You may have made a mistake but have faced the consequences. It is now time to move on with your life.
South Jersey Expungement Lawyer
Expungement is the opportunity to give those who have committed certain crimes in New Jersey a second chance, so their mistakes do not haunt them for the rest of their lives. Although everyone should pay for the crimes they commit, they should not have to pay for those crimes for the remainder of their lives.
The expungement process, although complicated, is a positive way to ensure certain individuals are not hindered by something that they may have done when they were younger and perhaps not as wise.
The entire process must be followed to the letter of the law, or one may risk wasting time and money. Expunging a criminal record is not a task that should be given to just any lawyer. It is crucial that that someone chooses an expungement lawyer who knows the process thoroughly.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the process of removing or sealing any record of an arrest or conviction from a person’s individual record. Once the event has been expunged, it is no longer visible on a routine search. The person is not under any obligation to reveal details or the existence of that arrest or conviction if they are subsequently asked.
Those eligible to seek an expungement in the state include those who have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime in New Jersey as an adult or as a juvenile. Those who qualify should seriously consider expungement. A conviction or even an arrest can have a negative impact on a person’s opportunities in employment, education, and housing. Eliminating those records could wipe those roadblocks away.
What Crimes can be Expunged?
It is important to realize that not all crimes are eligible for expungement. More violent offenses tend to be off the list, whereas less violent ones are eligible. For instance, offenses eligible for expungement include the following:
- Indictable offenses
- Disorderly conduct
- Municipal ordinance violations
- Minor drug offenses
In New Jersey, there are several violent crimes that are ineligible for expungement. These include the following offenses:
- Aggravated criminal sexual conduct
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Luring or enticing
- Death by auto
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- False imprisonment
- Attempting to commit any of the crimes listed here
- False swearing
- Aiding, assisting, or concealing people accused of the crimes listed here
- Forcible sodomy
It should also be noted that driving under the influence (DUI) is not a crime in New Jersey. It is classified as a motor vehicle violation; therefore, it is also ineligible to be expunged from a permanent record.
Is Expungement Available for Marijuana-Related Crimes?
Due to controversial changes to New Jersey’s laws related to the possession and distribution of marijuana, there have been modifications made to the expungement of those crimes. For instance, the waiting period to expunge the more serious marijuana convictions has been reduced from six years to three years after the date of conviction or the conclusion of probation, whichever is later. Those offenses include the following:
- Distribution or possession with intent to distribute between one ounce and five pounds of marijuana and up to one ounce of hashish
- Violations for the same offenses, even if they occurred in school zones or within 500 feet of public housing facilities
- Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana or more than five grams of hash in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(3)
Those who previously were convicted or arrested over marijuana possession should reach out to an expungement lawyer to discuss their legal options. There may be an opportunity to clear that incident off the permanent record.
What is the Process for a Successful Expungement?
To file a successful expungement, a person must meet the necessary requirements. In addition to verifying that the crime they wish to expunge is eligible in New Jersey, there are other factors involved, including the following:
- The person must have been arrested but not charged.
- They were acquitted or the charges were dismissed.
- They fulfilled the conditions of their sentence, including paying fines or restitution.
- They waited the mandatory time to file.
Eligible offenses have waiting periods that a person must go through before applying for expungement. For instance, those looking to expunge disorderly person offenses must wait four years after they have served their sentence for that crime before applying for expungement. Indictable offenses have a waiting period of five years, whereas code violations have a two-year waiting period and minor drug offenses have a one-year waiting period.
When the waiting period has expired, an applicant must then fill out several pieces of paperwork, including a petition for expungement, an order for a hearing, an expungement order, and proof of notice. They must then mail all that paperwork, along with the appropriate filing fee, to the Superior Court in the county where the arrest or conviction took place.
A judge will assign a hearing date, and prior to that the person seeking the expungement must send notice to all the interested parties, including the police, potential victims, and others. This will give them the opportunity to object and the petitioner to respond to those objections.
If a judge approves the expungement, he or she will issue an expungement order to the petitioner, who will then send it to all the relevant government parties. The record will be removed, and the person will receive a confirmation letter from the state police. The entire process takes about six months.
Why Do I Need to Hire an Expungement Lawyer?
It is essential that all the proper paperwork be filled out correctly and submitted; otherwise, it could jeopardize a person’s chances of getting the expungement granted. An expungement lawyer can help an applicant through the process and ensure that the paperwork is filed correctly and respond accordingly should there be any problems with the filing.
In addition, a lawyer can vouch for the applicant that all the paperwork was properly filed and provide any additional documentation that the courts may require. A skilled lawyer will also follow the proper steps throughout the process, including the notification of all interested parties at the various stages of the process.
South Jersey Expungement Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Guide Clients Through the Expungement Process
If you have had a run-in with the law when you were younger and you do not want it to follow you the rest of your life, you may be eligible for expungement. The South Jersey expungement lawyers at Aita Law, LLC can evaluate your situation to determine if you are eligible for expungement and if so, help you get the process going. Call 856-287-7800 or contact us online today to schedule your initial appointment. With offices in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including in Camden County and Cherry Hill.
KENNETH D. AITA, ESQUIRE
Mr. Aita has successfully defended thousands of criminal cases. When you or a loved one is charged with a crime, it is an extremely daunting and frightening time. Criminal charges and convictions can have devastating effects on your life. You can be fired from your job, you can hurt your ability to get employment in the future, and most importantly could lose your precious freedom. Mr. Aita not only has the experience and expertise to represent you, but the compassion and understanding to help you through this difficult and confusing process. In a criminal case, everyone is against you; the police, the judge, and certainly the prosecutor, whose job is to get convictions. Mr. Aita is not only your skilled legal advocate, but is in your corner to protect you against the vast government resources that are against you. Make no mistake, fighting a criminal case is a war. You need an attorney willing to go to battle. Mr. Aita is in the trenches every single day tirelessly fighting for justice for his clients.