expungement lawNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently took a break from his ongoing presidential campaign to sign into law a powerful bill that will improve the expungement process for New Jerseyans with a criminal record. It was signed in mid-January with many others, and will take full effect 90 days after that date. Expungement is a great way to clear reformed individuals of an old conviction record, helping them to find advantages in applying for jobs or housing and keep their lives continuing down the right path.

Waiting Period for Expungement: The period of time after being convicted of a crime in New Jersey before you can get that expunged from your record used to be considerably long before the implementation of this new law. For a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense, it has just been reduced from five years to three. Felony offenses formerly needed to wait ten years to begin the expungement process, whereas now it is only five.

Result of Expungement:  Once this expungement is given, the conviction and arrest will be removed from that person’s record, and they will not need to give information that they ever were convicted on paperwork such as a job application, because according to the law it has now never legally happened. This will make the individual able to take part in more parts of society than they would have previously been able to enjoy. Expungement removes those crimes from their criminal history for all intents and purposes.

Why Expungement is Important: For many offenses, the stigma that comes with simply having a criminal conviction is much higher than the stigma that would have been associated with the act itself.

Supporters of the Bill: Along with the final signature by Governor Christie, there were a number of important lawmakers who played a role in the passing of this new expungement law. Co-sponsor Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer has talked extensively about the important role that this new law will play in helping formerly incarcerated individuals rejoin society. She has noted that with a criminal record, New Jersey residents can face steep obstacles in finding housing, employment, and student loans, all important steps in getting a life back on track to being a productive part of society.

Know your options: If you have been convicted of a crime in New Jersey, it doesn’t mean that your life is over. With the expungement law available, many formerly incarcerated individuals can go on to live full and productive lives. If you are facing a charge or seeking more information, contact me, Leon Matchin, today for more information about the strategies I pursue in a case to receive the best options for my clients. For a free phone consultation, call me at (833) 732-7320.