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New Jersey Conviction Expungement Services

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EXPUNGING CONVICTIONS IN NEW JERSEY

Don't Let Past Mistakes Hurt Your Future

You've already paid your debt to soceiety, why should you continue to be punished? A criminal record can prevent you from getting the job you want, renting livable housing, obtaining professional licenses, legally owning a firearm, qualifying for government programs, and many other opportunities in life that you’d otherwise be entitled to.

Having a criminal record for the rest of your life isn’t a pleasant thought, especially after you’ve already your debt to society. Thankfully, many people qualify under New Jersey’s newly-expanded laws to expunge their convictions and move on from their past mistakes. New Jersey law allows for the expungement of many misdemeanor and felony convictions, and, in some circumstances, a New Jersey expungement will restore your Second Amendment right to own a firearm.

New Jersey’s 2020 “Clean Slate” law removed the previous barrier created by having too many convictions on your record, and it also modified New Jersey’s prior expungement law. The new law removes the restriction for having too many convictions on your record, but also requires a 10-year, conviction-free waiting period. If you can’t satisfy the waiting period, you must satisfy the requirements of New Jersey’s prior law.

Certain criminal justice agencies can access expunged records, but they will not appear in almost all employer background checks, and you can legally state that you were never convicted of the expunged offense. There are limited exceptions detailed below, but, in most cases, expunging your record will make it as if the expunged offense never occurred.

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 conviction in New Jersey is holding you back in life, keep reading to see what you can do about it.

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 Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.

Antranig Garibian

Of Counsel

Antranig Garibian maintains an active litigation practice throughout the state and federal courts of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Garibian represents and advises individuals and businesses on matters involving commercial contracts, insurance coverage, liability claims, corporate governance, loss prevention and general business matters.

Mr. Garibian frequently writes articles and speaks at seminars on a wide array of emerging legal issues.

He is a graduate of Princeton University and Temple University School of Law.

Can You Get Your Record Expunged?

The first step in expunging a conviction is figuring out whether you qualify under New Jersey’s new “Clean Slate” law or its existing expungement law.

  • 1. Which Expungement Law Should You Use?
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    New Jersey’s Clean Slate law allows you to expunge your entire record regardless of how many convictions you have, but it also requires that you wait 10 years to do so. In contrast,

    When to use New Jersey's Prior Law

    If you do not have more than two convictions, it is generally easier to use N.J.S.A 2C:52, as the waiting periods are much shorter. You may have no more than one felony conviction and must satisfy the general requirements below. Waiting periods are discussed in more detail below, but you can expunge some felonies in as few as four years, misdemeanors in three years, and violations of municipal ordinances in two years.

    Many misdemeanor and felony convictions can be expunged in New Jersey under N.J.S.A. 2C:52. Before expunging your New Jersey conviction, you must satisfy the following requirements:

    • You cannot expunge any of the Ineligible Offenses listed in the next section.

    • Enough time must have passed since you’ve successfully completed the terms of your most recent sentence. This waiting period depends on the level of offense, which is discussed below, but felonies generally have a waiting period of at least 4 years since completing your sentence, and misdemeanors have a waiting period of at least 3 years.

    • You may not have more than: (a) five (5) misdemeanor convictions; or (b) one (1) felony convictions and up to three (3) misdemeanor convictions.

    • You cannot have any pending charges against you

    When to Use the New Clean Slate Law

    This is discussed in more detail below, but, if it has been at least 10 years since completing every term of your sentence, it is very likely that you qualify under the Clean Slate Law. There are additional requirements to satisfy, but the Clean Slate Law will expunge everything on your criminal record.

    To expunge your entire criminal record using New Jersey’s new law, you must satisfy the following requirements:

    • If you have ever been convicted of one of the Ineligible Offenses listed in the next section, you cannot use the Clean Slate Law to expunge anything on your record.

    • 10 years must pass since you’ve successfully completed all of the terms of your most recent sentence.

    • You may have any number of convictions, as long as none of them are Ineligible Offenses.

    • You cannot have any pending charges against you.

  • 2. Which Offenses Are Inelligible to Expunge?
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    Convictions for the following types of offenses may not be expunged under either existing New Jersey law or its new Clean Slate Law. If you have any prior convictions for one of these offenses, you cannot expunge anything from your record using the Clean Slate Law, but it will not prevent you from expunging up to three misdemeanors under existing law.

