CLEARING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD
The process of erasing your criminal records of arrests and convictions is known as expungement. The New Jersey Statute is N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 et seq., which sets forth all the rules and regulations for clearing your criminal records. The rationale behind this process is that your past criminal record should not haunt you the rest of your life; especially in connection with trying to find a decent job. Even a disorderly persons offense can cause you problems. So, depending on the type of crime, after a certain waiting period, you can submit a Petition for Expungement, which if granted results in your records being wiped clean*. The end result is that on a job application, or in an interview, when asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted you can say with confidence, “No.”
EXPUNGEMENT IN NJ MADE EASIER
In December of 2017 then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a trio of bills designed to make it easier for those convicted of minor crimes to expunge their criminal records and apply for jobs. That was done because many employers still ask about criminal records at the beginning of the application process even though it has been outlawed since 2015. The new expungement laws went into effect in 2018.
These new expungement laws in New Jersey were designed to make it easier to get a job even though you have some criminal record, by making it easier to erase that record. The time periods have been reduced and more crimes, including marijuana offenses, have been made eligible for expungement. Both felony and misdemeanor crimes are eligible for expungement in New Jersey.
EXPUNGEMENT OF MARIJUANA OFFENSES
Now on the horizon is a new law concerning marijuana offenses which should be passed in early 2019. As part of the legalization of marijuana crusade in New Jersey, minor marijuana offenses will be easier to expunge. It is estimated that under the new New Jersey Expungement Law an additional 300,000 people will be eligible to erase marijuana offenses from their records.
The process has been simplified but it is still not easy. You must follow the procedures precisely; from obtaining your records, to properly listing the disposition of the charges, the amount of fines paid and penalties imposed, if any.
After the Order for Expungement has been granted, you must send it to all the relevant departments to ensure that your records are expunged; as in destroyed. Failure to carefully follow all these rules and procedures will result in your records remaining available for all to see. That is why you should use the services of an experienced attorney.
Once you have successfully expunged your criminal record you don’t have to worry about an employer asking you about your criminal record, because you won’t have one! Even if the employer decides to do a criminal background check, they won’t find anything.
So if you have found it difficult to find work due to some mistakes you made in the past, or even recently, please call and we will let you know if you can expunge your record so that you can pass a criminal background check in New Jersey. If you are in Bergen County, Hudson County, Essex County or Passaic County and are seeking to expunge your criminal records, please contact us.