If you have a criminal record, you are probably aware of how damaging even a minor infraction can be to your future. Colleges, professional licensing boards, and employers will often investigate the criminal history of applicants. This screening mechanism can derail your hopes of a successful career, but an experienced attorney may be able to help you move on from your past.
In New Jersey, eligible individuals may file a petition for an expungement. Expungement is a way to hide your criminal record from public view. With an expungement, the arrests, complaints, warrants, and convictions on your criminal record are not erased entirely. These blemishes still exist on your personal criminal record, but they are hidden from public view once you have secured an expungement.
Even individuals who have committed indictable offenses or felonies may be eligible for expungement. (Expungement is not available in New Jersey for certain offenses including murder, manslaughter, arson, certain sex or drug crimes, and crimes against children. Motor vehicle offenses are also ineligible for expungement.) Further, to be eligible for expungement, 10 years must have passed since an individual’s sentence was completed. Additionally, an individual seeking expungement must have no pending charges and no additional convictions in any state. Those who have already had a prior conviction expunged are not eligible for a subsequent expungement. Individuals who have racked up three disorderly or petty disorderly violations are also ineligible for expungement in New Jersey. Finally, an individual who has been granted a dismissal of charges through pretrial intervention is not eligible for expungement.
For those who have been convicted of misdemeanors, expungement is available just two years after completion of the offender’s sentence. An individual who has been adjudicated delinquent can seek expungement of a juvenile record after five years without a criminal conviction.