New Jersey Criminal Record Lawyer
A criminal record can create many challenges when trying to move forward in your life. You may experience trouble applying for a job, obtaining a drivers' license, or obtaining firearms. It is important to obtain an expungement of criminal records as soon as possible-well before your past history will be reviewed or questioned. At Maynard, & Sumner, LLC, we help people just like you eliminate these frustrations by obtaining a criminal record expungement. Contact us for a free consultation.
Minimizing the Impact on Your Life-Clear Your Criminal Record
A conviction may restrict you ability to vote, serve as a juror, maintain child custody or visitation rights, hold public office, serve as a credible witness, obtain a bank loan or legal residence, obtain a professional license or drivers' license, or serve in the military. An expungement will help you avoid the legal, economic, and social problems of a criminal record in two ways:
- You may legally say that you have never been arrested or convicted
- Public background checks will show that "no criminal record exists".
What is an expungement?
Simply put, an expungement is a legal way to "clear your record". While the records do not just "disappear", they cannot be accessed in background checks, for civil use, or for general law enforcement. All the expunged records are sent to a special facility for expunged records. Under rare circumstances-usually by court order or statutory authorization-the expunged records can be searched, retrieved, and used. In most cases, expunged records are never seen again.
What kind records may be expunged?
Normally, records in any court, correctional facility, law enforcement, or criminal justice agency will be affected. Specifically, records regarding a person's detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial, or the disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system are selected for expungement. Other records, which may exist in a court, such as property deeds, or civil lawsuits or judgments, will not be affected or expunged. In effect, one's criminal record of arrest and/or conviction is erased and legally deemed not to have occurred.
Mental health records, which may affect one's ability to purchase or possess firearms or obtain employment or licenses, may also be expunged. The process is similar to the criminal history expungement.
Who is eligible for an expungement?
Generally, a criminal conviction may be expunged 10 years after completion of the sentence (5 years for disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses). An arrest not resulting in a conviction may generally be expunged without delay.
There are limits as to the number of matters which may be expunged, and there are offenses which may not be expunged. There are also other various statutory limitations regarding expungement which are too technical to list.
The law of expungement and eligibility is so complicated and contains so many exceptions, that only a qualified lawyer should do the analysis of who is eligible and who is not. Our criminal defense attorneys can assess your specific circumstances and help you determine how to move forward. Contact us for a free consultation.
How do I get an "Expungement?"
Under normal circumstances, the expungement process will take approximately 3 months. Your criminal history is investigated to confirm eligibility for expungement, a petition is prepared and filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, and notifications are sent to various law enforcement, prosecutor, and court offices.
After the court receives all of the necessary documents, a hearing date is set for the expungement petition to be heard. In most cases, it is not necessary for you to appear at this hearing. However, if any of the law enforcement, prosecutor, or court offices object to the expungement, legal briefs and oral argument at the hearing may be required.
Can an expungement help me to lawfully possess firearms?
Yes. Because an expungement removes the criminal conviction or mental health record, it may have the effect of removing the disqualification placed upon a "convicted person" from purchasing or possessing firearms under the firearm licensing law of N.J.S. 2C:58-3(c) and under the firearm possessory law of N.J.S. 2C:39-7.
A State expungement also removes the Federal disqualification for convicted felons purchasing or possessing firearms. At one time an individual needed a Federal relief from disabilities even though they had a State expungement. Under the 1986 Gun Owners Protection Act, this was changed so that the Federal Government recognizes State expungement.
We Can Help
If you have completed your sentence, you have paid your debt to society. You should not continue to face challenges from felony charges or misdemeanor offenses that occurred years ago. Contact our Morristown law office and discuss your expungement options with our experienced criminal defense lawyers.