Why Should I Get an Expungement?
An expungement is an important step for distancing your self from past criminal charges. Anyone who has ever been either charged, arrested or convicted in the State of New Jersey with a violation of any criminal statute or disorderly persons offense may have difficulty when applying for a new job, obtaining credit, trying to rent an apartment obtaining student loans, applying for college or may simply face embarrassment during the course of any routine background check.
With a criminal record or arrest record in New Jersey you may be barred from government jobs and may find it impossible to get a job as a teacher, nurse, lawyer, doctor, securities broker or any job that requires a security clearance or Professional License. Even if your arrest or charge resulted in dismissal, or you were a participant in Pre-Trial Intervention Program or were granted a Conditional Discharge, there is still an arrest record that will show up during a background check.
What Does an Expungement do for me?
The attorneys at Schneider Freiberger have been helping clients obtain expungements of their criminal and arrest records in New Jersey for over 40 years. Dean I. Schneider is a former prosecutor who has helped literally hundreds of individuals clear up their records and pave the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future. With the help of our attorneys we can obtain an Order of Expungement from the Superior Court.
Once we get the Court to enter that Order the offense is deemed never to have happened. You may answer truthfully on any application that you have never been arrested, charged or convicted with any crime or offense in the State of New Jersey. Anyone running a criminal background check on you will come up with the following result: “NO CRIMINAL RECORD FOUND.” The only way anyone can find your criminal past is if you apply for a job as a law enforcement officer or in the judicial branch of the government, if you are facing new criminal charges, or if you are attempting another expungement or trying to get into another diversionary program like PTI (Pre Trial Intervention) or Conditional Discharge.
Am I Eligible for an Expungement in New Jersey?
Expungement of your criminal record is available if:
- You have been arrested and the charges against you have been dismissed.
- You successfully completed Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or the Conditional Discharge Program for a drug offense and six months have gone by.
- You were convicted of a Municipal Ordinance Violation and more than 2 years have gone by since your conviction.
- You were convicted of a Petty Disorderly Persons or Disorderly Persons Offense and more than 5 years have gone by since you paid all your fines or completed your probation.
- You were convicted of an Indictable Crime (Felony) and more than 10 years have gone by since you completed probation or were released from prison and paid all your fines.
- You meet the requirement for the 2010 expansion to the expungement statute It is important to understand that only one indictable crime is expungeable, the only exception to this is if you were convicted of more than one indictable crime arising from the same incident or indictment.
What Would Disqualify me for an Expungement?
You are not eligible for an Expungement if:
- You have more than one indictable crime (felony) conviction. You have one indictable crime conviction and more than two disorderly persons offense convictions.
- Your conviction is for the sale of, distribution of, or possession with intent to distribute drugs (CDS) with the exception of less than 25 grams of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish.
- You have been convicted of more than three disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses.
- You have had an additional charge (not the one you are seeking to have expunged) dismissed by way of Pre-Trial Intervention or Conditional Discharge.
You are not eligible for expungement for the following crimes:
- Criminal Homicide, except death by auto as specified in section 2C:11-5,
- Kidnaping, Luring or Enticing, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Aggravated Criminal
- Sexual Contact, if the victim is a minor, section 2C:14-3b, Criminal Sexual Contact,
if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim, Criminal Restraint, or False Imprisonment.
Other crimes not expungeable are:
- Robbery, Arson and Related Offenses
- Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, Perjury and False Swearing
What if I was a Juvenile when the Crime Happened?
You can have any one Juvenile Adjudication of Delinquency or arrest expunged provided it meets the same criteria for adult expungements. You can also have your entire Juvenile Record expunged if 5 years have gone by since you were released from custody or supervision, you have not had an adult or juvenile conviction in the last 5 years, you have never been convicted of an offense that would not be eligible for expungement if you had been an adult, you have never had an adult offense expunged, and you have never had adult charges dismissed as a result of Pre-Trial Intervention or a Conditional Discharge.
Am I Eligible Under the Young Drug Offenders Exception?
If you were less than 21 years of age at the time you committed (this means that the offense occurred when you were under 21, not the age you were when you were convicted) a conviction for Possession of CDS or of the Sale, Distribution, or Possession with Intent to Distribute less than 25 grams of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish, you don’t have to wait the 10 years for a crime or 5 years for a disorderly persons offense. If more than 1 year has gone by since your discharge from custody or completion or probation or parole and you have not violated any of the requirements of your probation or parole and you have never had another conviction or Pre-Trial Intervention or Conditional Discharge you are eligible to have the offense expunged.
Procedure for Obtaining an Expungement
In order to get an expungement a Verified Petition must be filed in the Superior Court of the County where the charges arose from, or if in multiple counties, the charges which were heard in Superior Court . After the Petition is filed it must be served on all of the courts and police agencies involved in the arrest as well as the County Prosecutor and Attorney General. A hearing is generally held within 60 days of the filing of the petition.
If the Prosecutor has no objection and you meet the eligibility requirements the Court will enter the Expungement Order without the necessity of a hearing. This Order of Expungement then must be served on all of the governmental agencies who will then remove the information from their records. The New Jersey state police will generally remove the records from their computer within 30 days of receipt of the Order. The state police then report the removal to the Federal Computer System maintained by the FBI, known as the NCIC, which then removes the records from their system.