Essex County Expungement Lawyers
Expungement Attorneys with Offices in Newark, New Jersey
Once you have been convicted of a crime and fulfilled your sentence, you should be able to start over and move on. Rehabilitation is a primary goal of the judicial system, as well as punishment. But, like many, you probably worry about how a criminal record will affect your life. Some employers check your criminal record before hiring or promoting, as do some universities check before admitting or granting financial aid. In addition, certain professional licenses are denied to those with criminal records, such as nursing, teaching, and real estate, for instance. Oftentimes, landlords, banks, and credit agencies run background checks before accepting a prospective renter, applicant, or credit cardholder. Fortunately, depending upon the conviction and time frame, you may be eligible to clear your record. Expungement is the process to clear your criminal history in New Jersey.
If you are seeking an expungement in Newark, Montclair, Bloomfield, Livingston, Caldwell, Maplewood, Millburn, Short Hills, Nutley, or another town in Essex County, New Jersey, contact our skilled expungement lawyers today to discuss your situation, confirm your eligibility, and begin the process of expunging your record. You can reach us at 201-654-3464 or contact us online for a free consultation now.
Expungement Eligibility in Essex County NJ
By petitioning the superior court in the county where your arrest or prosecution occurred, giving appropriate notice and satisfying the requisite waiting period, you can erase from your criminal record of certain crimes, court proceedings, police arrests, warrants or detentions, so that a background check comes up clear. If you’re eligible for an expungement, a judge reviews your petition and if granted, orders that any law enforcement and court activity on your juvenile and adult record be sealed and removed from public sight.
Notably, not all crimes can be expunged in New Jersey. However, many criminal offenses are eligible for expungement, such as shoplifting, petty theft, burglary, simple assault, forgery, and drug possession. Serious crimes, such as murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, child endangerment, child pornography, conspiracy, perjury, robbery, treason, false imprisonment, false swearing, arson, or attempts to commit these serious crimes, cannot be expunged in New Jersey. And only one indictable crime may be expunged if the petitioner has no more than three disorderly persons (DP) or petty disorderly persons (PDP) offenses on their record. You can also expunge up to five disorderly persons offenses if you have no convictions for indictable crimes on your record. Thanks to a recent law expanding expungement availability, more people can expunge more offenses from their records in less time.
New eligible petitioners include those who went through Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). Previously, charges dismissed through PTI meant all other charges that came before or after fulfilling the terms of the program could not be expunged. Now they can. Also, those convicted of multiple crimes on a crime spree, say a multi-store shoplifting spree, may have those separate crimes for each shoplifting incident combined and considered as one for expungement purposes, regardless of the brief time separating individual crimes. Along those same lines, all crimes coming to judgment and disposed of at a single time, may be expunged as one.
Currently, drug distribution convictions cannot be expunged, but small marijuana and hashish distribution (under 25 grams of marijuana and 5 grams of hashish) convictions are eligible for expungement, as well as more serious drug selling charges if a judge considers expungement beneficial to the public interest, weighing the need to keep the record against expungement. Finally, those whose expungement was conditioned upon full payment of restitution, plus the required wait time, will be able to seek expungement before full payment, as long as restitution payments continue.
Waiting Periods for Essex County Expungements
Wait times have also been reduced recently in New Jersey. Juveniles used to have to wait five years after their adjudications to apply for expungement, but now only three years if they have no new charges within that time. For adult crimes, the recent law reduces the prior six-year waiting period to five years before a petitioner may expunge indictable crimes. There is also the possibility of an early pathway expungement for those seeking early expungement due to extraordinary circumstances. Wait times for some expungements, such as dismissed cases, PTI discharges, and conditional discharges, require the shortest waiting period to petition for expungement. Dismissals require no wait time, while PTI and conditional discharges have a six-month waiting period; both are conditioned on a one-time program completion.
Third and fourth degree small drug possession and intent to distribute offenses for 18 to 21 year old’s may be expunged one year after completing terms of sentencing, payment of fines and terms of parole or probation. Additionally, the wait time is two years for municipal ordinance violations, three years for juvenile delinquents charged with the equivalent of adult crimes, five years for not more than five disorderly persons offenses, and five years for single indictable crimes and multiple crimes if disposed of at the same time or part of a spree.
Currently under N.J.S. A. 2C:52-2, only people with one or fewer indictable crimes can expunge their record after five years from the date of conviction or fulfillment of sentencing, fine payments and probation or parole terms, whichever is longer, unless compelling circumstances allow for expungement earlier. However, six or more DP or PDP offenses disqualify eligibility. A disorderly persons offense may be expunged after five years.
Newark NJ Expungement Lawyer can Help
With the shifting landscape of the expungement laws, you should definitely check with a knowledgeable attorney about expunging your specific criminal record. If you want to scrub your criminal record clean to increase future opportunities, we can help verify your eligibility. We can also walk you through the process, avoiding unnecessary delay for missing or incorrectly completed documents. Regardless of where your case arose, our experienced Essex County expungement lawyers can help you successfully expunge your record in South Orange, West Orange, Verona, Belleville, Cedar Grove, and surrounding communities. To discuss your potential expungement, call 201-654-3464 today. Consultations are always available free of charge.