Most people know that once a person is convicted of a crime, that conviction is permanently reflected in their criminal record. Many people do not realize that some convictions can be expunged from your record.
An expungement is when certain information, like a conviction, is removed from someone’s record. Not only is the information removed, but it is also treated as though it never existed. Not every crime is eligible for expungement, and certain criteria must be met for an expungement petition to be approved. There are various methods of expungement. One method is to have specific convictions expunged by petition. Another is to wipe your whole record clean with a single petition. Other information can also be expunged, like details about your arrest and records regarding protective orders.
Your criminal record does not have to hold you back forever, and our Atlantic City expungement attorneys can help you get a fresh start. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free evaluation of your case.
Crimes Eligible for Expungement in New Jersey
Various crimes and combinations of offenses can be expunged from your criminal record. A person might be convicted of indictable crimes or disorderly persons offenses, which are like felonies and misdemeanors, respectively. The kind of offense on your record determines how our Atlantic County expungement attorneys help you petition for an expungement.
Expunging Indictable Crimes
If you have a conviction for an indictable crime, you must petition for an expungement under N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-2. Under this law, you may be eligible for expungement if you meet the following criteria:
- You have a conviction for one indictable crime,
- You were convicted of 1 indictable crime and no more than 3 disorderly persons offenses, or
- You want to expunge one or more crimes and one or more disorderly persons offenses from the same judgment or are closely related.
It is typically easier to expunge multiple offenses if they are from the same judgment, not separate crimes and separate judgments. Convictions not necessarily from the same judgment but very closely related or interdependent on each other may also be expunged together. Typically, you can only petition to expunge convictions no less than 5 years after completing all sentencing requirements.
Keep in mind that some offenses are never eligible for expungement. Very serious violent crimes are often ineligible. Our Cape May expungement attorneys can go over your case and determine if you meet eligibility requirements.
Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses
If you have convictions for disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses, you can petition for an expungement under N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-3. This law applies to people who have no indictable crimes on their criminal records. You might be eligible for expungement if you have one or more disorderly persons convictions but not more than 5 convictions. Like with indictable crimes, you become eligible 5 years after completing all sentencing requirements.
What is New Jersey’s Clean Slate Law?
If you are ineligible for an expungement under the laws above, all hope is not lost. In 2019, New Jersey passed the “Clean Slate” law. The law helps former defendants wipe their entire criminal records clean if they meet the right conditions. Under this law, our Egg Harbor Township expungement lawyers can help you get a totally fresh start by clearing your entire record.
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-5.3, you can petition for a clean slate expungement if you have a combination of indictable crimes and disorderly persons offenses that do not meet the ordinary criteria for expungement. The trade-off is that it takes longer to become eligible for a clean slate expungement. You must have a clean record for at least 10 years following the completion of all your sentencing requirements.
How to Expunge Crimes from Your Record in New Jersey
The expungement process is not automatic, and you must file a petition with the New Jersey Superior Court to get the process started. Any petitions that do not meet all statutory eligibility requirements will be denied. Even if you meet all the requirements, the court can still deny your petition. Our Mays Landing expungement attorneys can help you prepare your petition and hopefully get your record expunged.
Filing your petition for an expungement requires copies of your criminal record and various other documents and forms. All these forms must be properly filled out and submitted if your petition is to be granted. If the petition is granted, we must then serve notice on all necessary government agencies. This is the only way these agencies will know your records are expunged. Once they have been notified, these agencies will seal your records, and anyone inquiring about your records will be told they do not exist.
Each step is crucial, and mistakes could cost you a huge opportunity. While a lawyer is not required by law to help you, it is a good idea to get an expungement attorney familiar with the complicated process of filing an expungement petition.
Can Information Besides Crimes Be Expunged in New Jersey?
More than just convictions can be expunged. A lot of other information surrounding the conviction can also be sealed along with records of the conviction. Even if you were never actually convicted of any criminal offense, records about the investigation can be sealed. Our New Jersey expungement lawyers can help you expunge any other information in addition to a conviction.
For example, records of your arrest, search warrants, protective orders, and a trial can be expunged from your record. This is important for people who might be subject to background checks for jobs. A background check could turn up an arrest that did not lead to a conviction, and you could lose an important job opportunity.
Call Our New Jersey Expungement Attorneys for Help
Our New Jersey expungement attorneys can help you start over with a clean record if you were previously convicted of a criminal offense. For a free case evaluation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.