It is definitely a challenge to move forward with your life with a criminal record hanging over your head. You might be in need of income but continually are turned down by potential employers because of your record. Luckily, in the state of New Jersey, there are steps that can be taken in order to get something expunged from your criminal record and get you back on track with your life.
It is an involved process but definitely worth the time if the outcome is a clean record. Also keep in mind, New Jersey law has a limited right to expungement, which means not everyone is eligible to have their record expunged — it depends on the extent of the crime and number of convictions.
For those who are eligible and looking to expunge something on your record, follow the steps below:
1.) After determining your eligibility, the first step is to locate your records. You will need these in order to put together your expungement petition. You will need the date of the arrest, what you were arrested for, the summons/indictment/complaint docket number, conviction date or date of disposition, the punishment, and dates when parole or probation was completed or when fines were paid, if required. Note: If you had a lawyer or attorney during your arrest you should check to see if they have the necessary information. It can save you time.
2.) Once you have obtained your records and necessary information the next step is to complete the Petition for Expungement forms. These forms can be found online and printed.
3.) After completing the forms the next step is to mail them to the Criminal Case Management Office of the county where your arrest took place. You will mail two copies to the office and you should keep another for your records. Keep in mind there is a filing fee ($75) but if you cannot afford it you can request a fee waiver and fill that out. One copy of the forms you mailed will then be mailed back to you marked “filed” with a docket number, as well as the date and time or your hearing.
4.) You will then have to mail a copy of those forms, return receipt requested, to the following: the attorney general, superintendent of state police – expungement unit, county prosecutor, magistrate/court clerk if the matter was by a municipal court, chief of police where the arrest was made, warden of any institution you were incarcerated (if applicable), Division of Criminal Justice (for State Grand Jury cases), and the county probation department (for conditional discharge, conditional dismissal, and pretrial intervention.) Keep the return receipts for you will need those as proof of mailing before or during your hearing.
5.) The next step is to show up to your hearing on the date and time indicated if the county requires an appearance. It is always best to arrive a little early. If all goes according to plan the judge will grant your expungement and you will receive your Expungement Order.
6.) The final step is to then mail a copy of the Expungement Order to each of the same places as in Step 4. Again, request a return receipt with each in order to have proof that the documents were received.
As evident from the steps above, the process of getting something on your record expunged can be quite tedious and involved. It could be in your best interest to find an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who is well versed in the application process who can vouch that all of your information is correct and make sure your request does not have any holes.
The Law Offices of Michele Finizio can help you get on your way to getting your life back on track. Call today at 856-242-7300 or fill out our convenient online contact form to get started on your case today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.