With the extremely tight job market in the United States, especially in the State of New Jersey, and unemployment at its highest level in decades, job seekers need to have close to an impeccable history in order to set themselves above other applicants. People with criminal records may be able to expunge their records and truthfully represent that they have never been convicted of a crime.
The Petition for Expungement of criminal records in the State of New Jersey provides an opportunity for individuals who have committed disorderly persons or other indictable offenses to have these records removed from their criminal history. Petition for Expungement in the State of New Jersey is available to both residents and non-residents of New Jersey. The nature of the offense will determine if and when a person will be eligible to a Petition for Expungment.
The statutes of New Jersey clearly define the mandatory waiting periods a person must abide to prior to filing a Petition for Expungment. If an individual is seeking an expungement for an indictable offense, there is a 10 year waiting period. If an individual is seeking an expungement for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, there is a 5 year waiting period. For a Municipal Ordinance, there is a 2 year waiting period to become eligible for expungement. There are instances in which an individual has completed a Pre-Trial Intervention and/or Conditional Discharge program. In either of these circumstances, an individual is eligible to file a Petition for Expungement after a mandatory 6 month waiting period. An important note about the mandatory waiting period is that it begins at the time of discharge and/or full payment of fine, not from when the offense was committed.
Following a successful Petition for Expungement in the State of New Jersey, an individual’s criminal history will not show any record of the previous charges that had been expunged. In addition, the individual that has had part or all of their record expunged is ordered to state that they have never been arrested or convicted of a crime if ever asked. The expungement statute states that a person is to be charged with a crime if they do not follow this order. Only in rare instances is it allowed and recommended that an individual disclose that they have successfully filed a Petition for Expungement, such as if a person is seeking a position in law enforcement, the legal field, or a government position.
The Petition for Expungement process is detailed and must be done correctly in order for the Court to consider granting the expungement. Even though the process can be undertaken by an individual pro se, it is recommended that a person consult with an attorney to avoid any errors or delays that may occur during the process. It must also be noted that a Petition for Expungement may only be attempted once a person’s life. In addition, if an individual is later convicted of an offense, the court can reference the expunged record while determining the sentence.
James Harrison Banks, Esq.
Banks Law Offices, LLC
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410