Basics of New Jersey Expungement Law
Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Expungement Law Attorney
Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of the Hanlon Niemann law firm are experienced and trusted expungement law attorneys committed to helping New Jersey individuals and their families when faced with an expungement issue in accordance with the highest standards of the legal profession.
Do you have a prior arrest or conviction that you do not want people to know about? Many good people have a criminal record because of a mistake they made when they were younger and immature, exposing them to potential embarrassment every time someone runs a background check. An expungement eliminates this. The process effectively seals all records of complaints, arrests, warrants, processing records, commitments, fingerprints, photographs, “rap sheets”, and judicial docket records.
Additionally, one can apply to have their DNA expunged from government database if their case was later reversed or dismissed. If granted, the State must immediately erase all records of the petitioner’s DNA and any other information that may identify the person from the State databank.
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Benefits of Having Your Record Expunged in New Jersey
A criminal record showing you were arrested or convicted may hurt your chances when applying for a job or attempting to secure credit. If you are applying for a job requiring a professional license or security clearance, you may be disqualified automatically. These issues, along with the simple embarrassment of having to explain your criminal record every time anyone runs a simple background check on you, can be quite frustrating. Because a record of your arrests are kept as well, this will be the case even if the charges against you were dismissed, you received a conditional discharge, or the court allowed you to enter a Pre-Trial Intervention program. Without getting your record expunged, you may be forced to make overly embarrassing disclosures to potential employers, lenders, and even spouses.
If you successfully have an arrest or conviction expunged from your record, and someone asks you whether you have ever been arrested or convicted with a crime, you are legally entitled to answer, “No”. Additionally, if anybody runs a criminal background check, the results will come up as “No Criminal Record Found”. Keep in mind that although not many, there are a few exceptions that require you to disclose a former arrest or conviction, even if you have had your record expunged. These exceptions include applying for a law enforcement position or a position within the court system, if you are currently facing a new criminal charge, or if you are seeking a second or subsequent expungement or diversion program. If you are not involved with any of these exceptions, you are legally allowed to state that you do not have any arrests or convictions.
What offenses are ineligible to have your NJ record expunged?
If you have any of the following offenses, you are not allowed under present NJ law to get an expungement:
- More than one felony conviction or one felony conviction along with more than two disorderly persons offenses.
- More than three disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses.
- A prior charge (not the current one) dismissed by way of a Pre-Trial Intervention or Conditional Discharge.
- A conviction of any of the following specific felonies under the New Jersey Criminal Code is not eligible for an expungement:
- Criminal Homicide, except death by auto
- Aggravated Sexual Assault; Luring or Enticing
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact against a victim who is a minor
- Criminal Sexual Contact against a victim who is not a minor and offender is not the parent of the victim; Criminal Restraint; False Imprisonment
- Arson, related offenses
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
- Perjury; False Swearing
- Conspiracies or attempts to commit any of these crimes
Expungement of a Juvenile Delinquency
You are eligible to have one juvenile plea or conviction of delinquency or arrest expunged as long as it meets the requirements pertaining to an adult conviction or arrest for the same crimes that are mentioned above. Additionally, you can also have your entire Juvenile Record expunged if:
- Five years have gone by since you were released from custody or supervision;
- You have not had an adult or juvenile conviction in the past five years;
- You have never been an adult;
- You have never had an adult offense that would not be eligible for expungement if you had been an adult;
- You have never had a adult offense expunged; and
- You have never had an adult offense dismissed following the completion of a Pre-Trial Intervention program or Conditional Discharge
Special Provisions Benefitting Juvenile Drug Offenders
New Jersey laws provide smaller waiting periods for juveniles to have crimes relating to drugs expunged from their record. If you were under 21 when you committed either Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance or the Sale, Distribution, or Possession with Intent to Distribute less than 25 grams or marijuana or five grams of hashish, you do not have to wait the required ten or five year waiting period as an adult would. You are eligible to have the arrest or conviction expunged as long as one year has passed since you were released from custody or you successfully completed probation or parole without any violations, and you have never had another conviction or Pre-Trial Intervention or Conditional Discharge.
If you have any questions and wish to begin your New Jersey expungement, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll be able to speak to him confidentially and privately. Even better, you’ll find him easy to talk to and confide in.
Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a NJ Expungement Law Attorney
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