Expungement of Criminal Records in NJ
- February 9, 2012
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New Jersey permits expungement of criminal records. An expungement is the removal and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention center, correctional facility, law enforcement, criminal justice or juvenile justice agency concerning a person’s arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal or juvenile justice system.
A criminal record can haunt you forever. An expungement confers the benefits of a clean criminal record including the ability to get or keep certain jobs, professional licensing opportunities, the ability to obtain firearms and even acceptance into certain schools.
In New Jersey, expungements are only available for certain offenses and there are minimum waiting periods of 5 and 10 years, depending on the offense. Recently the Court held, in The Matter of the Application for Expungement of Criminal Records of Lobasso, that, in spite of the recent amendment to the expungement statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2a, reducing the waiting period for an expungement from 10 years to 5 under certain circumstances, such relief is considered extraordinary and not routine. Following 10 years there continues to be a presumption that an expungement will be routinely granted barring a societal interest in maintaining the availability of the records. When an application is made for an expungement of more serious offenses in less than 10 years, more than the offense-free passage of time is required. The requirement is a showing that there is a public interest in the expungement, after consideration of the underlying offense and the applicants character and conduct since the conviction.
If you or your child have been haunted by an error in judgment made long ago, expungement is something you should consider. When properly handled, it can be a simple and freeing process but you should always have the benefit of an attorney when seeking an expungement. For more information on expungements in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.