If you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense, then chances are, you know it follows you virtually everywhere. It may impact your ability to get certain jobs, certain housing, acceptance into schools, or even your eligibility for certain loans. If you still feel the impact of a bad decision you made a long time ago and have since turned your life around, then you may be looking into the expungement process and what it can do for you. Here are some of the most common questions regarding potential expungement:
What crimes are not eligible for expungements?
If you are seeking expungement, it is important that you know only certain crimes are potentially eligible for expungement. Here are some of the crimes that are not eligible for expungement in New Jersey:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- The distribution, sale, or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance
What are some of the factors that could contribute to my eligibility?
There are several scenarios that may constitute expungement. These are as following:
- Those who were arrested for a crime but were never convicted, regardless of the crime’s level
- Generally, the possession of only one felony is eligible for expungement. However, there may be some circumstances that allow for more than one felony expungement
- An individual may have up to 3 disorderly persons convictions (if they have been convicted of a felony) and up to 4 if they have not been
- Juvenile offenses can be expunged after 3 years
It is also important to keep in mind that the waiting period for individuals trying to expunge a nonviolent felony has recently been reduced to 6 years. New Jersey’s laws were changed in October 2018, so it is important that you hire a lawyer who is familiar and up-to-date with the changes that were made.
What is the expungement process like?
The expungement process is complicated and exhaustive. Vast amounts of paperwork will need filing, so you need to hire an attorney who is meticulous. You attorney will need to obtain all of your criminal records that you wish to have expunged from either the Superior Court Criminal Case Management Office where the arrest took place, or through the attorney that originally handled the case. Here are the additional aspects of the expungement process:
- Filing the Petition for Expungement, the Order for Hearing, and the Expungement Order
- Writing a cover letter detailing all of the documents the court will file
- Distribute copies of these files to any government agency that was involved in your case
- Attend the hearing to obtain a decision on the expungement petition
Contact an experienced Bergen County attorney
Expungement can be an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. If you believe you are eligible for expungement, contact an experienced lawyer who would be happy to guide you through the process.