Having a criminal record can be a weight hanging over your head, especially if you have changed your ways and are trying to get back to a normal, crime-free life. Often, hiding a criminal history, no matter how small, turns out to be an impossible task thanks to the internet and the ease of a quick Google search.
Employers, lenders, friends and family members, potential relationship partners and others will ask you to explain your criminal record as soon as they find out. If your crime is one of youthful indiscretion—petty theft, joyriding, underage drinking, etc.—or even one committed after that, explaining your record may be embarrassing and could potentially have adverse consequences.
Fortunately, New Jersey offers some people the chance to erase their criminal records and start clean, Bergen County expungement lawyers say. Record expungement is only a possibility for those who have been convicted of certain criminal offenses, and a person hoping to have his or her record expunged must follow the process laid out in the state’s laws.
Still, the option of having a criminal record erased can make a world of difference for those who are trying to move forward from a bad past.
Although the “ban the box” law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against applicants based on their admission to a criminal record without asking further questions, casino online many institutions automatically assume the worst when someone admits to a criminal past or has an arrest record of any kind. A criminal background could affect job opportunities, admission to higher education institutions or even professional license applications.
In New Jersey, a person’s criminal record remains on file indefinitely until a judge signs an order granting an expungement petition. Once an expungement has been granted, the record is cleared and most potential employers cannot access it, with very rare exceptions such as when the employment sought is with a law enforcement agency or the judiciary.
For this reason, expungement lawyers in Bergen County recommend that anyone with a minor criminal record consider having their records expunged. Background checks are now a standard part of the application process and a potential university or employer may base a decision almost entirely on evidence of an applicant’s criminal record.
How Do You Expunge a Record?
To have your record expunged in New Jersey, you must first demonstrate eligibility to do so. Certain crimes cannot be expunged, including criminal homicide, aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact with a minor, robbery, kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and most distribution or possession of controlled dangerous substances. Additionally, expungement cannot be granted for motor vehicle violations, such as drunk driving.
If your crime is eligible for expungement, you must wait the appropriate amount of time before filing your petition. Indictable convictions have a ten-year waiting period from the end of the sentence, although an exception exists that reduces the waiting period to five years when the expungement would be in the public interest.
Juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent for committing an act that would be considered criminal if committed by an adult must wait five years after their successful completion of their supervision period. If the adjudication of delinquency arose out of a finding that the juvenile committed a less serious offense, the juvenile would only need to wait as long as a similarly situated adult would need to wait for an expungement.
An arrest that does not result in a conviction is eligible for immediate expungement unless the dismissal of the charge was the result of the successful completion of a diversionary program, in which case, six months must elapse from the dismissal.
If you are interested in having your record cleared, you are encouraged to work with an expungement lawyer to petition for an expungement. At The Gorman Law Firm, Scott Gorman can help clients determine their eligibility and complete the expungement process successfully. To discuss your case, contact him today.
Published in Categories: Expungment