Many people have done things in their past that they regret (and I'm not talking about that tattoo you got of an ex-boy/girlfriend's name next to the word "forever.") Politicians call them "youthful indiscretions." With them, it might mean they don't get elected; with you, it could mean that you get turned down for a job or do not get a security clearance.
Bottom line: what happened fifteen years ago can still hurt you now. If this sounds like you, and the infraction was minor, there is still something you can do about it. It is called an "expungement," and it can be a lifesaver!
What is Involved in an Expungement?
This process involves a sworn petition, signed by you, being filed by the New Jersey Superior Court, to remove from your record a conviction for a disorderly or petty disorderly person's offense (what other states call a misdemeanor), a violation of a municipal ordinance, or record of an arrest for which there was no conviction. Notice must be given to:
- Superintendent of the State Police
- The Attorney General
- The County Prosecutor
- The Chief of Police of the Town Where the Offense Occurred
- The Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Any Other Entity that Participated in Your Arrest
- The Jail Superintendent, If You Were Incarcerated
- The Magistrate of the Municipal Court, If You Were Sentenced There
A date for a hearing is set, but if none of those parties served objects, the hearing is not held, and the expungement is granted (unless one of the exceptions to expungement exist). If there is an objection, it could be denied for any number of reasons.
What is the Benefit of an Expungement?
Once granted, though, the arrest, conviction, and any proceedings related to the offense are deemed never to have taken place. If you are asked by a future potential employer if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can honestly say "no."
If you live in southern New Jersey, and would like to get a conviction or arrest expunged, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment for a free consultation in my Woodbury office.