If you live in the state of New Jersey and have been convicted of a computer crime, then you may be wondering if and how you can remove that conviction from your criminal record. The good news is that there are circumstances that will allow you to apply for your prior conviction to be removed through the process of expungement. In this article, we'll discuss what an expungement is, which computer crimes are eligible for expungement, and describe the expungement process in New Jersey.
What is an Expungement?
An expungement is a legal process to remove a criminal conviction from someone's criminal record. In New Jersey, only one indictable prior conviction or episode is eligible for expungement. There are several requirements that you must meet to have a prior conviction expunged. Expungement laws were recently updated in many ways in New Jersey as of February 2021. One major change was through the enactment of the “Clean Slate” legislation allowing for someone's entire criminal record to be expunged after a 10-year waiting period. Some other new expungement provisions as of 2021 include:
- Having more than one prior conviction no longer prevents eligibility to seek expungement
- Drug-related crimes are now treated as disorderly persons convictions
- Waiting period to seek expungement of eligible convictions is reduced to five years and as low as four years in compelling circumstances
- Waiting period requirements is eliminated for certain marijuana and hashish convictions
This is a partial list of the current rules that apply to New Jersey expungement applications. It is important to note that if you are successful in your expungement application, only the governmental public record relating to your conviction will be erased. Government and law enforcement authorities will always be able to access your criminal history on a private database.
Which Computer Crimes Can Be Expunged?
Most all computer crimes can be expunged under New Jersey law. As long as your computer crime conviction is not associated with a non-expungable crime such as child pornography, then you are likely eligible to apply for an expungement as long as you satisfy other requirements. Computer crimes that are eligible for expungement include convictions under the following sections of the New Jersey Revised Statutes:
- Computer criminal activity: 2C:20-25
- Wrongful access, disclosure of information: 2C:20-31
- Posting of certain information on the internet: 2C:20-31.1
To find out what specific crime you were convicted of, it is important to have an official copy of your criminal record issued by the state of New Jersey.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
After verifying that your criminal conviction is expungable, you will then have to prepare your petition for expungement. This petition must include your:
- Date of birth;
- Date of arrest;
- Statutes relating to any arrests or convictions;
- Original case numbers;
- Date of conviction or disposition if no conviction resulted; and
- The court's disposition and punishment.
You will also be required to provide an affidavit stating that you are not facing any other pending criminal charges and file the application with the court of your most recent conviction.
Once your application is filed, then the court will set a hearing date for your expungement. You may or may not be required to attend this hearing. If the prosecutor objects to your expungement request, you will likely have to appear at your hearing to respond to their objections. If the prosecutor does not object to your expungement application, then you may not have to appear for your expungement hearing. If your expungement application is granted, then you will receive a court order granting your expungement in the mail. You must then serve this court order to all government agencies that have records of your conviction so the records can be removed from the public database. It is important to understand that your records will not be cleared until you present your expungement order to the necessary government agencies.
Benefits of Getting an Expungement
If you are successful in your expungement application, then you will stand to benefit in several ways. Some of these benefits include:
- A clean criminal record
- Avoiding the consequences of a conviction when applying for a job
- Ability to qualify for housing that won't allow residents with prior convictions
- Ability to own a firearm
It is important to note that other public records such as news and social media posts will not be affected by a successful expungement application. A judge will only order the removal of arrest, charge, and conviction records that are maintained by the government if you are granted an expungement.
What Are Some Reasons Why an Expungement Will Be Denied?
Expungements can be denied for several reasons. The first reason is eligibility. Not all criminal convictions can be expunged. If you attempt to apply for an expungement for an offense that is not expungable, then your application will be denied. Some of the convictions that are not eligible for expungement include:
- Sexual assault
- Child pornography
There are many other convictions that are not eligible for expungement. If you are eligible for an expungement but fail to provide all necessary information in your application, then your application can be denied. Eligible indictable convictions can be expunged after five years have passed from the completion of any sentence imposed. If you have specific questions about your expungement eligibility, 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 looking to get a prior computer crime removed from your criminal record in New Jersey, then seeking an expungement is likely your best option. An experienced expungement attorney on your side can help you avoid the mistakes that many make when applying to remove a 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 application for an expungement of a computer crime. You can also contact us online.