Yes, you can, under certain circumstances. Many people have a "youthful indiscretion" in their past that may be interfering with their ability to get a job or security clearance. These may have been things like:
- Simple assault (they got into a fight where no one was seriously hurt)
- Shoplifting or some other petty theft
- Had a drag race down the street with your buddies
- Got caught with some pot in your pocket; or
- Went streaking
The good news is that many times they can be erased or "expunged."
What Are the Requirements?
New Jersey has disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses (what other states would call "misdemeanors") that can be wiped out under certain circumstances. This is done through a "petition for expungement" if you meet the following requirements:
- It has been at least five years from the date of your conviction, or the date on which the sentence was completed, whichever is later;
- An expungement may be obtained after 3 years if you have not been convicted of any subsequent offenses and the court finds that expungement is in the public interest given your character and conduct;
- You have not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime in any state; and
- You have not had more than three disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses.
Expungements are great, but there are limits. You can have up to three of these wiped out.
So What Do I Do?
Petitions for expungement can be very helpful, but they are not something you should try on your own. If you live in southern New Jersey, and are looking to "clean up your act" and get the skeletons out of your closet, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your options.