Expungements in New Jersey
Expunging Records in New Jersey
An expungement is the removal of all files relating to a person’s arrest, apprehension, detention, trial, or disposition of any non-traffic offense within the criminal or juvenile justice system. Removal of these files eliminates the documentation regarding the particular incident that would otherwise impinge on a person’s record, affecting his or her ability to get a good job and pass a background check, among other things. Even if you were not charged with a crime or if your charges were dismissed, the initial arrest or apprehension for the crime is still part of your record.
Generally, arrests and convictions are eligible, but both vary in regards to the process of how to get them removed and when you can do so. A dismissed charge can be eligible immediately, unless it was done so through a diversion program or a conditional discharge. Under those circumstances, the wait is 6 months before the process can begin. It is a 2 year waiting period for municipal ordinance violations. Any other offenses, including disorderly persons and indictables, are subject to a 5 year waiting period.
However, there are some offenses that are not eligible for this relief. Those unavailable to seek this relief include motor vehicle code violations (which include DWIs) and any offenses after a certain number of convictions. Trying to expunge a charge after previously committing multiple others of the same offense may result in the inability to seek such relief for that charge and any others in future.
The Expungement Process in New Jersey
The process for seeking an expungement can seem simple but can turn into a very complex and complicated situation. The first step after the required waiting period is a petition listing the details and outcomes associated with your previous arrests or court cases. Pursuant to the New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:52-7, the petition must also include the following:
- Petitioner’s date of birth
- Petitioner’s date(s) of arrest(s)
- The statute(s) and offense(s) for which the petitioner was arrested/convicted
- The original indictment, summons or complaint number
- Petitioner’s date of conviction or date of the disposition of the matter
- The court’s disposition and the punishment imposed
(Depending on the seriousness of the offense, additional information may be required, including transcripts of original court proceedings)
The next step requires you to file your petition with the Superior Court in the county where the arrest of conviction occurred. Once the court has your petition, it is up to the judge to grant or deny it.
If the judge grants the petition, there are a few steps needed before the record will be physically expunged. You must serve a copy of the signed Order upon all courts, law enforcement agencies, supervising authorities, and places of confinement that have records of the arrest or conviction. Once all those locations receive and process the Order, the criminal history will be removed. Generally, the New Jersey State Police will send a letter of acknowledgement, usually between 5-16 weeks, that they received and processed the Order to delete any history regarding that charge. This letter is usually sent to the attorney, a good reason to seek legal assistance when filing for an expungement. This knowledge will make it clear that the relevant agencies received notice of the Order and the expungement has taken full affect.
Expungement Attorney in New Jersey
Seeking an expungement can be a weight lifted off your shoulders, relieving you of having to worry about a criminal record. Though the process may seem straightforward, having the assistance of an experienced attorney will ensure that the proper process is followed and that all the paperwork is completely correctly. The nuances and the functionality of the legal system can be confusing and daunting. The Law Office of Edward V. Murachanian can provide you with the help you need to clean your criminal record and get on with your life. Call today for a free consultation at 732-477-3030.