Carrying a criminal record can be an enormous burden. The impact can be felt in every aspect of your life and can include lost job opportunities, denial of financial aid needed to further your education, and rejection of an apartment leasing application. Fortunately, the law allows certain individuals to have their criminal records expunged. Circumstances that may qualify you to have your record expunged include:
Expungement is the process by which criminal court records (including juvenile court records or records related to detention at a correctional facility) are removed from the system. When an expungement order is granted, it will allow the individual’s record to appear as if the past criminal conviction has not occurred. Individuals who do not want prior criminal convictions to be available during routine background checks will want to expunge these criminal conviction records as soon as possible.
Depending on the type of offense, the waiting period for expungement varies. Municipal ordinance offenses can generally be expunged two years from the date of completed court supervision if the individual has no previous criminal record. Disorderly Persons offenses have a longer waiting period of five years. For certain indictable offenses, the waiting period can be as long as ten years.
Criminal convictions of juveniles can also be expunged. For Young Drug Offenders (under the age of 21), the expungement waiting period is generally one year from completion of court supervision. The waiting period for Juvenile Adjudication is five years or the waiting period for expunging the crime if committed by an adult, whichever is shorter.
Not all criminal records are eligible for expungement. For example, many felonies cannot be expunged. Some of the criminal offenses which are not eligible for expungement include: criminal homicide; kidnapping; DUI/DWI; aggravated sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual contact; robbery; false imprisonment; human trafficking; perjury/false swearing; certain drug crimes including distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (first and second degree), possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute (first and second degree); selling or manufacturing child pornography; terrorism; criminal sexual contact with a minor; and endangering the welfare of a child. Motor vehicle offenses also cannot be expunged.
In order to successfully get a criminal record expunged in New Jersey, a Petition for Expungement must be filed in the Superior Court in the county where the original arrest or prosecution took place. Typically within 30 to 60 days after filing, the petition motion will be heard by the Court. A judge will decide if the eligibility requirements have been met and will issue the Order of Expungement to qualifying individuals.
Expungement of criminal records can be a complicated process. To assure that the precise legal procedure for expungement is handled correctly, individuals should consult an experienced criminal lawyer who is familiar with the relevant statues and eligibility guidelines. There are very specific requirements with respect to what information must be included in the Petition for Expungement such as details related to the original arrest and conviction. Failing to include all pertinent information will result in a denial of your Petition for Expungement.
An experienced Camden County criminal lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas J. Gosse can assist you in filing all of the necessary paperwork to obtain expungement of a criminal charge or conviction, including the expungement of convictions for juvenile crimes.
To speak to an experienced Camden County expungement lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas J. Gosse call 856-546-6600 to schedule a free confidential consultation or contact us online. With offices conveniently located in Haddon Heights, we work with clients throughout Camden County and South Jersey, including those in the Haddon Heights, Haddonfield, Collingswood and Cherry Hill, New Jersey areas.