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New Jersey Firearm Rights Restoration Services

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RESTORING YOUR FIREARM RIGHTS IN NEW JERSEY

Mistakes from Your Past Shouldn't Take Away Your Constitutional Rights

Restoring your Second Amendment rights to own a firearm can be a difficult, complex process. Many states don’t allow you to restore your firearm rights, or they restore them so infrequently that it doesn’t really matter. Fortunately, an expungement in New Jersey typically restores your right to own a firearm, as long as there isn’t something else restricting your firearm rights. If you do not qualify to expunge your convictions, a pardon from the Governor is likely the only other option for restoration.

The most common reason for loss of firearm rights is a felony conviction—both New Jersey and federal law will take away your firearm rights if you have been convicted of a felony. However, there are a number of other ways that your firearm rights can be taken away, which will be discussed in more detail below.

The preferred method of restoring your Second Amendment rights in New Jersey is to expunge a felony conviction. Expunging your conviction typically restores your firearm rights, removes your criminal record from public view, and allows you to pass most background checks. If you can’t expunge each of the convictions that are restricting your firearm rights, your only available option for relief would be a pardon from the Governor.

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.

New Jersey’s juvenile system also uses different terminology. When you’re convicted of an offense as a juvenile, the juvenile system refers to it as being “adjudged as delinquent” instead of convicted. When discussing juvenile findings of guilt, we’ll use the term conviction.

Our law firm has helped thousands of clients deal with criminal records of every kind, and we hear success stories from them often. Many of those stories involve restoring firearm rights. If you want to restore your firearm rights, 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, confidential 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.

How Do You Restore Your Second Amendment Rights in New Jersey?

There are three ways to restore firearm rights in New Jersey, including:

  • Expunging an Adult Felony Conviction

  • Expunging Juvenile Convictions (Findings of Delinquency)

  • Getting Pardoned by the Governor

Expunging an Adult Felony Conviction

Expunging a felony conviction is typically the best way to restore your firearm rights, as it also removes your criminal record from the public view and helps in passing background checks. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies to expunge their record. You can get more information about expunging felony convictions on our Expunging Convictions page.

Expunging Juvenile Convictions (Findings of Delinquency)

When convicted of a felony offense as a juvenile, both New Jersey and federal law will restrict firearm rights in the same manner as an adult conviction. Expunging your juvenile record has a similar effect as expunging an adult record, except that juvenile expungements deal with your entire juvenile record instead of expunging particular convictions. Like their adult counterparts, juvenile expungements restore firearm rights taken away from juvenile felony convictions and also help in passing background checks. For more information about juvenile expungements, visit our Juvenile Expungement page.

Getting Pardoned by the Governor

If you don’t qualify to expunge your felony conviction, the only method for restoration in New Jersey is to obtain a pardon from the Governor. Due to the limited number of pardons that New Jersey has traditionally issued, our firm does not currently offer this as a service. However, if you want to try and obtain a pardon, download the forms for Executive Clemency (also known as a Governor’s Pardon), follow the instructions to complete the forms, and then file them with the New Jersey State Parole Board Clemency Unit.

Can You Restore Your Firearm Rights?

The general requirements for Expunging Adult Convictions and Expunging Juvenile Convictions are listed below, but visit the pages specific to those services for more detailed information.

  • 1. How Many Convictions Can Be on My Record?
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    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.

    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.

  • 2. General Requirements to Expunge a Juvenile Conviction
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    The general requirements to expunge a juvenile conviction record under New Jersey law (N.J.S. 2C:52-4.1) are the following:

    • You must wait at least three years since you were released from custody, or, if you were not in custody, three years must have elapsed since any court order was filed

    • You have not been convicted of a crime, found to be a delinquent, or been in need of supervision during the last three years

    • You do not have any convictions or findings of delinquency for any of the prohibited offenses listed on the Juvenile Expungement page

    • You have never had an adult conviction expunged

    • You have never had a felony dismissed following completion of a supervisory treatment or diversion program.

  • 3. General Requirements to Expunge a Adult Conviction
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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, New Jersey’s existing law has far shorter waiting periods, but you can only have one (1) felony and up to three (3) misdemeanors or five (5) misdemeanor convictions on your record. If you have more than one felony, you should try to use the new Clean Slate Law.

    Existing Law Has a Shorter Waiting Period, But You Can't Have Too Many Convictions

    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 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 conviction 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.

  • 4. Getting Pardoned by the Governor
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    If you don’t qualify to expunge your felony conviction, the only method for restoration in New Jersey is to obtain a pardon from the Governor. Due to the limited number of pardons that New Jersey has traditionally issued, our firm does not currently offer this as a service. However, if you want to try and obtain a pardon, download the forms for Executive Clemency (also known as a Governor’s Pardon), follow the instructions to complete the forms, and then file them with the New Jersey State Parole Board Clemency Unit.

  • Federal Firearm Laws
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    The Gun Control Act, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, and includes any person:

    • who is a fugitive from justice

    • who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802)

    • who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution

    • who is an illegal alien

    • who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions

    • who has renounced his or her United States citizenship

    • who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner

    • who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

    Two of the most common issues that prevent people from restoring their firearm rights under federal law are: (i) misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charges; and (ii) federal felony convictions. Currently, it is incredibly difficult to deal with a federal convictions, and your only real option is obtaining a Presidential Pardon. Misdemeanor or felony domestic violence convictions are more complicated.

    Both felony and misdemeanor domestic violence convictions take away your firearm rights under New Jersey and federal law. Although most domestic violence convictions can be expunged in New Jersey, federal law will generally prohibit your firearm rights from being restored. This issue is further complicated in New Jersey, as domestic violence offenses are defined differently under federal and state law. If your conviction is considered domestic violence under federal law, the Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act will likely prevent your firearm rights from being restored at the federal level.

Legal Effect Of Restoring Your Firearm Rights

If your firearm rights were taken away due to a felony conviction that did not involve domestic violence, an expungement in New Jersey should restore your firearm rights. It is very important to understand why your firearm rights were restricted in the first place. However, in most cases we encounter, as long as we can expunge all the felony convictions on a record, both New Jersey and federal firearm rights are restored.

Restoring firearm rights 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!