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Think of an expungement as a new beginning. While your criminal record will not actually be erased, it will become unavailable to anyone conducting a public search. This means that if you are applying for a job, for an apartment or house rental, to coach sports or to carry a firearm, you can legally answer “‘No” to questions about whether you have a criminal background. Your records will, essentially, be sealed. Whether you were arrested for assault, drug crimes, shoplifting or a number of other crimes or offenses, expungements allow you to move on with your life without the stigma of a criminal record.
The criminal defense attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC will work closely with you to ensure that you have the best possible chance at expungement. We have over 25 years of experience successfully protecting our clients’ rights in Scotch Plains, Westfield, Plainfield, Cranford, Clark, Cherry Hill, Union, Elizabeth and throughout New Jersey, and we will work hard to get your record clean.
In order to expunge a criminal record, you must go through a relatively complicated court process. If you successfully complete the process, you will receive a court order signed by the judge. From that point forward, anyone who performs a background check through the state police or FBI will receive a “no record” response. It sounds very cut and dried, but there is a lot of grey area surrounding expungements. The help of a knowledgeable attorney, one with years of experience obtaining expungements for clients, is essential to a favorable outcome. Incomplete paperwork and missed deadlines are the fastest route to a denied request for expungement. The attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC can help with your case in Bridgewater, Somerville, Bedminster, Hillsborough, Bernards Township and throughout New Jersey.
Having a record doesn’t necessarily mean that you assaulted someone or got arrested for selling cocaine. Sometimes, the offense is so trivial that you simply paid a fine through the mail and assumed the whole mess was over. Unfortunately, many of these seemingly unimportant events are still reported as arrests and they become public knowledge when an insurance company, landlord or prospective employer does a background check. Serious crime or not, the existence of a criminal record causes people to jump to conclusions and it can seriously ruin your chance at getting the job or house you were hoping to land.
Now, that being said, not all criminal records can be expunged. In order to determine whether an individual’s record can be expunged, many factors are taken into consideration. First of all, certain crimes can never be expunged. These include convictions for:
In determining whether or not you are eligible for an expungement, the courts will consider past criminal history, whether all fines were paid, if the person has had a previous expungement and if any charges against the person are still open. You are most likely to be eligible if you have only been charged with one offense during your lifetime and you know all the pertinent details of your case, such as what the charge was, the court in which it was resolved and the outcome of the charge. Even if you believe your case to be an easy one, going into the expungement process without a qualified attorney is a major mistake.
Expungements require a specific waiting period before an individual is eligible. The waiting period is based on the crime, and it doesn’t begin until the judge imposes the sentence, all fines have been paid and you have successfully completed parole or probation, or your jail or prison sentence. Felonies traditionally have a 10-year waiting period, however, with “early pathway” you can apply for expungement after five years. Disorderly persons offenses have a five year waiting period, municipal ordinances have a two year waiting period and dismissals after completion of a diversionary program (such as PTI) have a six-month waiting period.
An expungement of your criminal record is like a second chance at life. Contact one of our offices for a free consultation about your case in Newark, West Orange, South Orange, Bloomfield, Montclair and throughout New Jersey.
It can take a few months. We will first obtain your court dispositions and other documents relevant to your case. We then prepare and file the petition for expungement. Your expungement will be referred to a judge and the police will conduct a background check. The judge may schedule a hearing where we will appear to argue your case. Once the expungement is granted, we then serve the paperwork on all relevant agencies, who will remove your criminal record.
In some cases, yes. The courts do take prior expungements into account when granting a new expungement. If the conviction otherwise qualifies for expungement and you have satisfied the applicable waiting period, the court could still grant the new expungement.
The expungement process is actually very complex. If you miss a filing deadline or forget a file, your expungement can be denied. It is also beneficial to have someone on your side who can advocate on your behalf at the expungement hearing. An experienced lawyer knows how to build a strong argument and can be key to obtaining an expungement quickly and with the fewest possible complications.