Criminal Mischief

What to Know About Expungement and How a New Jersey Attorney Can Help

Do you have a criminal charge or arrest record from your past that you wish you could erase? Having a criminal record is something that follows people around for years. Unfortunately, it can create difficulties when applying for future jobs or for college. Thanks to the expungement process, there is a way to wipe your record clean. This means no more checking that box on applications indicating that you have a criminal record! Your criminal record will also be removed from data banks, so nothing will come up if someone does a background check on you. A New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin is very familiar with the expungement process. He can help you with the petition for expungement and represent you in court if needed.

New Jersey Law and Expungement 

Section 2C:52-1 of New Jersey law defines expungement as: “the extraction and 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.”

The law goes on to further describe what qualifies as an expunged record:

  • Complaints
  • Warrants
  • Arrests
  • Commitments
  • Processing records
  • Fingerprints
  • Photographs
  • Index cards
  • “Rap sheets”
  • Judicial docket records

Expungement is a wonderful opportunity for those with criminal records to start fresh. The record clears, meaning if someone asks if you have a criminal or arrest record, you can honestly answer, “No!” The state of New Jersey takes expungement very seriously. In fact, New Jersey Law Section 2C:52-30 states that revealing a criminal record or arrest history with knowledge of record expungement is a disorderly persons offense. The fine for this offense is up to $200. 

What Are the Exceptions?

Many people can successfully apply for record expungement. However, some crimes are not eligible. For example, a criminal charge of murder is not eligible for expungement. Your lawyer will be well-versed in expungement exceptions and can immediately tell you whether you are eligible to apply or not. 

Another exception with expungement comes into play with certain jobs. If you decide to apply for a job within law enforcement or in the judicial branch, you have to report that your records were expunged.

The Application Process

Expungement sounds great, right? You probably are wondering, “When can I apply?” The answer to that question depends on the criminal charge you are trying to expunge. Different offenses come with various waiting periods. For example, if you were charged with a disorderly person’s misdemeanor, the typical waiting period is 5 years. Your New Jersey attorney will be able to determine your waiting period and whether you are eligible to apply.

Sometimes the court will allow for an early application for expungement before the waiting period is up. This can occur for things like seeking out education or a certain job, all while having good behavior and character since the original charge. If you are looking to apply for expungement early, a good attorney is the person you need to see. They will be able to put together a case for you to take to court in hopes of receiving permission to apply early. 

New Jersey Law 2C:52-7 defines what is necessary to file a petition for expungement: 

  • Date of birth
  • Date of arrest
  • Reason for charge or arrest
  • Date of conviction
  • Court’s disposition and the punishment 

How Can a New Jersey Attorney Help?

If you are looking into getting an expungement, the first step is finding a good attorney. An attorney can help you through the expungement process from start to finish. Depending on the situation, you may not have to appear in court, but if you do, your attorney will be there to present the facts surrounding your expungement request. Your attorney will make sure that your petition for expungement includes all the necessary information and documentation. Their goal is to make sure the expungement process is seamless and simple.

As you seek out an attorney, be sure to find one that you can trust. Schedule an initial consultation to get a feel for how you will interact with your attorney. They should be kind, empathetic, a good listener, and have a plan in mind of how to get your records expunged as quickly as possible. As you research attorneys in your area, check out third-party review sites, like Google Reviews, to learn about other peoples’ experience with the attorney. During your initial meeting, don’t be afraid to be completely honest about your criminal records, as that is the only way your attorney can fully help you. In addition, ask as many questions as you need to about the process. Your attorney is here to help! 

Contact A New Jersey Attorney to Discuss Expungement

People with criminal records often find it difficult to do things like apply for jobs or college. Often, they are being held back by a crime they committed years ago when they were much younger. Fortunately, with expungement, you aren’t held to your past crimes forever! After a standard waiting period, you can petition for expungement. This means your criminal records will be wiped clean. When you apply for jobs or college, you no longer have to indicate that you have a criminal charge in your past. If you have felt held back by your criminal record, an expungement can open the doors to new opportunities. The process is simple with a good attorney backing you up. If you or a loved one is interested in starting the process of petitioning for expungement, contact New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin right away by phone at (833) 732-7320, or email him at leon@matchin.intersectwp.com

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