New Jersey Expungement for Bribery

Bribes seem like they only happen in movies or corrupt government offices, far from our daily lives. Bribery occurs more often than you realize, and not only among politicians. Commercial bribery is common, and it's an indictable offense in New Jersey. A charge and conviction of bribery on a criminal record can be a huge obstacle to finding employment, securing housing, obtaining government benefits, and more.

If you have a charge and conviction of commercial bribery, you may be able to expunge it. You'll have to meet certain eligibility requirements first, then go through the multi-step expungement process. If you succeed in getting your bribery crime expunged, it will no longer be available for public view.

Seeking an expungement for your bribery crime could significantly change your life for the better.

Bribery Crimes in New Jersey (2C:21-10)

Commercial bribery is a criminal offense in New Jersey. If you have a “duty of fidelity” to someone and you violate that duty by soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept some benefit or consideration, you have committed a crime under New Jersey criminal statute 2C:21-10. A duty of fidelity means that you fill a role for someone else and must act in good faith, without serving personal interests.

Examples of a duty of fidelity

  • Agent, partner, or employee charged with a responsibility
  • Trustee, guardian, or fiduciary
  • Lawyer, physician, accountant, appraiser, or other professional advisor or informant who must act honestly for their patients or clients
  • An arbitrator
  • Officer, director, or manager of an incorporated or unincorporated association

In New Jersey, commercial bribery is an indictable offense, equivalent to a felony in other states. The penalties for commercial bribery range from the second to the fourth degree, depending on the amount of the bribe or benefit.

Amount of bribe

Degree of crime

Penalty

$75,000 or more

Second degree

5-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000

Between $75,000 and $1,000

Third degree

3-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000

$1,000 or less

Fourth degree

18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000

Political Bribery in New Jersey (2C:27-2)

Bribery is also a crime in New Jersey as it relates to political and official matters. Benefits in exchange for decisions, opinions, and votes from public servants or party officials, in elections or other administrative proceedings, are a criminal offense of the second degree. If the benefit's value is below $200, it's a crime of the third degree.

Is Your Bribery Crime Eligible for Expungement?

Crimes of commercial bribery are indictable offenses that are eligible for expungement, provided that you've waited the required amount of time and have not committed any more crimes. The waiting period for an indictable offense in New Jersey to be eligible for expungement is five years.

However, this waiting period applies if you have only one indictable offense on your record. If you have bribery and another indictable offense on your criminal history, you will have to wait longer and face more restrictions to get an expungement. To get an expungement after only five years (four years with early pathway), you can have one indictable offense and up to three disorderly persons offenses.

New Jersey Early Pathway Expungement

New Jersey has an early pathway expungement process, whereby your waiting period is only four years instead of five for a single indictable offense. But you will need to show proof of why you deserve an earlier expungement. This evidence should show that due to your character, behavior, and decisions since your bribery conviction, you are unlikely to commit another crime in the future. In addition to reviewing your proof showing your good character, the judge will also look at the following:

  • Opportunities for education, job training, employment, sports participation, or community involvement
  • Obligations including family and child support
  • Traffic violations
  • Attempts to separate yourself from people with criminal backgrounds
  • If your crime had aggravating circumstances
  • If your conviction has hindered your ability to better yourself and lead a law-abiding life (such as being unable to get a job with a criminal record)

Clean Slate Expungement

The state of New Jersey also has a “clean slate” program. Those with convictions of multiple indictable offenses can clear their entire criminal history after ten years and completion of supervision. Eventually, this clean slate program will become automated, and those who have lived crime-free for ten years following their last conviction will automatically receive an expungement of all their previous criminal offenses.

Political Bribery and Expungement

Although commercial bribery can be expunged from a criminal record in New Jersey, a charge of political bribery may not be. According to statute 2C:52-2, if you were convicted of a crime while holding public office and the crime involved or touched that office, your crime cannot be expunged.

The Benefits of Expungement in New Jersey

Having a crime expunged is like getting a fresh start. More opportunities will open that were previously closed, such as seeking gainful employment, joining the military, possessing firearms, obtaining professional licensure, and more. You should note that while an expungement no longer makes your criminal history publicly accessible, law enforcement agencies can still see it. Even so, an expunged record can change your life.

New Jersey Expungement Attorney for Bribery Charges

You don't need an attorney to petition for an expungement in New Jersey, but the process is complicated without one. Complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, and more are able to be expunged, but these various records belong to various law enforcement agencies. Expunging all of them will take time, resources, and knowledge of the expungement process. An expungement attorney can take you through this process, helping you determine your eligibility and collecting the supporting documentation needed for an expungement.

Joseph D. Lento has represented countless clients in the New Jersey court system. He understands how life-changing an expungement can be and works tirelessly to help his clients get a clear record and a new lease on life. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 for an initial consultation about your expungement.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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