Imagine that you are applying for a new job. Your prospects look bright – you have achieved academic success and personal satisfaction. You attend an interview for a position and are filing out the application form until something on the page stops you. This job requires a clean criminal record. Your mind races back to that time in college when you were arrested for shoplifting or drug possession. While today your life is productive and free of the reckless behaviors of adolescence, your past may still haunt you, marring your future. In today’s world, most jobs, whether specialized, those in-home health care or those that require a commercial driver’s license, often require a clean criminal record. Even though you have committed no crime in recent years, the presence of a past conviction on your criminal records can have a debilitating effect on your job prospects. Perhaps you feel your past will continue to haunt you and limit your career prospects. Fortunately, most arrest records and convictions can be expunged. In fact, a new law greatly expands the number and types of cases that may be expunged. If you were not eligible previously, you may be eligible now. As of June 15, 2020, the following may be expunged:
- An indictable conviction and up to 3 disorderly persons convictions
- An indictable conviction (even if you have a prior indictable conviction)
- More than one indictable conviction if they are listed on the same judgement of conviction.
- A combination of indictable convictions and/or disorderly persons offenses if the convictions were closely related and took place within a short period of time
- A combination of indictable convictions and/or disorderly persons offenses if 10 years has passed from the date of the most recent conviction, termination of probation or release from prison- whichever is later
- Up to 5 disorderly persons convictions
- Unlimited convictions for certain marijuana charges
While crimes have historically required a 10-year waiting period before they were expunged, major changes to New Jersey expungement law increased eligibility. The new law allows anyone convicted of certain crimes to apply for expungement five years after the date of conviction, termination of probation, payment of fines, or release from prison – whichever is later. Also, the law allows for an earlier expungement if clearing the criminal record is for compelling reasons. The Court will consider the nature of the offense, the person’s character and his or her conduct since the offense was committed.
Additionally, certain people convicted of selling or distributing drugs, or possession with the intent to sell drugs, may be able to have their criminal past taken off their record.
You should be aware that any arrests resulting in findings of “not guilty” are in outright dismissals are presently eligible for expedited expungement provided that an expungement petition is submitted to the court, in court, at the time off disposition.
The expungement process takes anywhere from five to seven months to complete. A court appearance is only required if a party, like the Attorney General, Chief of Police, Superintendent of the State Police, objects to the expungement. While objections to expungement petitions do happen, they are extremely rare.
When you meet with us to discuss your case, we will give you a candid assessment, and where permissible by New Jersey Statute, help you expunge your records so you will be able to honestly say that you have never been arrested or convicted of a crime.
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1814 Route 70 East
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003
1 Eves Drive
Marlton, NJ 08053