If you’ve been convicted of a crime in New Jersey, it’s likely that you were sentenced to time in jail, a probationary period, community service, or ordered to pay fines and make financial restitution. Depending on the nature of your crime, you could spend several years with the shadow of your conviction looming over your head, making it more difficult to find work, finish school, establish a permanent residence, or start a family and build personal relationships. Criminal convictions from your past tend to crop up, no matter how long it’s been, or how much you’ve changed.
However, there is hope. For many convicted criminals, New Jersey has a variety of options to apply for post-conviction relief. Although the typical “next step” for persons who have been convicted of a crime is to file for an appeal, the window of time for filing an appeal closes quickly—you must file within 45 days—and some people may miss their window. The post-conviction relief option has a longer time frame; you typically have five years to file from the date of your conviction. You may also benefit from certain exceptions to this time limitation.
How Do You Apply for Post-Conviction Relief?
Post-conviction relief, or PCR, is an assertion that you have been convicted wrongfully, and in violation of your constitutional rights. This violation could have occurred at any point during your criminal processing, but typically these violations take place during pre-trial hearings, plea hearings, trial, or at sentencing. At any point, if you have not been granted the opportunity to exercise your full rights, you can apply for PCR to contest your conviction.
If you file for PCR, you must meet one or more of the following conditions:
- You were subject to a significant denial of your constitutional rights, either under New Jersey’s statutes or constitution or under the Constitution of the United States.
- The court lacked jurisdiction to sentence you.
- Your sentence was excessive, and did not fit the crime you committed. Additionally, the sentence could be improper as a matter of law.
If you are convicted as a criminal in New Jersey, the record may follow you around for a long time after your jail sentence has been served and your debt has been paid. If you have been improperly tried and convicted, you deserve to have your name cleared and your rights restored. For more information on post-conviction relief and how to start the process, contact Scott Gorman, a Morristown expungement attorney with The Gorman Law Firm, today.
Published in Categories: Expungment