Expungement of New Jersey Criminal Records
Expungement of criminal records is the ultimate second chance provided under New Jersey law to those who have been arrested and/or convicted of a crime. Once you obtain an order of expungement, it is as if whatever was on your record never happened.
An order of expungement allows you to legally answer “No” to questions about arrests or criminal convictions on applications and in interviews for jobs, loans, scholarships, gun permits etc.
Expungement removes criminal records from public access, which means they will not show up in background checks (unless you apply for jobs in law enforcement, correction or the N.J. state judicial branch).
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help you determine your eligibility and proceed with the complex process required to obtain an order of expungement in New Jersey. Filing a petition for expungement requires completing and submitting multiple forms to the Superior Court in the county where the arrest or prosecution took place. The petition must convince a judge to issue the order. Then you must distribute the order to multiple organizations for it to be carried out.
Our veteran New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can prepare a petition for expungement in your name if you are eligible, and guarantee that it is accurate and complete. We can then distribute the judge’s order. Expungement of your arrest or criminal records can be a big step forward in your life. Don’t risk a mistake that could cause unnecessary delay or denial.
Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your record and eligibility for expungement. We have nine law offices and relevant contacts in Superior Courts across New Jersey. Contact us now to learn how we can help you move toward a brighter future.
Why Seek Expungement of N.J. Criminal Records?
In theory, if a person has been arrested and charged with a crime, anyone may review their record. In most cases, an arrest and subsequent court proceedings, convictions, fines, prison sentences, etc., are public record. They are available for inspection even if charges were dropped or you were found not guilty.
In our digital age, prospective employers, schools, mortgage companies, and others find it easy to conduct criminal background checks and review applicants’ records.
A criminal record can stop you from obtaining:
- Employment — even with New Jersey’s “ban the box” Opportunity to Compete Act, which limits inquiries into a job applicant’s criminal record
- New Jersey firearm permit
- Federal student loans
- Private educational scholarships
- Rent-subsidized housing and other social services
- Bank loans and credit cards
If you are like tens of thousands of people in our state who have a criminal record, you may benefit from the opportunity New Jersey legislators have provided for offenders who have turned their lives around. It is an opportunity the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall would be proud to help you take advantage of.
Clean Your Slate of Criminal Arrest or Conviction in New Jersey
Expungement of criminal records in New Jersey effectively eliminates any record of your name regarding an offense within the criminal justice system on file with any:
- Detention or correctional facility (jail or prison)
- Law enforcement agency
- Criminal justice agency
This includes all:
- Commitment orders
- Processing records
- Photographs (mug shots)
- Index cards
- “Rap sheets”
- Judicial docket records
Once an order for expungement is granted, any detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the adult or juvenile criminal justice system in New Jersey never happened as far as the State of New Jersey is concerned. More technically, all such records are extracted and isolated from public access.
Expungement is a powerful tool, but it is not automatic. You must qualify, and you must make a formal request to a judge to order the expungement.
Do You Qualify to Have Your N.J. Records Expunged?
New Jersey law allows you to petition for expungement of criminal records after a specified amount time and if you have paid all fines levied, been released from incarceration and/or completed probation or parole satisfactorily.
However, the law is aimed at clearing the records or those who were never found guilty or who have learned from their mistakes or misdeeds.
If you have been convicted of more than one indictable offense, you cannot have your records expunged. If you have been found guilty of a disorderly person or petty disorderly person municipal ordinance more than twice, your record cannot be expunged. You must also not face any pending criminal charges.
You may petition for expungement:
- Immediately for charges that were dropped
- 6 months after completing a diversionary program (e.g., New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention program, or PTI) after charges were dropped
- 2 years after completing sentencing for violating a municipal ordinance
- 5 years after completing sentencing for conviction in an indictable offense
- 5 years after completing sentencing for a crime committed as a juvenile
Records of certain serious crimes cannot be expunged, including committing, attempting, aiding, assisting or concealing:
- Producing or possessing chemical weapons, biological agents or nuclear or radiological devices
Records of motor vehicle offenses, including DWI convictions, cannot be expunged. Crimes connected to service in elective or appointed public office cannot be expunged. Civil orders cannot be expunged.
