If you have dealt with the difficulties of being arrested, charged, and/or convicted of a criminal offense, then you already realize the effects that this experience can have on your personal and professional life. After you have served your sentence to the court and repaid your debt to society, you would expect that the record of your criminal offense would be accurate, but this is not always the case.
It is unfortunately too common for mistakes to be made in the entry of your criminal history on public databases that are controlled by the state or federal government. If you find mistakes on your criminal record, then those mistakes can be corrected by filing the appropriate request with the agency that has your criminal history. If you have legal questions, then make sure to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Why Is it Important that Your Criminal Record is Accurate?
The information that is found on your public criminal record is the information that private criminal history record check companies use to list your criminal history. If the information about your criminal history is inaccurate on your public criminal record that is maintained by the state government, then those same mistakes will be copied onto private criminal history databases as well, compounding the problems that you can face.
This can affect your ability to seek and obtain employment, can prevent your ability to obtain housing, and can result in the loss of your gun rights under the Second Amendment. Other reasons why you might need to obtain your criminal history include immigration, naturalization, visas, adoption, or expungements. As you can see, your criminal past can continually affect you as long as you have criminal convictions on your record.
Where Is My Public Criminal History Located?
If you have a criminal record in New Jersey, then your New Jersey public criminal history can be found at the New Jersey Division of State Police Criminal Information Unit. This agency maintains criminal histories through the use of fingerprints. Any changes to your criminal history with the state police will result in changes to your criminal history within private background check companies if they regularly update their databases.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Criminal Record?
Before you can request any changes to be made to your criminal record, you must first get an official copy of your record from the state of New Jersey. To get a copy of your criminal record, you must schedule an appointment with the New Jersey State Police to get your fingerprints taken. New Jersey state law allows the state police to disseminate your criminal history under New Jersey Administrative Code 13:59-1. You can schedule your fingerprint appointment here. You will need to bring a form of ID that is issued by a state, federal, county, or other municipal agency along with the required fee of $42.80. This fee will be collected at the site where you have your fingerprints taken.
What Can I Do If I Find Mistakes on My Criminal Record?
If you find that there are mistakes on your criminal record, then you will need to obtain a certified copy of your Judgment of Conviction from the court where your criminal case was handled. The mistakes on your criminal record can come from inaccuracies on your Judgment of Conviction, or they can be from mistakes made when transferring the information to the public criminal history database that the state police maintains.
If you find there are mistakes in your Judgment of Conviction, then you will need to request that your judgment needs to be amended. If your Judgment of Conviction is accurate, but the information on the state database is inaccurate, then you must send a letter detailing what the mistakes are and reference the Judgment of Conviction to demonstrate what should be on your record. This letter must be sent to:
Criminal Information Unit
New Jersey State Police
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628
(609) 882-2000 ext. 2918
All cases are reviewed individually to ensure accuracy and completeness. You are free to represent yourself if you wish. If you do not feel comfortable doing this on your own, then you can hire an experienced attorney to assist you in this process.
How An Attorney Can Help
You likely had an attorney's help during your criminal case, so it should not be a surprise that an attorney can help you clear up any mistakes on your criminal record. Having an attorney review your criminal history with you is the most effective way to ensure that there are no mistakes. Several pieces of information on your criminal history may not seem inaccurate to the untrained eye. Things such as statute citations and specific criminal offense designations can easily be missed by people who don't make a living in the area of criminal law. If you have an attorney on your side, then you can make sure that you complete this process as quickly and accurately as possible. If you have legal questions about your criminal history, then call us at the Lento Law Firm so we can help!
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice
If you are interested in fixing a mistake on your New Jersey criminal record, then make sure you have the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Having an attorney help you prepare your letter to the state of New Jersey can help clear up any discrepancies in your criminal history. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring attorney Joseph D. Lento is the right choice to help you prepare and file the necessary paperwork to ensure your criminal record accuracy. You can also contact us online.