If you’ve been convicted of a crime in New Jersey, your record may linger long after you have served your time and paid your fines, making it harder for you to find work and form personal relationships.
Although convicted criminals who have met the requirements for release from prison are supposed to be eligible for the same housing and employment options as anyone else, the stigma of a criminal record that can be found with a few simple searches on the internet can have lasting consequences on how people act and pass judgment.
Record expungement is one option for people looking to erase the crimes of their past and move forward with their lives. Expungement has always been a long and complicated process, with specific stipulations that can easily render a certain person or a certain record ineligible.
But now, thanks to a new law signed by Governor Chris Christie that will take effect in the state in the coming months, the process of record expungement may be a little easier for some, but not all, convicted persons.
How Does Expungement Work?
Expungement is the process by which a person has any record of his or her arrests, charges, and criminal convictions erased from public record so that no information relating to those crimes is available to anyone searching that person’s past, with few exceptions. In New Jersey, expungement includes “extraction and isolation” of all records with any court, law enforcement office, prison or detention center.
An expungement covers court dockets, jail rosters, fingerprints, evidence, mugshots, arrest warrants and any other paperwork or electronic evidence of a conviction. All of those items will be removed from public record permanently. A person can apply for expungement of certain criminal offenses at the conclusion of the appropriate waiting period, provided that the person has not committed any further offenses since his or her convictions.
Last month, Governor Christie signed A206 into law and the new statute will be effective as of April 18, 2016. This law features several amendments to the state’s current expungement laws in Title 2C, Part 52 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes. One significant amendment cuts down the timeframes for people seeking expungements. The waiting period for expunging a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense has been cut from 5 years to 3 years for those who can demonstrate that the expungement would be in the public interest. Additionally, A206 allows any person who completes a drug court probation program to be eligible for automatic expungement.
There are some crimes that still cannot be expunged from public record, even with the new amendments. A person who is convicted of serious criminal charges such as murder, manslaughter, robbery, arson, rape, or conspiracy to commit any of these serious crimes, is not eligible for expungement at any time.
In addition to these serious crimes, anyone who is convicted of a drunk or drugged driving charge is ineligible for expungement as well. Motor vehicle offenses of any kind are specifically excluded by New Jersey law and drivers who have DUI/DWI convictions on their record will not be impacted by the new laws.
At The Gorman Law Firm, Scott Gorman represents anyone who is seeking to expunge a criminal record. For more information on A206, expungement laws, and DUI/DWI charges, contact an Essex County DUI lawyer at the firm today.
Published in Categories: DUI / DWI