically a good idea for those with shorter criminal histories. People might be eligible if they have only one or two convictions. A Clean Slate might be better for your case if you have a long criminal record, but the waiting period is longer. Our Atlantic County expungement lawyers can help you decide what kind of expungement works for you.
A standard expungement may be obtained in several ways, depending on what kind of convictions you want expunged. According to N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:52-2(a) and 2C:52-3(b), you must wait 5 years before being eligible for an expungement. This applies to expungements for indictable crimes (similar to felonies) and disorderly persons offenses (similar to misdemeanors). However, eligibility requirements for an expungement might differ depending on what kind of convictions you want expunged.
The 5-year waiting period does not begin on the date of your last conviction. Instead, the waiting period begins on the date you completed all sentencing requirements from your last convictions. So, if you were sentenced to 7 years in prison for your last indictable crime conviction, your 5-year waiting period would not begin until you were released. For those who served lengthy prison sentences, it might be a long time until they are eligible for an expungement. You must also remain free from criminal activity during the 5-year waiting period.
Clean Slate Expungement
A Clean Slate expungement allows convicted defendants to expunge their entire record all at once. While a standard expungement tends to be more appropriate for people with fewer convictions, a Clean Slate expungement is designed for those with longer criminal records, which would be ineligible for a standard expungement. Talk to our Cape May expungement lawyers about a Clean Slate expungement to determine if it is appropriate in your case.
While a Clean Slate expungement allows you to expunge a much longer record, it comes at a higher cost. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-5.3(b), you must wait at least 10 years from the date your final sentencing requirements are completed before you can apply for a Clean Slate expungement. Waiting a decade to become eligible for expungement may sound harsh, but for many, it is the only option they have for an expungement.
Expungements do not only apply to records of convictions. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-1(b), you can expunge various records, including complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, fingerprints, photos, processing records, and rap sheets. Usually, these records are expunged alongside records of convictions. However, not every case ends in a conviction, but there are still records of things like arrests and warrants. These must be expunged independently.
Luckily, it does not take very long to expunge an arrest record, warrant, or something similar if your case did not end with a conviction. Generally, once your case has been dismissed or ended in an acquittal, you can immediately begin the process of expunging records related to your case. Our Egg Harbor Township expungement attorneys can help you begin the process right away.
How Long Do Expungements Take for Juveniles in New Jersey?
Juveniles adjudicated delinquent can also have their records expunged. Because juveniles are often much younger than their adult counterparts, they do not have to wait quite as long to get their records expunged. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-4.1(b)(1), a juvenile in New Jersey can expunge their record after 3 years from the date they were discharged from legal custody or supervision.
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-5, young people convicted or adjudicated delinquent of minor drug offenses, including possession and use of a controlled substance, may have their records expunged after 1 year. If you were 21 or younger when you were found guilty or adjudicated delinquent of a drug offense, our Mays Landing expungement lawyers can help you clear your record.
How Long Does the Expungement Process Take in New Jersey?
While the waiting period for expungements may take a long time in some cases, the overall process adds even more time. Most expungements do not happen automatically. A petition for an expungement must be reviewed and considered by the courts before it can be approved. Even if a person meets all the criteria for expungement eligibility, there might be factors that give a court pause when deciding whether to grant the petition. In some cases, petitioners must appear in court at a hearing before a judge.
If a petition is granted, there is still more work to be done. If you are granted an expungement, you should receive information that must be forwarded to certain government agencies that maintain your records. Once these agencies receive copies of your expungement orders, they must seal your records in their systems. The entire process often takes months to complete from start to finish, and our New Jersey expungement lawyers will be by your side each step of the way.
Contact Our New Jersey Expungement Attorneys for a Free Case Review
If you were previously convicted of a crime and now wish to have your record wiped clean, our South Jersey expungement attorneys can help you get started. For a free case review to determine if you are eligible for an expungement, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.