Sometimes one bad decision seems to follow you around for life. You’ve paid your fine, served time and fulfilled all of the requirements of a conviction a long time ago. Nonetheless, the subject of your arrest or conviction seems to keep coming up. It follows you when you want to apply for nursing school, or decide to become a teacher, or any number of other things. Maybe you’re pursuing a firearms identification card or want to rent a place to live. Many of these efforts require you to pass a background check. Depending upon the kind of arrests or convictions that show up on your record, you may find that many doors are closed to you.
If you were ever arrested and/or convicted of a criminal offense in the State of New Jersey, it may be possible to have that record expunged. If successful, an expungement would erase your record from any mention of that arrest and/or conviction. However, not every offense is eligible for expungement. That’s why it’s imperative to consult with an expungement attorney.
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As a general rule, disorderly persons (misdemeanor) convictions are expungable five years after the date that any fines and period of supervisory probation have ended, though the court may expunge such an offense after only three years for good cause shown. Further, young drug offenders (meaning people who were 21 years-old or younger at the time of the offense), who were only charged with possessing an illegal drug, may apply for an expungement after one year.
Only two disorderly persons (misdemeanor) offenses may be expunged. If a defendant has completed a period of conditional discharge, that arrest can be expunged six months after the conditional discharge was terminated.
Convictions for a violation of a municipal ordinance may be expunged after two years.
Juvenile convictions are expungable five years after discharge of the convicted from legal custody or supervision, or five years have elapsed form the entry of the judgment of delinquency.
Indictable convictions (felonies) are expungable after ten years from the date that any supervisory probation or incarceration is completed, or the final payment of a fine, whichever is latest. Only one indictable may be expunged.
Certain offenses are not expungable. These are as follows:
- Criminal Homicide, except death by auto.
- Luring or Enticing;
- Human Trafficking;
- Sexual Assault or Aggravated Sexual Assault;
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact;
- Criminal Sexual Contact (with a minor);
- Criminal Restraint;
- False Imprisonment;
- Arson and Related Offenses;
- Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, or causing the child other harm;
- Photographing or filming a child in a prohibited sexual act;
- Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act;
- Distributing, possessing with intent to distribute or using a file-sharing program to store items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child;
- Possessing or viewing items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child;
- False Swearing;
- Knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actor’s child;
- Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices; and
- Conspiracies or attempts to commit such crimes.
Also, convictions for the sale or distribution, or intent to sell or distribute drugs are not expungable except in cases of marijuana under 25 grams, hashish, under 5 grams, or any other drug sale or possession with intent resulting in s third or fourth degree conviction, where the court finds that expungement is within the public interest.
The expungement process is very time consuming, complicated, and particular. It can take several months from the day the expungement application is filed before a hearing is even held. Further, very few attorneys have experience successfully executing an expungement. The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., handles expungements on a regular basis. Generally, we charge a $200.00 expense retainer (out of which is paid the filing fee, and the postage costs of the many mailings required to perform an expungement), as well as $1500.00 in attorney’s fees. This is not a small amount of money, but a clean criminal record can be priceless.
Please contact The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., LLC, today to discuss your options.
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