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, New Jersey state law allows people to expunge most felony criminal convictions after 10 years have passed since the completion of the sentence. Recently enacted laws make it possible to expunge some felony convictions if at least five (5) years have passed since the completion of the sentence, and the individual seeking expungement has not been arrested of any subsequent offenses, and the court finds expungement is in the public interest given his/her character and conduct. A disorderly person conviction may be expunged if five (5) years have passed since the completion of the sentence. A recently enacted law makes it possible for an individual to apply for an accelerated expungement of a disorderly persons conviction if at least three (3) years have past since the completion of the sentence, and the individual has not been convicted of any subsequent offenses and the court finds expungement is in the public interest given his/her character and conduct. A municipal ordinance violation may be expunged after at least two (2) years have passed since the completion of the sentence, and any charge resulting in an outright dismissal may be expunged immediately. With an expungement, you can confidently tell a prospective employer that your record is clean, and a background check will confirm this.
We work with clients who wish to make a fresh start, helping to file an expungement petition with the court. Having assisted numerous clients in this way, we understand the procedures involved and the issues that can potentially complicate matters. If you have multiple offenses on your record, the process becomes more complex. In addition, there are crimes that simply cannot be expunged from a criminal record.
You should be aware that even in cases where you were found not guilty or where the charges were dismissed, a criminal background check will reveal a record of your arrest. These records should be expunged, and a petition for expungement can be filed as soon as the case is dismissed or a not guilty finding is entered. However, for cases resulting in dismissal as a result of the successful completion of pre-trial intervention, or a period of supervisory treatment (conditional discharge), a petition of expungement can be filed six months after the dismissal.
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, Superintendant 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