Sealed vs Expunged Records: What is the Difference?

When a person commits a crime, they have the potential to receive a criminal record that can follow them for the rest of their life. A criminal record can impact a person’s future in a variety of ways, as it can come up in background checks done by prospective employers, credit agencies, landlords, or government officials. It is because of this that the state of New Jersey offers ways to protect criminal records by having them sealed or expunged. Continue reading below to learn more and retain the services of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney for help with your case.

What is Expungement?

When a person expunges their criminal record, it clears an arrest or conviction from their record. While this is true, it does not apply to any arrest or conviction. The individual is required to meet certain criteria and some crimes cannot be expunged. This can include murder, robbery, kidnapping, arson, sexual assault, perjury, or the possession/distribution of controlled substances. There is a waiting period of six years that is required in order to expunge a crime from a record. 

What is a Sealed Record?

While expungement clears an arrest or conviction from a person’s record, sealing a record only gives the appearance that it was cleared. Essentially, a sealed record is removed from the public record. This means it is no longer available to be viewed by the public and individuals who conduct background checks cannot view the record even though it technically still exists. However, while this is true, it is important to note that sealed records can still be accessed or re-opened through a court order. 

How Can a Person Benefit From a Sealed or Expunged Record?

When a criminal record is sealed or expunged, the individual no longer has to worry about explaining the mistakes of their past or having it discovered by other parties. This can provide them with various opportunities that they may have not had otherwise. This can include a job, obtaining a loan or credit applications, renting a home, applying for a gun permit, etc. 

Contact our Firm

Kevin T. Conway is an experienced Bergen County criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need an aggressive criminal lawyer, contact The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway for a free consultation.

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