If you are a New Jersey resident and have a prior conviction for forgery on your public criminal record, then you may be wondering what you can do to remove the conviction from your record. The legal process to remove a prior conviction from your record is called an expungement. A successful expungement will result in the court removing your prior conviction from your criminal record. In this article, we'll explain what expungements are, explain which forgery crimes can be expunged, and explain how to petition for an expungement in New Jersey.
What is an Expungement?
If you want to remove a criminal conviction from your record in New Jersey, then you will likely have to go through the expungement process. In New Jersey, you are allowed to petition to remove one prior conviction or episode for a prior criminal act. It is essential to determine eligibility before you start the expungement process. New Jersey expungement laws have recently changed in several ways. The “Clean Slate” legislation is one of the most discussed modifications to New Jersey's expungement laws. The Clean Slate legislation allows you to expunge your entire public criminal record once 10-years have passed from the end of your last conviction, even if you have multiple convictions. New Jersey expungement laws have also been updated in many other ways, including:
- The ability to seek an expungement even if you have multiple convictions
- The ability to have drug offenses treated as lower-level disorderly person's offenses if seeking expungement
- The ability to seek an expungement once five years have passed from the end of your case
- The ability to immediately request expungement for Marijuana-related convictions
There are many other changes to New Jersey's expungement laws that might apply to you. If you have specific questions about the new expungement law updates, then make sure you seek the advice of an experienced attorney. If you win your expungement case, then only your public criminal record will be affected. The government maintains a private database where your criminal history will always appear.
Which Forgery Crimes Can Be Expunged?
Most forgery convictions are eligible for expungement in New Jersey. Any forgery convictions that are connected to a non-expungable crime such as robbery, likely cannot be expunged. If you are eligible, then you can file an expungement petition. The crime of forgery can be found within the following section of the New Jersey Revised Statutes:
- Forgery and other related offenses: 2C:21-1
In New Jersey, the crime of forgery can be either a third-degree offense or a fourth-degree offense, depending on the circumstances. Make sure that you get an official copy of your criminal record issued by the state so you can specifically know which level of forgery you were convicted of, and when it happened. These are essential parts of your expungement application.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
Once you are sure that your prior conviction(s) can be expunged, then your next step is to complete an expungement petition. A completed expungement petition includes:
- Your date of birth;
- Your date of arrest;
- Any applicable statutes;
- Any applicable case numbers;
- The date of your conviction(s); and
- The court's final sentence.
A completed expungement petition also includes an affidavit that states to the judge that you are not facing any potential or actual criminal charges currently. Expungement petitions need to be filed with the court where your latest conviction occurred.
Once the court accepts an expungement petition, the court will then set a court date for your expungement hearing. Many people avoid having to appear for their expungement hearings when there is no objection to their expungement petitions. If there is an objection to your expungement petition, then you will be required to appear at the hearing to respond to any objections. If the judge approves your expungement petition, then you will get a signed court order in the mail verifying your expungement. Once you get this, then you have to serve your expungement order on necessary government agencies for your expungement to be effective. Your convictions will continue to show on your public criminal record until you take the necessary steps to serve your expungement order.
What Are the Benefits of Getting an Expungement?
Getting a conviction expunged can help you in a lot of ways, including:
- Giving you the right to own a firearm again
- Giving you the ability to have a clean record for job applications
- Giving you the ability to have a clean record for housing applications
- Giving you the ability to be awarded certain professional licenses
If your expungement petition is approved by the judge, then your order will only affect arrest, charge, and conviction records that exist on public government databases. Expungement orders will not affect records such as newspapers or social media posts.
What Are Some Reasons Why an Expungement Will Be Denied?
Expungement petitions are often denied for reasons that can be avoided.
Make sure your conviction can be expunged in New Jersey. Non-expungable convictions in New Jersey include:
There are several other convictions that cannot be expunged in New Jersey. Other avoidable reasons why expungement petitions are denied by the court include filing an incomplete petition and/or filing for an expungement too soon. The court typically does not make exceptions. If you are wondering about the potential of filing 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 forgery conviction from your public criminal record in New Jersey, then having an experienced expungement attorney on your side can help prevent making the mistakes that many make when applying to remove a conviction. Call 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 forgery conviction. You can also contact us online.