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What Will I Gain By Expunging My Record?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 02, 2022 | 0 Comments

If you have a criminal record, you've probably run into stumbling blocks since then. Whether applying for a job, a college or graduate program, or trying to rent an apartment, you'll find that an arrest record can create life-long barriers. Fortunately, the state of New Jersey believes in giving people second chances. In many cases, you may be able to obtain a court order expunging your criminal record.

What Is An Expungement?

Expungement is a court process for clearing criminal arrest records and convictions under New Jersey law. New Jersey's expungement statute defines expungement as “extraction, sealing, impounding, or isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person's detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial, or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 (2019).

While expunging your record will extract your files, they do still exist. However, only law enforcement officers or certain other officials can access them. Your record will no longer be available to the public, and it won't appear in any state or federal databases.

Expungement Options in New Jersey

New Jersey offers several different pathways for expunging criminal history, including a traditional pathway with a five-year waiting period, an early pathway with a three to four-year waiting period, and a Clean Slate pathway, with a ten-year waiting period. The pathway that's the best option for you will depend on the specific circumstances of your criminal record, including:

  • The nature of your crime
  • Whether you have a conviction for one or more indictable offenses
  • Whether you have a conviction for one or more disorderly persons offenses
  • Whether you have any past arrests or expungement
  • How long it's been since you completed your sentence, including paying all fines

While you can expunge most convictions, some serious crimes can never be expunged in New Jersey. These offenses include crimes such as sexual assault, murder, and kidnapping. However, a consultation with an experienced New Jersey expungement attorney can give you an idea of whether you're eligible to expunge your record, the best pathway option based on your record, and the advantages of expungement for you.

What Will I Get Back if I Expunge My Record?

You may wonder why you should expunge your record or how it will help you. Expunging your criminal record can reopen many opportunities you may not have realized may be a problem in the future, including educational and career opportunities and even basic rights.

  1. Getting a Job

Some criminal records, particularly indictable offenses, can keep you from getting the job you want. While New Jersey law prohibits many employers from asking about your criminal history until after the initial application process, many employers can and will ask you about your criminal history after your first interview. Your initial application will ask you about your criminal record for some jobs, like those in law enforcement, the military, or those requiring a security clearance. Your record could immediately knock you out of the running in many cases. Expunging your record will allow you to respond that you have never been arrested or convicted on most job applications.

  1. Educational Opportunities

While it's unfortunate, an early mistake can sometimes keep you from getting into college or graduate school and can sometimes make you ineligible for scholarships or financial aid, depending on the source. By expunging your record, you can reopen educational doors in your future.

  1. Obtaining a Loan

Often a criminal record can keep you from obtaining a bank loan such as those for a car or mortgage. It can even keep you from renting an apartment. While your credit record doesn't include your criminal history, it will list your settled or unsettled debts, including court judgments and liens. Moreover, some loan and rental applications will ask you about your criminal record because lenders may consider someone with a criminal record a poor risk. Expungement can eliminate these potential financial issues.

  1. Regaining Rights

With an indictable offense on your record, you may no longer be able to possess or purchase a weapon, vote, or hold public office. You can also lose your gun ownership rights for conviction of a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence or some juvenile convictions.

While New Jersey allows you to register to vote once you are no longer in prison or on parole or probation, not every state does. Moreover, in New Jersey, once you expunge a criminal record, you don't need to disclose the expunged offense on your gun permit application. Expunging your New Jersey criminal record can restore all of these rights.

Hire An Experienced New Jersey Expungement Lawyer

New Jersey courts don't require you to have an attorney to expunge your record. However, determining when or if you're eligible and the best path forward can be complex under New Jersey law. A skilled expungement attorney can handle the process quickly and efficiently, restoring your rights as quickly as possible. If you are considering expungement of your record, attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. Attorney Lento and the skilled team at the Lento Law Firm have been helping people in New Jersey with criminal defense and expungement for years, and they can help you too. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 or contact them online to discuss your options.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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