Jersey City Expungement Attorney
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When you have an old arrest or a criminal legal proceeding on your record, it can hold you back despite never being found guilty of a crime in some circumstances. Potential employers, landlords, loan officers, and college admissions officers may misunderstand your record and get a wrong impression of you. You could lose out on opportunities because you are viewed as a criminal when you are an upstanding citizen.
When your education, career, and well-being are hurt by your criminal record, you should consider expungement and whether this process is right for you. Expungement removes your criminal file from the court and public records, which means it will not show up on a background check. If the court approves an expungement, then it is as if that arrest, detainment, or proceeding never happened. To learn more, call a Jersey City expungement attorney at Bhatt Law Group at (201) 798-8000.
Eligibility for Expungement in New Jersey
Eligibility for expungement can be complicated. The process is not intended for you if you were convicted of a serious crime or an offense under the motor vehicle code. It is meant to benefit you if there are occurrences other than convictions on your records or convictions for minor offenses. The type of record and the offense matter greatly in whether you are eligible to seek an expungement or not.
You may be eligible for expungement if:
- You were arrested but no charges were brought against you
- You were arrested and charged, but these were later dropped
- You were arrested, charged with a crime, went to trial, and were acquitted
- Your were arrested and charged with a crime, but your charges were dismissed through conditional discharge or dismissal or a supervisory treatment program
- You violated a municipal ordinance, so long as you do not have a previous or subsequent indictable offense or more than two other disorder persons offenses
- You were found guilty of one to three disorderly person offenses
- You were arrested and went through New Jersey’s drug courts, successfully completing rehabilitation or other requirements
- You were under 21 when found guilty of certain drug offenses
- Your identity was stolen and you have arrests or convictions related to this theft on your record
- Your record contains one conviction for an expungable indicatable offense (one that can be punished by more than six months in jail), so long as you do not have more than two disorder
persons or petty disorderly person offenses on your record
You are not eligible for expungement if you have been convicted of:
- Arson or other property offenses
- A child sex crime
- Aggravated criminal sexual contact
- Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault
- Criminal restraint or false imprisonment if the victim is a minor and you were not the child’s parent
- Luring or enticing
- Human trafficking
- Criminal homicide
- False swearing
- Conspiracy to attempt to commit these crimes
- Drug offenses, except for certain marijuana or hashish offenses
Waiting Periods for Expungement in New Jersey
You may be able to ask for an expungement right away or you may have to wait up to 10 years. For example, an arrest that does not result in a conviction can be expunged upon request right away. So can special probation through drug court or court-ordered rehabilitation. However, many drug offenses require you to wait one year. If you have a municipal ordinance violation, you must wait two years. A disorderly person’s violation may require you to wait five years while two disorderly person convictions necessitate waiting 10 years. If you believe you may be eligible for expungement yet are not sure enough time has passed, contact Bhatt Law Group today.
Seeking an Expungement
If you believe you are eligible for an expungement and have waited for the necessary duration, speak with a Jersey City expungement attorney right away to begin the legal process of cleaning up your record. There are a number of steps you need to take, which can go much smoother with the help of a lawyer.
You will need to locate and review your records to ensure you know the dates of arrests and dispositions and the exact offenses. Once this information has been obtained and reviewed by your attorney to confirm eligibility, then your lawyer will draft the petition for expungement and file it in the county of your most recent offense or where an indictable conviction was entered. When your lawyer files the necessary paperwork, a hearing will be scheduled before a judge 35 to 60 days later. There will be a filing fee.
You must serve copies of your petition for expungement with a number of other entities, including the attorney general, superintendent of the state police, and the county prosecutor. This is to ensure that the state and law enforcement agencies have the opportunity to appear at your hearing and present their argument if they disagree with the expungement. This can seem intimidating; however, proper notice to all relevant entities is essential to moving forward with your petition.
Your attorney will then prepare you for the court hearing. The judge may ask you questions and listen to the state or law enforcement’s arguments before determining whether an expungement is appropriate. If you are granted an expungement, your attorney will serve the expungement order on all of the entities who received notice of your petition.
Contact a Jersey City Expungement Attorney for More Information
If you have an arrest or minor incidents on your criminal record and it is causing you problems, do not hesitate to reach out to Bhatt Law Group. You deserve to be able to wipe the slate clean and move forward with life.