HOW TO EXPUNGE A NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL RECORD & RESTORE FIREARM RIGHTS
Don’t Let Past Hurt Your Future
Nobody wants a criminal record. A criminal record can limit your job opportunities, make finding a place to live more difficult, and even take away your Second Amendment right to own a gun. More than anything, living with a criminal record just isn’t fair once you’ve paid your debt to society.
When you’re arrested or convicted in New Jersey, a criminal record is created with the arresting agency, maintained by several criminal justice agencies, and is easy to view online using the Promis Gavel Criminal Record Database. Most criminal records are available to the general public, and they will never go away unless you expunge them. This means that your past mistakes will appear in almost any background check, no matter how long it’s been since your arrest or conviction.
New Jersey law has provided several ways to deal with both adult and juvenile criminal records for many years. However, in 2020, New Jersey expanded its expungement laws to become some of the most flexible in the country. Residents may expunge both misdemeanor and felony convictions, arrest records, and, in many cases, restore Second Amendment rights. Not all criminal records qualify, but New Jersey’s recent legal changes have made it easier to qualify than before.
New Jersey criminal law uses different terminology than most states. Instead of “felony,” the common term for a serious crime, New Jersey uses the term “indictable offense” for crimes that are punishable by more than six months of confinement. Additionally, instead of using the much more common term “misdemeanor,” New Jersey calls its less serious crimes “disorderly persons offenses.” In contrast, its least serious offenses are called violations of municipal ordinances, which is commonly used in many states. To keep things simple, we are going to use felony, misdemeanor, and violation when describing different levels of crimes.
Our law firm has helped thousands of clients deal with criminal records of every kind, and we hear success stories from them often. If a criminal record in New Jersey is holding you back in life, keep reading to see what you can do about it.
Know Your Options
New Jersey provides a few different ways to deal with your criminal record, but it is very important to understand which method is best for your circumstances. To make sure that you understand your legal rights, we have prepared detailed information about each of the following ways you can deal with your criminal record.
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Expunging New Jersey Convictions
New Jersey State law allows for the expungement of many misdemeanor and felony convictions. However, there are several important rules that need to be satisfied to qualify. Certain offenses are not eligible, and you must satisfy the relevant waiting period to qualify for expungement. The good news is that if you do qualify, expunging convictions from your record often allows you to pass an employment-related background check, and, in many cases, restore your firearm rights.
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Expunging Drug Court and Diversion Records
Expunging Drug Court and Diversion Records: New Jersey offers many alternative sentencing programs, including Drug Court, Pretrial Intervention, Conditional Discharge or Dismissal, and Veteran’s Diversion. Upon successful completion of most of these programs, the court will dismiss your charges, but a record of your arrest and sentence will remain unless you expunge it. There are different rules for each of these different types of diversion programs, so pay close attention to the requirements for your specific program.
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New Jersey Juvenile Expungements
New Jersey law also permits the expungement of many juvenile records. If the court grants your juvenile expungement, you will be treated as if you were never found guilty, and the court shall issue an order expunging all the records relating to the case. Expunging your juvenile records can help you pass an employment-related background check, and, in many cases, restore your firearm rights.
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New Jersey Firearm Rights Restoration
New Jersey State law provides only a handful of ways to restore firearm rights when you have a conviction. Unless there is another reason your Second Amendment rights have been restricted, expunging an adult or juvenile felony conviction will restore your firearm rights. If you can’t expunge your conviction, you will have to obtain a Governor’s Pardon, which can be far more difficult
This Information is for You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Legal Effect of Expunging New Jersey Records
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment with a criminal record and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each. New Jersey law permits the expungement of both convictions and arrest records, the restoration of firearm rights, and the expungement of juvenile records.
How Will Expunging My Conviction or Arrest Record Help Me Get A Better Job?arrow_drop_down
The answer to this question depends on which criminal record service you qualify for, but each of the services discussed above should be helpful in obtaining a job.
Expunging adult convictions and expunging juvenile convictions are two of the best ways to improve your chances of getting a job with a criminal record. Both remove convictions from your record, which gets rid of one of the biggest obstacles in finding most good jobs. If your court order is granted, your expunged records will not be available to the public and will not appear in background checks for jobs, unless you’re seeking a job in law enforcement. Various criminal justice agencies may access expunged records, but they’re rarely permitted to share them or comment on their existence.
Once you receive a court order expunging your record, you may legally state that you have not been convicted of that crime and act as though it never occurred. New Jersey’s expungement laws are very effective in helping you pass the background checks that most employers require.
Arrest record sealing: Arrests are not as much of a barrier to employment as a conviction, but it’s certainly preferable when background checks do not contain prior arrests, particularly if the offenses were severe. While it is illegal for an employer to discriminate in most cases for an arrest record, you can’t affect an employer’s perception in making their hiring decision, so sealing an arrest record will only help your employment prospects.
How Can I Restore My Second Amenedment Right to Own and Posess a Firearm?arrow_drop_down
If there isn’t something else restricting you from owning a gun, expunging a New Jersey conviction should restore your firearm rights. However, firearm restoration in New Jersey can be quite a complex process.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in New Jersey on our New Jersey Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in New Jersey include:
- Removing a finding of guilt from your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Restoring your Second Amendment Right to bear arms
- No longer being treated as a felon
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
Each of New Jersey’s methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine which New Jersey criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of New Jersey criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a New Jersey criminal record.