According to the National Conference of State Legislators, roughly 77 million people in the U.S. have a criminal record. This equates to about one of every three individuals. Evidence of a criminal conviction may create difficulties for those subject to background screening from potential employers, state occupational licensing agencies, and more. New Jersey is currently among more than 12 states that have implemented “certificates of rehabilitation” programs that allow those with convictions to have these records expunged.
The expungement process allows for records relating to a past criminal conviction to be extracted. Eligibility is based on the nature of the offense(s), the amount of time that has passed since the conviction, and other factors. Certain serious offenses that may not be expunged including the following:
- Criminal homicide
- Human Trafficking
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Selling or manufacturing child pornography and others
Indictable offenses are the most serious criminal offenses which are graded from the first to the fourth degree. Expungement eligibility for these offenses generally begins when 10 years have elapsed, assuming that all fines and other conditions were met. You will qualify if you have had no subsequent indictable offenses and no more than two disorderly person or petty disorderly person offenses.
You may still qualify if 10 years have elapsed and all that remains is an unpaid monetary balance. The court must determine that the offender has made efforts to comply with payment arrangements or that the individual had some extraordinary financial hardship. Offenders may also qualify for an expungement if five years have elapsed and they have had no subsequent offenses of any kind.
For disorderly person and petty disorderly person offenses, the period of eligibility begins in five years. The offender must have had no subsequent indictable offenses and no more than three disorderly person or petty disorderly person offenses. For violations of municipal ordinances the period is reduced to only two years and no more than two disorderly person or petty disorderly person offenses.
Juvenile Expungements (2C:52-4.1)
Juvenile offenses are considered acts of delinquency. All delinquency adjudications may be expunged once five years “have elapsed since the final discharge.” To qualify, the individual must not have been convicted of any subsequent offenses and have no pending criminal matters. Keep in mind that serious acts of delinquency that would be unable to be expunged in the adult system are also applicable to juveniles.
Those who were convicted of an offense and graduated from a drug court program are eligible for expungement. This applies to those who completed the drug court program after April of 2016. This process involves filing for expungement in the county where the offense occurred. Those who do not have key information such as their case number, charges, or dispositions may need to access this information from the New Jersey State Police.
Lawyer in New Jersey for Expungement of a Criminal Record
Having a criminal record often creates obstacles for individuals long after they have resolved their case. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is very familiar with this area of legal practice. Please contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.