If you have an arrest or a criminal conviction on your record and you are wanting to get it removed, the court refers to this as an expungement. An expungement “is the removal and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement, criminal justice agency or juvenile justice agency concerning a person’s apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal or juvenile justice system” [Source: New Jersey Courts]. In order to get an arrest or conviction on your record removed, you must first determine if your crime qualifies as one that is eligible for expungement.
In the State of New Jersey, there are certain crimes that are not eligible for expungement and then there are those that are. In the event your crime is one that can be expunged, certain criteria must be met, and the corresponding waiting period must have passed before you can request to have the arrest or conviction removed. There are different waiting periods for different categories of crimes so it is best to consult with a criminal defense lawyer to find out whether your crime is one that can be expunged and what your particular waiting period is.
For example, if you were convicted of one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense in Elizabeth, NJ and have not been convicted of any crime in the State of NJ or outside of it, N.J.S.2C:52-3 says that you are entitled to apply for an expungement if:
You were not “convicted, under the laws of this State, on the same or separate occasions of no more than four disorderly persons offenses, no more than four petty disorderly persons offenses, or a combination of no more than four disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, and [you do] not have any prior or subsequent conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, such that the total number of convictions for disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses would exceed four.”
N.J.S.2C:52-3 also highlights other criteria that would qualify you for an expungement of a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense and you can click here to read what those criteria are.
Aside from meeting this criterion, five years must have passed from “the date of your most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later” before you can apply for an expungement.
What steps must I take to get an arrest or criminal conviction expunged from my record?
Aside from ensuring that your crime is one that is eligible for expungement, you must also follow the specific process the court requires in order to get it removed from your record. The first thing you are going to need to do is file a Petition for Expungement. This Petition for Expungement must be filed in the Superior Court in the county where the arrest or conviction occurred [Source: New Jersey Courts]. For example, if you were convicted of a crime in Elizabeth, NJ, you would need to file your petition in Union County. After it has been filed and you have met all other requirements, a judge will then decide whether you should be granted an Expungement Order.
You should keep in mind that the court limits how much assistance it will provide to you so if you would like more information that is specific to your circumstances, you are encouraged to contact The Law Office of Eric M. Mark. You should also keep in mind that any mistake, clerical, factual or legal, will result in long delays in processing or denial. In the event you would like a criminal defense attorney to help prepare an expungement petition for you, contact Elizabeth, NJ defense lawyer Eric M. Mark today as he can help you with this as well.
The Law Office of Eric M. Mark is located at:
20 Commerce Drive, Ste. 135
Cranford, NJ 07016