Gov. Chris Christie signed a new law this week to provide a number of people convicted of crimes in NJ with an easier path to getting their criminal records expunged.
When the bill was first approved by the NJ Legislature in September 2015, Assemblyman Jerry Green, who co-sponsored the bill, emphasized the importance of making sure that the criminal justice system does not punish individuals in perpetuity.
“The fact of the matter is,” Green said, “the system is working against those individuals who have served their time and want to change and do better.”
The new law should make it easier for people who have paid their debt to society to move forward with their lives, become productive members of society and make meaningful contributions to their communities.
Getting a Criminal Record Expunged in New Jersey
Whether you’ve been convicted of a felony, such as robbery, or a misdemeanor-level offense like marijuana possession, you must wait a certain amount of time before applying for an expungement. The new law will shorten that waiting period considerably. For example, anyone convicted of a felony in New Jersey will now have to wait just five years from the date of conviction, or the date of release from prison, before seeking an expungement. Under the old expungement rules, the waiting period was 10 years. The waiting period for filing a petition to expunge a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense was also shortened, from five years to three years.
The NJ Expungement Process
The process for petitioning for an expungement is extremely complicated and requires timely filing of a great many documents. The first step in the expungement process is submitting an application to the county superior court in the county where the original conviction was handed down.
Once an expungement is granted, the judge will order that all records and information related to your arrest, charges and conviction effectively be removed from public view.
For further information about the new expungement law, view the New Jersey Law Journal article, “Christie OKs Measure Easing Expungement.”
If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime in New Jersey, having a qualified criminal defense attorney to assist you with the expungement process can make all the difference. The knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC are familiar with the NJ expungement process because they have more than 80 years of combined experience handling criminal cases in superior and municipal courts throughout New Jersey. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.