Individuals who committed lower-level crimes may seek expungement of a criminal record to help them live full lives in society and put their criminal behavior behind them. This process is relatively simple and can have real benefits for ex-offenders, though it may require assistance from an attorney.
The Expungement Process in New Jersey
Some crimes cannot be expunged. Among the crimes ineligible for expungement include, but are not limited to:
- kidnapping and false imprisonment;
- aggravated sexual assault;
- criminal sexual contact;
- endangering the welfare of a child;
- manufacturing or possessing child pornography;
- human trafficking;
- terrorism; and
- crimes against public officials.
DUIs cannot be expunged because they are technically motor vehicle offenses — not criminal offenses — in New Jersey.
If it’s been 10 years since any of the last actions of your case, except making payments on the fine, then expungement can commence. The idea is that expungement shouldn’t be held back for a lack of ability to pay the fine.
Additionally, if it’s been five years since the last action on the offense, the offender has not committed another crime in those five years and the discharge is in the public’s interest, then expungement can commence. The time limits are also five years for disorderly persons charges (misdemeanors), two years for municipal ordinance violations, six months for conditional discharges and no time limit for dismissals.
To expunge a record, an applicant submits a Petition for Expungement to the court. A hearing is scheduled usually 35 to 60 days later but may take longer, depending on the court’s schedule. The judge then will proceed to consider if he or she should grant your expungement based on the details of the case.
What do I need to expunge my records?
It’s important to file all the appropriate paperwork and take the necessary steps to get the record expunged. You must acquire copies of your arrest records, court records and other reports pertaining to your arrest as you submit your Petition to the court. You and your attorney will collect and review these records to make sure they are accurate. Submitting inaccurate records can harm your case and may result in denial of your Petition for Expungement. There is also a $52.50 fee for filing to get a criminal record expunged.
Benefits of Expunging Your Records
After expungement, you truthfully can answer on a job application or other document that you’ve never been arrested or convicted of a crime. It’s sort of a legal fiction because the judicial system and other agencies may see details of the conviction in some cases, but answering this way does not count as perjury or any other violation.
Video: Criminal Record Expungement
Dash Farrow, LLP is committed to helping individuals with a criminal record that qualifies for expungement. Contact our office at (856) 235-8300 or contact us online to set up an appointment to speak with an attorney about your expungement case.