If you are or aspire to be an investor who does business in New Jersey, then it is important that you understand how criminal convictions can affect your ability to do business with banks and obtain necessary financing. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, then getting an expungement may help you greatly in being approved for business loans. The federal government even has regulations on who can and cannot access SBA loans through federal pandemic assistance. Having a criminal conviction on your record can prevent you from being able to operate as an investor altogether if you are unable to secure bank financing for projects. In this article, we'll define what expungements are, discuss which types of crimes specifically hurt your ability to obtain loans in New Jersey, and discuss the expungement process.
What is an Expungement?
The expungement process is the legal approach to removing a conviction from your criminal record. In New Jersey, you are permitted to expunge a conviction or episode of a criminal act through the expungement process. New Jersey expungement laws in 2021 have significantly changed in several ways. The “Clean Slate” legislation is one of the biggest changes to New Jersey's expungement laws. The Clean Slate legislation allows you to potentially expunge multiple convictions by expunging your entire public criminal record once 10-years have passed from the end of the sentence of your last conviction. Make sure to verify that you qualify for an expungement before you start the process because it can be time-consuming and costly.
Expungement laws in 2021 have changed nationwide. The state of New Jersey passed sweeping expungement legislation that changed many expungement laws, including:
- Being able to seek expungement even if you have multiple convictions
- Expungement eligibility once five years have passed from your conviction as opposed to six years
- Immediate expungement eligibility for marijuana-related convictions
Other recent changes to New Jersey expungement law might apply to you. Make sure to speak to an experienced expungements attorney to see how an expungement may help you obtain financing.
What are the Reasons that a Bank May Deny a Loan?
Banks can deny someone a loan for a variety of reasons. If you have poor credit, an inconsistent employment history, or little money in the bank, then a bank can deny you financing because of the red flags that these issues raise to lenders. If you have a prior criminal conviction, then your ability to get financing can be even more difficult as banks will often second-guess giving you a loan on that basis alone. Banks are in the business of making money, so if you look like a candidate that poses a more significant risk to repay a loan, then you don't be surprised if you are denied.
If your conviction is related to dishonesty or fraud, then your criminal history will likely make it even more difficult to obtain financing through typical channels. If you are approved for a loan, you may see higher interest rates than others because of your prior conviction. If you're curious how your criminal record may affect your ability to operate as an investor, then make sure you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you will then need to prepare and file your expungement petition. A properly drafted expungement petition contains several important pieces of information, including:
- Your date of birth;
- Your arrest date;
- Any statutes that apply;
- Any case numbers that apply;
- Your date of conviction;
- The final sentence/disposition of the judge; and
- An affidavit attesting to the court that you don't have any current criminal charges pending.
An expungement petition must be filed at the court of your most recent conviction. Once an expungement petition is received by the court, you will then be assigned a date for a hearing before a judge. The prosecutor can be heard on your petition and may file an objection to your expungement petition. If the prosecutor files any objections to your petition, then you will have to prepare responses to his or her objection(s) to present before the judge.
What Are the Benefits of Getting an Expungement?
Obviously, the biggest benefit of an expungement is having your criminal record erased. A clean criminal record can have other collateral benefits, including:
- Being able to qualify for bank financing
- Restoring your constitutional gun rights
- Having a clean record for job applications
- Having a clean record for housing applications
A successful expungement can lead to banks treating you differently and approving loans that were previously unavailable due to your criminal history.
What Are Some Reasons Why an Expungement Will Be Denied?
Your expungement can be denied by the court for several reasons. One main reason for the court's denial of an expungement petition is eligibility. Do not attempt to file for an expungement if you are not eligible, because you will be denied. Certain criminal convictions can never be expunged in New Jersey, including:
- Drunk driving/DUI/DWI
- Sexual assault/Rape
There are several other convictions that can never be expunged in New Jersey, so make sure your conviction qualifies for expungement. If your expungement petition is incomplete or is filed before the date that you become eligible, then it will be denied by the court. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are eligible before filing your petition and that your expungement petition is prepared properly.
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are or aspire to be a business investor in New Jersey, then don't let a criminal conviction hold you back. Having an experienced expungement attorney on your side can help prevent making the mistakes that many make when applying to erase a prior conviction. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento and 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 expungement application. You can also contact us online.