If you live in New Jersey and have an extortion conviction on your criminal record, then you may be wondering what needs to happen to delete it from there. The legal process of expungement allows you to petition the court to delete your prior conviction if and when you are eligible. In this article, we'll define expungements, discuss which extortion crimes can be expunged, and describe how expungement petitions work in New Jersey.
What is an Expungement?
You must go through the expungement process to delete one or more criminal convictions from your public criminal record. In New Jersey, you are allowed to petition to expunge (delete) one prior conviction or episode for a prior criminal offense. Before you can seek an expungement, you will have to determine that you are eligible. New Jersey expungement laws have recently changed. Notably, the “Clean Slate” legislation is one of the most publicized changes to New Jersey's expungement laws. Under the Clean Slate legislation, you can delete your entire criminal record (multiple convictions) through expungement once 10-years have passed from the end of your last conviction. New Jersey expungement laws have been recently updated in several ways, including:
- Having more than one conviction does not preclude you from seeking expungement
- Drug-related offenses are to be treated by the court as disorderly person's offenses when an expungement is requested
- Expungement eligibility starts five years from the end of your conviction
- Marijuana-related expungements no longer require any waiting periods and are eligible for expungement immediately
This is just a partial list of the updates to New Jersey's expungement laws. If you have questions about how the new expungement law updates affect you, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney. If you are successful with your expungement petition, then only your public record connected to your conviction(s) will be deleted. The government has a private database where your criminal record will always appear regardless of expungement. This database can only be accessed by law enforcement and other governmental authorities.
Which Extortion Crimes Can Be Expunged?
Most extortion convictions can be expunged in New Jersey. As long as your prior extortion conviction is not connected to a crime that can't be expunged, such as robbery, then you are likely eligible to file an expungement petition as long as you satisfy other requirements. The crime of extortion can be found within the following section of the New Jersey Revised Statutes:
- Theft by extortion: 2C:20-5
The punishment for extortion and other theft-related crimes is consolidated into one section called:
- Consolidation of theft and computer criminal activity offenses: 2C:20-2
It is important that you obtain an official copy of your criminal record issued by the state so you can specifically know which extortion crime you were convicted of, and when it happened.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
Once you have determined that you are eligible and ready to expunge your prior conviction, you must then complete an expungement petition. To properly complete an expungement petition, you must include:
- Your birth date;
- Your arrest date;
- All state laws that apply;
- All court case numbers that apply;
- Your conviction date; and
- The court's final disposition and your ultimate sentence.
Your expungement petition also requires an affidavit telling the court that you are not presently facing any criminal charges. Your expungement petition must be filed with the court where your most recent conviction took place.
When the court accepts your expungement petition, you will be issued a hearing date for your expungement. It is possible that you can avoid attending this hearing if the prosecutor does not object to your expungement. If the prosecutor does object to your expungement petition, then you be required to appear at the hearing to respond to any objections. If your expungement application is successful, then you will be mailed a court order signed by the judge granting your expungement. You have to physically take your expungement order to the government agencies that maintain public conviction records for your expungement to be effective. Your convictions will show on your public criminal records until you take your expungement order to the required government organizations such as the state police.
What Are the Benefits of Getting an Expungement?
Getting a conviction expunged can help you in a lot of ways, including:
- Restoring gun ownership rights taken away by criminal conviction
- Having a clean record for job applications
- Having a clean record for housing applications
- Restoring the ability to earn certain professional licenses
If your expungement petition is successful, then it will only affect arrest, charge, and conviction records that exist on government databases. An expungement will not affect other online records such as newspapers or social media posts.
What Are Some Reasons Why an Expungement Will Be Denied?
Expungement petitions are routinely denied for several preventable reasons. If you are trying to expunge a conviction that cannot be expunged under New Jersey law, then the court will deny your application. Non-expungable convictions in New Jersey include:
- Drunk driving
These are a few examples of convictions that cannot be expunged under New Jersey law. Other common reasons why expungement petitions are denied by the court include failing to add all of the information necessary to complete a petition and/or applying before the date of eligibility. If you are wondering if and when you might be eligible for an expungement, then call us at the Lento Law Firm so we can help.
Why Hiring Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are looking to expunge a prior conviction for extortion 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 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 an extortion conviction. You can also contact us online.