Webster’s Dictionary defines expungement as “to cancel out or destroy completely.” In the legal world, getting your record expunged means that it will be as though your crimes never occurred. What offenses can be expunged? For how to expunge: New Jersey, what does the process look like? Is it worth pursuing?
What can be expunged?
Unfortunately, the list for what can be expunged in New Jersey is not very long.
Offenses that may be expunged include:
- Charges that were ultimately dismissed (unless it was due to a finding of insanity or lack of mental capacity)
- Disorderly persons offenses
- Minor drug offenses
- Municipal ordinance violations
Convictions that CANNOT be expunged include:
- Felonies and first degree misdemeanors in which victim is under 18 years old
- Various sexual offenses
- Endangering the welfare of children
Expungement Process in New Jersey
The process to get offenses expunged in New Jersey mimics a lot of other states, and usually takes about six months to complete. Here is the step by step process.
- Obtain Criminal Records – this is necessary to begin drafting the expungement petition.
- Submit an Expungement Petition – you and your lawyer will need to draft, notarize, and file an expungement petition with the court.
- Serve the Expungement Petition – once a copy of the “filed” expungement petition is returned to you, it will be “served” to all applicable government agencies.
- Attend Appearance (if necessary) – sometimes you will be required to appear before a judge after the expungement is filed.
- Serve Expungement Order – after appearing before a judge, your lawyer will receive an expungement order that will be served to all applicable government agencies, including: the courts, police departments, probation, FBI, etc.
Is It Worth It?
After reading that list it may seem like the process is long, tedious, and challenging. Firstly, we all know the stigma that comes with having a criminal record. Having a record can make it harder to get a job, obtain certain licenses, advance your education, or even obtain a loan. It doesn’t seem fair to have to suffer for a mistake you committed long ago, especially if you’ve already served your time.
But secondly, you do not have to face this process alone! Mark Catanzaro has over 30 years of experience in both State and Federal courts. He’s been through this process with other people before. He’s the hard-working and intelligent attorney you need to get justice! Contact him today!