New Jersey Expungement of Crimes, Indictable Offenses and Felonies
In New Jersey, an expungement is a legal process which results in an “order of expungement” requiring courts and law enforcement agencies to erase, remove and isolate all the records of a person’s arrests and the dispositions of criminal charges. Expungements help to remove the stain of past mistakes in an otherwise law-abiding, productive life, and help good people get their life back on track. The records are sealed; they can be accessed only under rare circumstances.Why Expunge a Felony
An expungement is a valuable tool to help you move forward with your life. An expungement can remove many barriers. For instance, it will help with employment because you will no longer have to answer that you have been convicted of a crime on most job applications. An expungement allows a person to say that the arrest or conviction never happened. In effect, an expungement says, for most purposes, that the arrest or conviction did not occur.
For instance, you need not disclose it when applying for a job, when applying for a medical or nursing license, when adopting a child, etc. There are very few exceptions, including applications for law enforcement or court positions, or when applying for a license to be a lawyer – this does not mean you won’t get the job or be admitted to the bar, just that it must be disclosed so it can be considered. Another time it must be disclosed is when applying for a conditional discharge when a prior conditional discharge has been expunged. An expungement can remove many barriers. For instance, it will help with employment because you will no longer have to answer that you have been convicted of a crime on most job applications.
Expunging your felony also has other benefits, such as restoring your voting privileges, helping you obtain a firearms license, obtain credit, increasing your chances of being allowed to enlist in the military, removing liability against volunteer work, allowing you not to disclose the charges on college applications, as well as many other benefits.
In short, an expungement is a way to stop a past error of judgment from haunting you.Which “Crimes” or “Felonies” May be Expunged
In New Jersey, “felonies” are known simply as “crimes,” and most can be expunged. However, many serious felonies cannot be expunged. For instance, homicide, arson, robbery, arson, sex crimes, distribution or manufacture of controlled dangerous substances, perjury and bribery cannot be expunged under New Jersey law. The details are quite complex, so you should check with an attorney about whether or not you can expunge a particular crime.
However, charges that did not result in convictions, regardless of the nature of the crime, can be expunged.How Long Before “Crimes” or “Felonies” Can Be Expunged
Crimes or felonies which resulted in a conviction can generally be expunged ten years after you have completed your sentence, paid your fine, or completed parole or probation, whichever comes last. There is also a “fast track” to expunging felonies; a felony may be expunged after five years if the person has not been convicted of even minor criminal offenses, and the judge finds that expungement is in the “public interest” based on a number of factors, including “the applicant's character and conduct since conviction.” The purpose is to help one time offenders who have lived crime-free, productive lives after their convictions reintegrate themselves into society. However, the requirements for receiving a fast track expungement are high and complex.
The waiting period for dismissals after completing pre-trial intervention (PTI) or the requirements for a conditional discharge is six months. There is no waiting period for charges which did not result in a conviction.
Once the waiting period has expired, you should contact one of our experienced expungement attorneys. We will take your information, help you get your criminal record from the law enforcement authorities, and interview you (this can sometimes be done by phone if you are out of state). Bring as much documentation as you can on your old charges. We will then prepare a petition to be filed with the court. All of the courts and agencies in the jurisdictions where the offenses happened will need to receive copies. The court will then set a date for a hearing.
The prosecuting authorities have the opportunity to object, for reasons such as additional charges, the waiting period has not finished, etc. Objections are not typical, however, we will aggressively fight on your behalf, when the objection is received. We should normally be able to tell you if objections are likely. After the hearing (often done on the papers we submit, without you having to appear), the court will normally order the expungment. The entire process normally takes 90 to 150 days.Contact Us
Our attorneys assist people in New Jersey expunge felonies throughout the state. To obtain more information, please call (973) 890-0004 or e-mail us.