How Can I Clear My Record?
If you have been arrested and/or convicted by the New Jersey government, you may have a criminal record. Having a criminal record can pose a serious threat to your future. It can cause you to have to overcome many obstacles including obtaining gainful employment, renting property, obtaining a professional license, entering the military, obtaining a firearm, and receiving government benefits. Even if your criminal record contains a solitary offense that occurred many years ago, you can still find yourself in a bad situation. Fortunately, under New Jersey law, you may have the ability to clear your record through a process called “expungement”.
What Is An Expungement and What Can It Do For Me?
An expungement is a legal means for you to have your records removed and isolated by the court. This means that once you obtain an expungement, your records of arrests and/or convictions will no longer serve as an obstacle to your future endeavors. Also keep in mind, that an expungement can be used if you were taken into custody and/or adjudicated delinquent when you were a juvenile. After your record is expunged, it will no longer be publicly available and only under very limited circumstances, through a court order, would it be accessible.
The immediate benefit of an expungement is that you can legally state, under oath, that you do not have a criminal record. Not only can you state this under oath through court testimony, but you can also state that you do not have a criminal record on certain applications including employment, rental, school, and credit applications. Under some limited circumstances, including the pursuit of government employment and certain license applications, you must still disclose expunged criminal records. This disclosure is not an automatic disqualifier, but rather one factor that the agency may consider when determining your qualifications.
Don’t Let Your Past Determine Your Future
To determine if you are eligible for an expungement, all the relevant facts about your prior criminal or juvenile history must be analyzed. Were you arrested or taken into custody? Did you receive a conviction, sentence, and/or indictment? Did you serve a jail or prison term, or did you enter into a pretrial intervention program? The answers to these questions will serve as the basis to the big picture question: are you eligible for an expungement?
The process for determining your eligibility and obtaining an expungement can be complicated and tedious. It is a matter that can best be handled by an attorney who has experience in this area.