If you have a criminal conviction on your public record and live in New Jersey, you may be wondering if it can be removed. The legal process of expungement allows you to petition the court to delete your prior conviction if you are eligible. In this article, expungements will be explained, as will the general time it takes to get an expungement. If you are considering seeking an expungement for a criminal conviction, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What Is an Expungement?
To have one or more criminal convictions removed from your public criminal record in the state of New Jersey, you must go through a legal process known as expungement. State law gives people the ability to petition to expunge (remove) a prior criminal conviction or criminal episode from their public criminal records. It is important to ensure expungement eligibility before seeking an expungement.
Under New Jersey's “Clean Slate” legislation, several convictions can be removed simultaneously through expungement once ten years have passed from the end of the punishment of the individual's most recent conviction. Clean Slate has improved New Jersey expungement laws in several ways, making expungements more accessible to people with convictions, including:
- Permitting expungements for those who have multiple convictions
- Reclassifying drug convictions as disorderly persons offenses when seeking an expungement
- Reducing the waiting period to seek an expungement by one year to five years
- Allowing marijuana-related expungements to be processed immediately without a waiting period
New Jersey's expungement laws have also changed in other ways. If you have expungement questions, then make sure that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. If your expungement petition is granted by the court, then your conviction(s) will be removed from your public criminal record. State and federal government agencies, like the police or prosecutors, can access a private database that keeps a record of all criminal offenses even after convictions are expunged.
How Long Does a Typical Expungement Take in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, it usually takes three to four months to complete the expungement petition process. If the prosecutor objects to your expungement, then you will have to go to court with an attorney to contest the objection and defend your expungement petition. This can extend the expungement timeline and make your petition take six months or more.
If the court approves your request to expunge your conviction, then you will receive a signed order in the mail. This order confirms that the court has cleared your record. You must give this order to the appropriate government agencies so they can erase your conviction from public criminal records. Your convictions will stay on public criminal record databases until you have given them your expungement order.
What Are the Benefits of Getting an Expungement?
If you have a criminal conviction on your public record, then you likely realize the difficulties that it can pose in various situations. Expunging a criminal conviction from your public criminal record can benefit you in several ways, including:
- Restoring your Second Amendment right to own a gun
- Restoring your ability to have a clean record for job applications
- Restoring your ability to have a clean record for apartment applications
- Restoring your ability to be awarded certain professional licenses
If your petition to clear your criminal record is successful, it will only erase records found on government databases. Other records such as newspapers or social media posts will not be affected.
Is There a Way to Expedite the Process?
There is no specific way to expedite the expungement process in New Jersey. You might think that you can simply pay extra to get faster processing, but that is not how the process works. The best way to expedite your expungement is to make sure that you quickly get your required paperwork in order and fill out your expungement petition accurately and completely. You can run into delays when seeking to obtain the required paperwork, such as case-related paperwork from the court or police department. Having an experienced hand guide you through this process can help you save time and aggravation. It is important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you predict what hurdles you may face along the way to help expedite your expungement petition as much as possible.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help
The laws and process for clearing your criminal record in New Jersey can be confusing. Each state has its own laws that determine the process and eligibility to remove a criminal conviction from public view. It is important to have your situation professionally assessed to determine what you are eligible for and what approach you should take to clear your criminal record from public view.
If you want to get your criminal conviction removed from public view, it is a good idea to have an experienced attorney on your side. This way, you can avoid making the mistakes that many people make when they try to do this on their own. You may only have one opportunity to make this request to the local court, so it is important to make sure everything is done correctly. If you have legal questions, then call us at the Lento Law firm today!
Why Hiring Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are looking to expunge a prior conviction from your criminal record in New Jersey, then having an experienced expungement attorney on your side can help you avoid the mistakes that many make when applying to remove a conviction. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring us is the right choice to help you prepare and file your application for an expungement in New Jersey. You can also contact us online.