Expungement allows one to petition a superior court to remove all police, court, and corrections records as though none of these incidents occurred. Without expungement, once a police or court record is created, that individual will find it hard to apply for jobs, credit, specific licenses, or even rental property, as these records will be revealed in background checks.  After a successful expungement, however, the background check will not reveal the foregoing police, court, and corrections records. Serious crimes, including murder, child pornography, terrorism, drug distribution, sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, and child endangerment cannot be expunged.

New Jersey recently implemented new laws with regard to expungement.  These laws reduce the waiting period for eligibility and increase the number of convictions an individual can seek to expunge, among other things. The expungement can take up to six months to complete. Due to the recent changes to the law, many are interested in expunging their records. In order to expunge a record, the following steps should be followed:

Criminal Records: One needs to collect all criminal records, including Judgments of Convictions and Dispositions from the court. If the records are already available, a petition can be drafted. Otherwise, the records need to be obtained from the court. Depending on the courthouse applied to, it may take anywhere from a few days to weeks to obtain a criminal record.

Expungement Petition: Once all records have been obtained, an expungement petition must be drafted. This petition must then be signed in front of a notary public. After the petition has been finalized, it must be filed with the accompanying records with the court.

Serve the Petition: After the executed expungement petition is filed, a copy of the filed petition will then be served upon applicable governmental agencies through certified mail.

Hearing: After the petition has been filed with the court, the presiding judge may request an appearance by the petitioner where the judge may decide whether to grant the petition. The county prosecutor may make an objection to the expungement. The prosecutor will have to draft a letter explaining reasons for the objection. A response to the objection will then be necessary, outlining the reasons for allowing expungement. 

Service of the Judge’s Expungement Order

If the expungement petition is granted by the judge, the petitioner needs to then serve the judge’s order on government agencies, such as the courts, police departments, FBI, or other agency that has the record and request its removal from their offices. Many agencies take substantial amounts of time to expunge records from their databases. After the expungement has been completed, the State Police will then send a notification regarding the successful removal of all records. 

Expungement can have positive outcomes and allow individuals to seek course correction. Due to the recent changes, many individuals have become eligible, causing delays in the actual expungement of records.  Therefore, it is crucial to petition as soon as possible so that you can set the record clean and make a fresh start.

Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Help Individuals with the Expungement Process

If you need assistance with the expungement process, contact the Haddonfield criminal lawyers at Aita Law, LLC. Criminal records can hinder one’s future, we will walk you through the process of expungement so that you can have a fresh start. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-287-7800. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.