Anyone who has been convicted of a crime always wants to know how he can go about getting it wiped off of his record. In New Jersey, the process that you must go through in order for an offense to be taken off of your record is called expungement.
What is Expungement?
An expungement is the removal and isolation of all records on file within any court, corrections facility, law enforcement agency, criminal justice agency, juvenile justice agency, etc. regarding the apprehension, arrest, detention, trial, conviction, or outcome of your criminal offense.
Put simply, it is the removal of any record of an offense that you were charged with or convicted of in the State of New Jersey.
How Can I Get My Offense Expunged?
You will be allowed to seek an expungement if you committed only one indictable offense in your entire lifetime. This means that if you were charged and convicted of more than one indictable offense, you will not be able to get an expungement.
However, an expungement can be obtained even if you have two prior disorderly persons offenses on your record.
It is important to know that even if you were admitted to Pre-Trial Intervention or another type of program that does not make a record of your conviction, there will still be a record of your arrest on file unless you get it expunged.
In order to obtain an expungement, you must comply with the requirements established in N.J.S.A. 2C:52-7.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-7, you must:
- Fill Out a Petition for Expungement
- Fill Out an Order for a Hearing
- Fill Out an Expungement Order
- Fill Out a Proof of Notice
- Pay a Filing Fee
Moreover, you will only be allowed to file for an expungement 10 years after the:
- Date of Your Conviction
- Payment of a Fine
- Satisfactory Completion of Probation or Parole
- Release From Prison
Whichever one of these is the latest is the one the court will go by.
Be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how best to fill out these forms, present your case, and get the results you need.
Are There Offenses That Cannot Be Expunged?
In New Jersey, there are a host of offenses that cannot be expunged from your record. The following crimes cannot be expunged:
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Death By Auto
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
- False Imprisonment
- False Swearing
- Forcible Sodomy
- Luring or Enticing
- Attempting to Commit Any of the Crimes Listed Here
- Aiding, Assisting, or Concealing People Accused of the Crimes Listed Here
Expunging Drug-Related Offenses
Certain kinds of drug-related offenses can be expunged, but others cannot.
As a general rule, drug possession charges can be expunged while distribution or intent to distribute charges cannot.
More specifically, if you were convicted of selling or distributing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or possessing CDS with the intent to distribute it, you will not be allowed to have that offense expunged UNLESS it related to:
- Marijuana where the Total Quantity Sold, Distributed, or Possessed With Intent to Sell was 25 Grams or Less
- Hashish, where the Total Quantity Sold, Distributed, or Possessed With Intent to Sell was 5 Grams or Less.
Remember, an expungement is a powerful tool that can help you get your life back in order. To learn more about the process, see Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in New Jersey and Expunging or Sealing Juvenile Court Records in New Jersey.