Criminal Record in NJ? You May be Eligible to Expunge It!
Being charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey can negatively impact your life in a variety of ways, with ramifications that extend long after the case itself is resolved. Having a criminal record can significantly impact your employment opportunities, prevent you from coaching a youth sports team, and even thwart your efforts to adopt a child.
In fact, even if your case was ultimately dismissed, the arrest and the original charge will remain on your criminal record. Fortunately, a legal solution may be available through what is known as an expungement, a service that we provide for clients at The Tormey Law Firm every day.
Unbeknownst to many New Jersey residents, documentation of your arrest, criminal complaints issued against you, and even convictions for certain offenses, may not need to remain on your criminal record. By completing the necessary procedure associated with the expugement process, which entails filing of an expungement petition with the Superior Court of New Jersey, as well as a series of subsequent steps, we have assisted many of our clients in expunging their criminal records without them ever needing to appear in court.
For petitioners who meet the necessary criteria, a Superior Court Judge may sign an order of expungement, essentially eliminating any documentation pertaining to the offense or offenses listed in said expungement. After the court enters the expungement order, an individual is legally permitted to respond to any questions regarding these previous arrests, charges, or convictions with the answer “No.” Further, employers, agencies, or others seeking to verify this statement will be able to do so by a running a criminal background check, which will register as clean. Notably, an exception to this rule applies to those seeking employment in law enforcement or the judicial branch of government.
Otherwise, you may be eligible to expunge a municipal ordinance, a conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, dismissed charges achieved upon completion of a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or conditional discharge, or even a felony conviction. There are specific eligibility requirements associated with each of these categories, the details of which are listed below.
In order to be eligible to expunge a municipal ordinance, you must meet the following requirements: you have never been convicted of a felony, you have 2 or fewer convictions for disorderly persons and/or petty disorderly persons offenses on your current record, and 2 years have passed since your conviction for the municipal ordinance, payment of a fine, or completion of probation (whichever is latest).
If you are seeking to expunge a conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, you are eligible if you meet the following criteria: 5 years have passed since your original conviction, you have never been convicted of a felony, and you have paid all court-imposed fines.
In cases in which your charges were dismissed after you successfully completed a diversionary program such as PTI, conditional discharge, or conditional dismissal, you are eligible for an expungement 6 months after the dismissal of the charges.
The expungement of a felony charge is slightly more complex, as there are specific indictable felony charges that may be expunged and others that are ineligible for expungement under New Jersey law. Among the ineligible charges are those involving murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, and robbery.
However, if your felony charge falls under the list of eligible offenses, then you must meet the following criteria in order to be fully eligible: you only have 1 indictable charge on your record, there are 2 or fewer disorderly persons offenses on your record, and at least 5 years have passed since you completed probation, were released from jail, paid any applicable fines, or were convicted of the offense (whichever is latest).
For more information, contact The Tormey Law Firm anytime at (201)-556-1570. We are happy to provide consultations free of charge.