How do I erase my criminal record in New Jersey ?
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Criminal records are sealed not erased. There is actually a difference there.
What does a sealed record mean ?
It means that the record is not necessarily deleted from this universe. Instead, it is covered up (SEALED) so that an employer conducting a background check on you cannot see your previous arrest or conviction.
Further it is important to note that expungement laws are State Specific.
For instance, in New York, you do not need to file an expungement petition. If you plead to a qualifying charge, it is automatically sealed. God bless the Empire State.
If the record is sealed (and/or expunged) who can potentially access this information ?
Non-law enforcement agencies (such as the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance); (Federal Agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Note that the FBI cannot see an expunged record); and Non-government entities, like news agencies or websites.
My case was dismissed, do I need to get an expungement in New Jersey?
Practically speaking, most employers ask you if you've ever been "convicted" of a crime. And, if your matter was dismissed you can honestly answer "no." But, your arrest record is still available and if an investigator looks hard enough he or she may be able to find it. There are also third party websites on Google that always say "this person has an arrest record!"
What is an expedited expungement in New Jersey?
If your arrest leads to a dismissal in Municipal Court (Not Superior Court) then you can ask for an expedited expungement application from the Court. It is quite simple to fill out and should be done at the time of dismissal.
This does not apply to cases where you plead to a lesser charge. Your matter must result in a dismissal (e.g., through an outright dismissal, conditional discharge, or conditional dismissal).
How long does the expungement process take in New Jersey ?
It depends on the County. Typically, the petition will be processed within 4-6 months.
How do I get my records expunged ?
That is another blog for another day. For criminal matters, consultation is free. If you have any questions do not hesitate to call (201) 800-4564.