If you have been living with a criminal record in New Jersey, you now have a clear idea of just how important it can be to have your record expunged. A criminal record can impact all aspects of your life and hiring a New Jersey expungement lawyer to help clear your record can make these impacts go away.
So, when can you file to have your New Jersey criminal record expunged? In New Jersey, there are two main requirements:
1. Your Record Must Be Eligible for Expungement
First, your record must be eligible for expungement. While most criminal and juvenile charges and convictions are eligible, there are some exceptions. For example, many serious violent crimes are not eligible for expungement (including arson, homicide, robbery and sexual assault). Additionally, since DUIs are “traffic offenses” and not crimes under New Jersey law, they are not eligible for expungement either.
In most cases, you can only file to have one indictable offense and up to four disorderly persons offenses expunged. Alternatively, you can file to expunge your record of five disorderly persons offenses. However, New Jersey has a “crime spree” exception that allows for expungement of all convictions that are either: (i) included in a single judgment; or (ii) “interdependent or closely related in circumstances and . . . committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a comparatively short period of time.”
You can get an expungement of multiple convictions for crimes and offenses if 10 years have passed since your last conviction or the period after parole or probation without another conviction. Additionally, if you successfully complete drug court and have not been convicted of any new offenses while in drug court, you can get your entire record of eligible crimes/offenses for expungement expunged.
2. You Must Be Through the Waiting Period
Second, you must be through the waiting period. New Jersey shortened its expungement waiting periods in 2018. Currently, you can file for expungement if your record is otherwise eligible and:
- If you are seeking expungement of a disorderly persons offense, it has been at least five years; or,
- If you are seeking expungement of an indictable offense, it has been at least six years.
Five or six years from what? For both indictable offenses and disorderly persons offenses, the waiting period begins to run on the later of:
- Your conviction;
- Your payment of all fines;
- Your release from incarceration; or,
- Your completion of probation.
An exception to these waiting period requirements is what is known as an “early pathway” expungement. If you are eligible for this type of expungement, then you can file after five years for an indictable offense or after three years for a disorderly persons offense. To file for an early pathway expungement, you must be able to show that:
- You haven’t been convicted of any crimes since the most recent crime for which you are seeking expungement; and,
- Allowing an early pathway expungement would be “in the public interest.”
Schedule an Appointment with a New Jersey Expungement Lawyer
If you believe that you are eligible for expungement or have questions about “early pathway” expungement in New Jersey, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. To speak with one of our experienced New Jersey expungement lawyers in confidence, call 877-435-6371 or send us your contact information online today.
Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive experience in defending criminal cases as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our site, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.