    A. Which crimes are ineligible to be Expunged?

    Records of conviction for the following crimes specified in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice shall not be subject to expungement:

    • Any offense committed by a person holding public office, if the crime touched or involved their public office

    • Criminal Homicide, except death by auto as specified in section 2C:11-5 (Section 2C:11-1 et seq.)

    • Kidnapping (Section 2C:13-1)

    • Luring or Enticing (Section 2C:13-6)

    • Human Trafficking (Section C.2C:13-8)

    • Aggravated Sexual Assault (Section 2C:14-2)

    • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact (Section 2C:14-3a)

    • Criminal Sexual Contact, if the victim is a minor (Section 2C:14-3b)

    • Criminal Restraint or False Imprisonment, if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim (Section 2C:13-2 or 2C:13-3)

    • Robbery (Section 2C:15-1)

    • Arson and Related Offenses (Section 2C:17-1)

    • Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child (Section 2C:24-4a)

    • Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Section 2C:24-4b(4))

    • Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act (Section 2C:24-4b(3))

    • Selling or manufacturing child pornography (Section 2C:24-4b.(5)(a))

    • Perjury (Section 2C:28-1)

    • False Swearing (Section 2C:28-2)

    • Knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actor's child (Section 2C:34-1b(4))

    • Terrorism (Section C.2C:38-2))

    • Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices (Section C.2C:38-3) and

    • Conspiracies or attempts to commit such crimes.

    B. Sale or Distribution of Drugs

    New Jersey law does not permit the expungement of felony convictions involving the sale of drugs, unless any of the following apply:

    • Sales of marijuana where the total quantity sold, distributed, or possessed with intent to sell was less than one ounce

    • Sales of hashish where the total quantity sold, distributed, or possessed with intent to sell was less than five grams, or

    • Sales of other controlled substances where the conviction is either a third-or-fourth-degree felony, but only if the court finds that expungement is in in the public interest, when considering the nature of the offense and your character and conduct since conviction.

    C. Traffic Offenses and Driving Under the Influence

    New Jersey law also does not permit the expungement of any traffic offenses, as they are not criminal in nature. Driving under the influence convictions are ineligible for expungement as well.

    Ineligible Offenses (Which Have Now Been Repealed)

    If committed prior to September 1, 1971, the following criminal offenses are also not eligible for expungement:

    • Murder

    • Manslaughter

    • Treason

    • Anarchy

    • Kidnapping

    • Rape

    • Forcible Sodomy

    • Arson

    • Perjury

    • False Swearing

    • Robbery

    • Embracery

    • or a conspiracy or any attempt to commit any of these offenses.

  • 3. How Long Do I Need To Wait?
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    When expunging convictions in New Jersey, there is almost always a required waiting period. In most cases, there are exceptions to these waiting periods that you need to understand in order to know when you’re eligible to expunge your conviction.

    The first step in determining the applicable waiting period is figuring out whether you’re using the existing New Jersey law or the Clean Slate Law. If you’re using the Clean Slate Law, the waiting period is the same for felonies and misdemeanors. However, existing New Jersey law depends on the level of the offense that you’re trying to expunge.

    A. The Clean Slate Waiting Period

    New Jersey’s Clean Slate Law requires you to wait 10 years from the date you fully completed the terms of your most recent sentence. If it has been at least 10 years since completing your sentence, except you still owe a “fine, fee, penalty, restitution, and other form of financial assessment imposed by the court as part of the sentence for the conviction,” you may still qualify for expungement, unless you were willfully not paying your financial obligations.

    B. Waiting Periods for Felonies (also known as Indicatable Offenses)

    If you have either: (a) substantially complied with any payment plans under N.J.S.2C:46-1; or (b) could not make payment due to “compelling circumstances” affecting your ability to pay the fine, the court can ignore the financial obligation part of your sentence. This means that if you satisfied the other requirements of your sentence, you may be able to ignore when you completed the financial obligations of your sentence for determining the start of the waiting period. In other words, this exception makes satisfying the financial aspects of your sentence not a firm requirement when calculating whether you’ve satisfied the waiting period.

