New Jersey laws regarding expungement of a criminal record are complex. Some offenders aren’t eligible for expungement. Expunging a criminal record means the record is wiped completely clean. Unlike a sealed record, no one can view the previous violator’s record after expungement—because it no longer exists. Expunging the criminal record in New Jersey is a truly fresh start.
The following factors are used to determine which offenses may qualify for an expungement in New Jersey:
- The total number of convictions he or she received in the past, along with the kinds of offenses he or she was convicted of: Was he or she convicted of an ordinance violation or a disorderly persons offense, or a crime?
- The person was arrested but not convicted, or the person was arrested and convicted.
- The person has had previous criminal charges dismissed due to a New Jersey diversionary program, e.g. pretrial intervention or conditional discharge.
- The individual was granted expungement in the past.
- The date on which the individual completed the previous sentence, e.g. fines payment or completion of probation.
If you’ve been previously arrested and convicted more than once, New Jersey laws concerning your expungement-eligibility requires an experienced New Jersey expungement attorney. This isn’t a do-it-yourself task.
If you’re not sure of the number of times you’ve been arrested and convicted, or you aren’t sure of the final results of a trial, you’ll need to obtain a criminal history record.
The period of time you must wait for expungement depends on the offense type for which you were convicted. For instance:
- If you were arrested but the case was dismissed, there’s no waiting period.
- If the case was dismissed after you successfully completed a New Jersey diversion program, you must wait six months to petition for expungement.
- If you were convicted as a “young drug offender” under the age of 21, you must wait one year.
- If you were convicted of a petty disorderly persons offense, you must usually wait five years. In some instances, you might be eligible for an early pathway expungement after a three-year waiting period.
- If you were convicted of a crime, you must typically wait 10 years. You may be eligible in some instances for an early pathway expungement (five years).
If you’ve successfully completed New Jersey Drug Court, above-referenced time periods might not apply. At your completion of New Jersey Drug Court, you may become eligible to expunge your full criminal record—regardless of the number of convictions on the record or the time since you were last convicted.
Many people say that expungement is priceless. With a clean record, you have the option to go to school, get licensed or certified in a productive career, or accept a good job from any employer. Contact The Law Offices of John W. Tumelty to learn more about petitioning for expungement in New Jersey at 609.385.4010 now.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.