If you have a stalking conviction on your criminal record and live in New Jersey, you may be wondering if it can be erased. The legal process of expungement allows you to petition the court to delete your prior conviction if you are eligible. In this article, expungements will be explained, as well as which stalking crimes can be expunged. Finally, there is a description of how expungement petitions work in New Jersey.
What Is an Expungement?
In order to delete one or more criminal convictions from your public criminal record, you must go through the expungement process. New Jersey law allows an individual to petition to expunge (delete) a prior conviction or episode for a prior criminal offense. However, before doing so, you must ensure that you are eligible to seek an expungement.
Pursuant to New Jersey's “Clean Slate” legislation, multiple convictions can be deleted together through the expungement process after ten years have passed from the conclusion of the punishment of your most recent conviction. Other ways Clean Slate has changed New Jersey expungement laws include:
- Allowing expungements even for people with multiple convictions
- Drug convictions are viewed as disorderly person's offenses for expungement purposes
- Reduction of the time required to wait for expungements to five years
- Marijuana-related expungements can be expunged without a waiting period
These are just some of the ways that New Jersey's expungement laws have recently changed. Make sure you direct any expungement-related questions to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Successful expungements will result in convictions being removed from an individual's public criminal record. Certain government agencies, such as law enforcement or a prosecutor, can access a private database that keeps a record of all criminal offenses even if an expungement is granted by the court.
Which Stalking Crimes Can Be Expunged?
In New Jersey, the vast majority of stalking convictions are expungable, granted the offense was not related to a crime that does not qualify for expungement. For instance, if an individual was convicted of stalking and rape, then the individual is not eligible to seek expungement on either crime. The New Jersey stalking statute can be found within the following section of the New Jersey Revised Statutes:
- 2C:12-10 - Stalking
Under this section, stalking can be charged as either a third- or fourth-degree offense. Make sure that you get an official copy of your public criminal record from the state of New Jersey before you start your expungement case to ensure eligibility.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
You can expunge your prior conviction if you are eligible and ready. To do this, you will need to complete an expungement petition. The following must be included in your expungement petition:
- Your date of birth
- The date that you were arrested
- All the applicable New Jersey law
- Your case number(s)
- The date of your conviction
- The final sentence of the judge
You must also include an affidavit that tells the court that you are not currently facing any criminal charges. You must file your expungement petition with the court where you had your most recent conviction.
If the court accepts your petition for expungement, you will be given a hearing date. If the prosecutor does not object to your expungement, you may not have to attend the hearing. If the prosecutor does object to your expungement, you will need to attend the hearing and answer any objections.
If your application is successful, the court will sign an order granting your expungement. You must take this order to government agencies that keep public records of convictions in order for your expungement to be effective. Your convictions will continue to be available on these public records until you physically take your expungement order to the required government organizations, such as the state police.
What Are the Benefits of Getting an Expungement?
The expungement of criminal convictions can result in many benefits, including:
- Restoring Second Amendment rights to gun ownership
- Restoring a clean record for job applications
- Restoring a clean record for housing applications
- Restoring the capacity to be granted certain professional licenses
If your petition to clear your criminal record is successful, it will only erase records of arrests, charges, and convictions that are on government databases. It will not erase other online records such as newspapers or social media posts.
What Are Some Reasons Why an Expungement Will Be Denied?
Expungements can be denied by a judge for several reasons. If you file your expungement petition with the wrong court, then it will be rejected and sent back to you. If your conviction cannot be expunged under New Jersey law, then the court will deny your application. Convictions that cannot be expunged in New Jersey include:
- Drunk driving
These are a few of the convictions that you cannot erase in New Jersey. There are several other convictions that cannot be expunged under New Jersey law. Other common reasons why expungement petitions are denied by the court include not including all the information necessary to complete a petition and/or applying before the date of eligibility. The process takes time, so make sure you do it right the first time. If you have questions about the expungement process and your eligibility, then call us at the Lento Law Firm today.
Why Hiring Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are looking to expunge a prior conviction for stalking 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 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 stalking conviction. You can also contact us online.