    Further, if at least four (4) years have gone by since completing your offense, you may be able to expunge your felony conviction a year early. To expunge a New Jersey felony conviction a year earlier, you can’t have any new convictions, and you also need to convince the court that it is in the “public interest” to grant an early expungement. In making this determination, the court will consider the nature of the offenses on your criminal record, your character, and your conduct since your conviction.

    C. Waiting Periods for Misdemeanors (A.K.A. Disorderly Person Offenses)

    Expunging a misdemeanor conviction requires that you wait five years from completing your last sentence. However, if you’ve completed all the terms of your sentence except for the payment of any fines, court fees, restitution, or other financial obligations, the court can make an exception.

    If you have either: (a) substantially complied with any payment plans under N.J.S.2C:46-1; or (b) could not make payment due to “compelling circumstances” affecting your ability to pay the fine, the court can ignore the financial obligation part of your sentence. This means that if you satisfied the other requirements of your sentence, you may be able to ignore when you completed the financial obligations of your sentence for determining the start of the waiting period. In other words, this exception makes satisfying the financial aspects of your sentence not a firm requirement when calculating whether you’ve satisfied the waiting period.

    Further, if at least three years have gone by since completing your offense, you may be able to expunge your felony conviction a year early. To expunge a New Jersey felony conviction a year earlier, you can’t have any new convictions, and you also need to convince the court that it is in the “public interest” to grant an early expungement. In making this determination, the court will consider the nature of the offenses on your criminal record, your character, and your conduct since your conviction.

    D. Waiting Periods for Violations of Municipal Ordinances

    Expunging violations of municipal ordinances requires that you wait two years from completing your last sentence. However, you cannot have been convicted of any felonies, and you cannot have been convicted of more than two misdemeanors. Unlike felony and misdemeanor convictions, there is no way to shorten the waiting period when expunging violations of municipal ordinances.

  • 4. How Many Convictions Can Be on My Record?
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    Maximum Convictions on Your Record

    It does not matter how many convictions you have on your record if you are using the Clean Slate Law to expunge your criminal record.

    If you are not using the Clean Slate Law, New Jersey law will only allow your expungement if you have less than: (i) five (5) misdemeanor convictions; or (ii) if you have one felony conviction, no more than three (3) misdemeanor convictions. You may not expunge anything from your record if you have more than one felony conviction.

    When applying this rule, both convictions in New Jersey and convictions in other states count. If your convictions were all unrelated to each other, this is an easy rule, but this is not the case when your convictions are part of the same criminal incident, as defined in in N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2a. When multiple crimes were closely related in circumstances or in time, they will be counted as one conviction.

    How to Count how Many Convictions are Your Record

    Under this rule, you need to count the most serious offense in the criminal incident. For example, if you were convicted of a felony and misdemeanor in one incident, and you were later convicted of another felony and misdemeanor in a different incident, this would count as two felony convictions, making you ineligible for expungement.

    When you’re arrested, it’s frequently for more than one offense, and it’s common for prosecutors to file as many charges as possible for negotiating plea bargains. Make sure that you apply this rule correctly when answering this question.

    This example may clarify this concept: you were pulled over for driving while intoxicated, attempted to evade the police, and drugs were eventually found in the car. Although there are many different crimes in this set of facts, they would be considered as part of the same criminal incident, and you would count this group of crimes as only one conviction.

Legal Effect Of Expunging New Jersey Convictions

  • How Will Expunging a New Jersey Conviction Help Me Get a Better Job?
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    Expungement is New Jersey’s best available option to improve your chances of obtaining a job with convictions on your record. 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.

  • Will Expunging New Jersey Convictions Restore My Second Amendment Rights?
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    In most cases, yes. Unless there is another reason your firearm rights have been taken away, expunging a New Jersey conviction that restricted your firearm rights will allow you to obtain a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) from local law enforcement or the New Jersey State Police, allowing you to purchase a firearm in New Jersey. However, the effect on federal law can be somewhat unclear in certain circumstances. For example, both New Jersey and federal law prohibit firearm ownership for those convicted of domestic violence, but they do not have the same definition of domestic violence. For more information, please see N.J.S.A. 2C:52-27, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, and Application of Hart, 265 N.J. Super. 285.

    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 New Jersey Conviction Include:
  • Removing a finding of guilt and closing the case on your criminal record to help you get a better job

  • Restoring your Second Amendment Rights to own a firearm

  • Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for

  • 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

We Are Here to Help

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 what 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.

You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all New Jersey state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!