If you have a criminal conviction on your record in New Jersey for fraud, then you may be wondering when and how you may be able to have the conviction removed from your record. The legal method of removing a prior conviction from a criminal record is called an expungement. If your expungement is granted by a judge, then the court will remove the associated prior conviction from your criminal record. In this article, we'll define what expungements are, discuss which fraud crimes can be expunged in New Jersey, and discuss the expungement process.
What is an Expungement?
If you would like to have a criminal conviction removed from your criminal record, then you will likely have to seek an expungement. Under New Jersey law, you are allowed to petition the court to expunge (remove) one conviction or episode of a criminal act. Before you file for an expungement, make sure that you are eligible to do so under the law.
Expungement laws across the country have seen major changes, and the state of New Jersey is no exception. One of the more significant changes to New Jersey expungement law in 2021 is the “Clean Slate” legislation. Under Clean Slate, you can petition the court to expunge your entire public criminal record once 10 years have passed from the end of the sentence of your last conviction, allowing you to expunge multiple convictions. Other changes to New Jersey expungement laws include:
- The ability to petition for an expungement for a conviction even if you have more than one prior criminal conviction
- The ability to seek an expungement for a conviction once five years have passed from the end of your sentence
- The ability to seek an expungement for any marijuana-related convictions without any waiting period
Several other expungement law changes might apply to you. If you are successful in your expungement petition, then only your public criminal record will be changed. Your criminal history will always appear on private databases maintained by the government, even if you are granted an expungement.
Which Fraud Crimes Can Be Expunged?
Most fraud convictions are eligible for expungement in New Jersey. You likely cannot expunge fraud convictions that are related to crimes that can't be expunged, such as robbery. If your fraud conviction is deemed eligible, then you can file an expungement petition with the court. The crime of fraud can be found within the New Jersey Revised Statutes at:
- Theft by Deception: 2C:20-4
Other types of fraud convictions exist in New Jersey, including using false government documents or using fraudulent car insurance. For any crime that involves fraud, it is important to determine which specific statute is at issue so you can properly file your expungement petition. Grab an official copy of your criminal record so you can determine which fraud crime you were convicted of, and when it happened. You will need this information for your expungement petition.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
The expungement process in New Jersey starts with an expungement petition. A properly completed expungement petition will include several important pieces of information about you, including:
- Your birthday;
- The date you were arrested;
- Any statute numbers that apply;
- Any criminal case numbers that apply;
- Your conviction date;
- The final sentence of the judge; and
- An affidavit confirming that you aren't facing criminal charges.
Your expungement petition must be submitted to the court of your most recent conviction. Once you properly submit your expungement petition to the court, you will then be given a hearing date in front of a judge. If there are no issues with your expungement petition, then you may be excused from appearing at this hearing. If the prosecutor has an issue with your expungement application, then you will likely have to appear to address these issues in front of the judge.
If the judge decides in your favor and agrees with your expungement petition, then you will be mailed an order signed by the judge as proof of your expungement. Once you receive your expungement order, you then have to serve the order on the necessary government agencies to remove your conviction from your public criminal record. Your convictions will stay on your record until you serve your expungement order.
What Are the Benefits of Getting an Expungement?
There are many benefits to getting an expungement, some of the main benefits include:
- Restoring your second amendment rights
- Restoring your clean record for job applications
- Restoring your clean record for housing applications
- Restoring your clean record so you can be eligible for certain professional licenses
If your expungement petition is granted, then all of the records relating to your arrest, charge, and conviction on public government databases will be deleted. Successful expungement petitions will not help you delete records from newspapers or anywhere else online although an attorney may be able to help address these concerns depending on the circumstances.
What Are Some Reasons Why an Expungement Will Be Denied?
People often have their expungement petitions denied for preventable reasons. A major reason is eligibility; if your conviction is not eligible for expungement, then the court will deny your petition. Convictions that cannot be expunged in New Jersey include:
- Drunk driving
- Sexual assault
This is only a partial list of convictions that cannot be expunged in New Jersey. If you file a petition that leaves out necessary information or you're your petition before you are legally eligible, then the court will likely deny your petition. Don't expect the court to make an exception for you, make sure you file your expungement petition correctly with the help of an experienced attorney.
Why Hiring Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are looking to expunge a fraud conviction from your criminal record, 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 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 fraud conviction. You can also contact us online.