A criminal conviction in New Jersey can cost you significant fines and time behind bars. However, the real impact of a conviction can last forever. A black mark on your permanent record can keep you from getting a good job, a mortgage or lease and can tarnish your reputation.
For many years, it was possible to seek a record expungement for most past convictions. The upside of an expungement, of course, is that once secured, the offender could put the mistake in their past where it belonged and focus on the present and future without concern about their past coming back to haunt them.
Recently, however, the NJ Supreme Court announced a decision that is likely to have a significant impact on the state’s expungement laws. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 through N.J.S.A. 2C:52-32, there are specific guidelines for expungement. Specifically, the statues outline who is eligible based on type of conviction.
It’s important to note, as well, that expungement does not mean that your record will be deleted. It does, however, isolate the particular criminal records and prevent them from showing up in certain searches of NJ’s criminal database. There are also certain crimes that cannot be expunged, including:
The NJ Supreme Court decided that only crimes that occurred during “single, uninterrupted” events are eligible for potential expungement. In the written decision, Justice Anne Patterson stated NJ’s expungement law does not provide relief for anyone who committed “one or more crimes closely related in circumstances or in time.”
Getting an expungement of a criminal record can help you put your mistakes behind you. It increases your chances of getting the job you want and securing and retaining a professional license. Further, with an expunged record, you can look toward the future without a cloud hanging over your head.
If you or someone you love has been convicted of a crime in New Jersey and have served your sentence, contact experienced criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty to learn more about the benefits of petitioning the court for an expungement.