A conviction for possession, sale or distribution of illicit drugs cannot be expunged unless the charge was for 25 grams or less of marijuana or 5 grams or less of hashish, or it was otherwise a minor (third or fourth-degree) offense.
If you are unsure about a crime on your record from long ago or an arrest that never resulted in charges, or anything else about your criminal record, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. Our attorneys can find answers to your questions quickly and follow up with every available course of action for you.
Many New Jersey residents have petty crimes and arrests in their past that went nowhere, and have to explain and be embarrassed by them again and again. Others have turned their lives around only to run into policy or prejudice that stops them from getting ahead once their record is discovered.
Call us now. Our criminal defense attorneys will explore every opportunity to remove your arrest or convictions from public availability.
We’ll Do the Work Required to Petition for Expungement
Our attorneys and staff can handle the records search and paperwork required to seek expungement of your New Jersey criminal records for you. It is possible to do it yourself, but it is a complex and time-consuming process.
Asking a judge to expunge your criminal records requires completing a petition that explains exactly what you are asking and presenting the information required in a specific format. This includes:
- The date of your arrest as an adult or when you were taken into custody as a juvenile
- The statutes and the offenses for which you were arrested, taken into custody as a juvenile, convicted or adjudicated delinquent
- The original indictment, accusation, summons, docket number, warrant number or complaint number — all of them if there was more than one
- The date of the disposition, which could be the date of the conviction or adjudication of delinquency, date of not guilty verdict, or the date charges were dismissed
- The specific punishment or other disposition
Once you have gathered appropriate information, you must complete the following forms and file the original and two copies of each with the court:
- Petition for Expungement, stating that you are requesting an Expungement Order and why you qualify
- Order for Hearing, which is used by the judge to schedule a hearing
- Expungement Order, which will be signed by the judge if your Petition for Expungement is granted
- Cover Letter, a form letter that describes to the Superior Court Criminal Case Management Office the contents of your package and the purpose of the enclosed forms
You must also include two large self-addressed envelopes with the appropriate postage stamped on each. They will be used to send copies of your filed documents back to you.
There is a filing fee of $52.50. Most offices do not accept personal checks, so you should include a money order or certified check made out to the Treasurer, State of N.J.
Once a hearing is set, you must mail copies (certified mail, return receipt requested) of the Petition for Expungement, Order for Hearing, and the proposed Expungement Order to as many as 10 government agencies that were involved in your case (police, prosecutor, prison warden, parole office, etc.).
After the hearing, which you may be required to attend, you must mail the final order to the same agencies.
Although New Jersey law allows eligible people to have their criminal records expunged, it is not an absolute right. Granting a petition is still up to a judge who only sees it after the entire application has passed scrutiny of the court’s Case Management Office.
In a guide to expungement published by the New Jersey Courts, the first piece of advice is: Try to Get a Lawyer. It also says “even though your records may be eligible for expungement, if you miss any of the required steps, your Petition for Expungement may be denied. In that case, you will have to start over.”
Don’t let a simple mistake derail your legitimate request for relief.
The skilled and dedicated criminal record expungement attorneys of the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can make sure that your petition is complete and accurate, and see to it that your criminal history is expunged. We handle expungement petitions throughout New Jersey.
Ready to Expunge Your N.J. Criminal Records and Move On?
Don’t let a mistake from the past or an arrest that amounted to nothing continue to hurt you. Talk to an attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall about having your New Jersey criminal records expunged.
We have nine offices across New Jersey and are familiar with every Superior Court in the state. We have the knowledge and resources to get this done for you. Schedule a free consultation with our respected New Jersey criminal defense lawyers today to learn how we can make a positive difference in your life.