FAQs About Expungements in New Jersey

Want to Expunge my Criminal Record Burlington NJIf you have a conviction, previous arrest, or charge on your criminal record, you are likely eager to erase it, if possible, so you can truly move on with your life. Having a criminal history can make it difficult to obtain employment and take advantage of certain educational opportunities, like scholarships, where a criminal background check is a requirement. Fortunately, there is a way to erase a record of a conviction or arrest in New Jersey: seeking an expungement.

New Jersey law provides certain requirements for wait times before an individual is eligible to seek an expungement and places limits on the number of expungements an individual can get. On October 1, 2018, NJ laws on expungements changed to increase the number of expungements a person can have and reduce wait times for applying for an expungement. Below are some of our clients most frequently asked questions about expungements in New Jersey. If you have questions about your eligibility for an expungement or want to know more about the expungement process, contact the Law Offices of Leonard D. Biddison to speak with an attorney who can help. Call 856-245-5240 or send us a message to get a free consultation.

How do I get a felony expunged in New Jersey?

To seek an expungement for a felony conviction, or an indictable offense as it is referred to in New Jersey, you must first determine whether the conviction was for an offense that is eligible for expungement. There are several indictable offenses in New Jersey that cannot be expunged including criminal homicide, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, certain forms of endangering the welfare of a child, kidnapping, luring or enticing, human trafficking, arson, robbery, terrorism, perjury, and certain drug offenses.

If you have ever had a felony expunged in the past, you cannot seek an expungement for another felony conviction. Keep in mind that this only applies to felony convictions that were previously expunged, so if you had a previous felony charge that was dismissed, you can still apply for an expungement for a previous or subsequent felony conviction. As of October 1, 2018, past participation in Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), through which a previous felony charge was dismissed, is no longer a bar for applying for expungement of a prior or subsequent conviction.

The wait time for applying for expungement of a felony conviction was reduced by New Jersey’s new expungement law from 10 years down to 6 years from the date of conviction, completion of probation or parole, release from jail, or payment of fine—whichever occurs later. This means you can potentially erase a past mistake and move on with your life sooner.

How do I expunge a disorderly persons offense?

The process for applying for an expungement for a conviction of a disorderly persons offense is the same as that for seeking an expungement for a felony conviction, however, wait times and other requirements are different. To expunge a conviction for a disorderly persons offense you must wait 5 years from the date of conviction, completion of probation or parole, release from jail, or payment of fine—whichever occurs later.

You may only apply to expunge a disorderly person conviction if you have no more than 4 disorderly persons offenses, you were convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses that were all entered on the same day and have no other prior or subsequent convictions, or you were convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses that were part of a crime spree, where the offenses were interdependent or closely related and were part of a sequence of events that occurred within a short period of time.

Examples of common disorderly persons offenses that are expunged in New Jersey include possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, harassment, criminal mischief, trespassing, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct.

Can I get an arrest expunged in NJ?

Yes. In New Jersey, if you were arrested for a criminal offense and the charges against you were dismissed outright, you can apply for expungement of the record of your arrest immediately.

Can I get a DWI arrest or conviction expunged?

No. DWI is a non-criminal offense in New Jersey. Only criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged, so non-criminal offenses like DWI arrests and convictions cannot be expunged from your record.

What is the process for a New Jersey expungement?

To apply for an expungement, you must obtain records of the arrest or conviction that you wish to have expunged. You must properly create a Petition for Expungement and have three copies notarized. Lastly, you must prepare a proposed expungement order and submit the proposed order, 3 notarized copies of your Petition for Expungement, and your conviction or arrest records to the superior court in the county where you were convicted or arrested. You must then provide proof of service to a variety of parties, including New Jersey State Police, the police department in the location of your arrest, the local municipal court, and the Prosecutor’s Office. There are a number of steps in the months that follow your initial petition being submitted and failing to complete the expungement process correctly may result in your petition being denied. This is why it is so important to have an experienced expungement attorney thoroughly executing the expungement process on your behalf.

Do I need a lawyer to get an expungement in NJ?

Navigating what conviction or arrest records can be expunged and how long you must wait to expunge them, as well as preparing the required documents to apply for an expungement like a Petition for Expungement and a proposed expungement order and serving them on the required parties are not simple tasks. An expungement lawyer in New Jersey can help make sure you have the best chance of getting your expungement approved. If you would like to seek an expungement for a previous conviction or arrest record, contact our firm today at 856-245-5240 and we will help you to determine if you are eligible for an expungement and assist you through the process. With several convenient offices, we serve clients in all of South Jersey, including in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Atlantic County.

Expungement of a Domestic Violence Offense vs. Vacating a Restraining Order in New Jersey

Erase Domestic Violence Record in NJConflict with a loved one or a person you thought you loved can be extremely stressful. If there is a record of an arrest or conviction for a domestic violence offense in your criminal history or a permanent restraining order against you that resulted from a domestic dispute in New Jersey, you are probably eager to clear your name and put the past behind you.

Erasing a domestic violence offense from your record and ending a restraining order require two different legal approaches. The arrest or conviction for a domestic violence offense like stalking, criminal trespass, simple assault, or harassment may be eligible for expungement from your record. On the other hand, a final restraining order (FRO) must be vacated by the court.

How to Expunge a Domestic Violence Arrest

Typically, there is a waiting period before you are eligible to apply for an expungement. However, if you were arrested for a domestic violence offense, but the charges against you were dismissed, you may apply for expungement immediately. This is true regardless of the degree of the offense.

The ability to expunge an arrest record is important because some employment and professional licensing applications will run a criminal background check on you and an arrest for assault, sexual assault, lewdness, stalking, or any other domestic violence offense will likely reflect poorly.

To file for an expungement, you will need to obtain court records about your case and submit a Petition for Expungement to the Superior Court in the county where you were arrested, along with all other necessary documents. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you to navigate this process, which can be complex.

How to Expunge a Domestic Violence Conviction

If you have been convicted of a domestic violence offense, the first and most important thing that you need to know if that there are certain crimes that are classified as domestic violence offenses which cannot be expunged. These offenses include kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual contact.

If you were convicted of a domestic violence offense that is subject to expungement, the wait time to petition for expungement depends on whether you were convicted of a disorderly person offense or an indictable offense.

Simple assault, lewdness, criminal trespass, or harassment are disorderly persons offenses and require a 5 year wait period until you are eligible to petition for expungement of the conviction record. Beginning on October 1, 2018, if you are convicted of an indictable domestic violence offense like stalking or burglary, you must wait 6 years until you are eligible to petition for expungement. A new expungement law in New Jersey reduced the wait time for expungement of indictable offenses from 10 years to 6 years.

Vacating a Restraining Order: How to Remove an FRO in NJ

In New Jersey, a final restraining order (FRO) is permanent and can only be vacated by a court. In order to get an FRO vacated, you must make a motion to the court showing good cause. You will be scheduled for a hearing, known as a Carfagno hearing, where the court will consider the following factors: if the victim consents to lifting the FRO, if the victim fears the defendant, the relationship between the victim and defendant, defendant’s prior convictions for contempt for violating the FRO, defendant’s drug or alcohol abuse, defendant’s history of other violent acts, defendant’s age and health, whether defendant is in counseling, if victim is opposing defendant’s motion in good faith, whether there are restraining orders against defendant in other jurisdictions to protect the victim, and other relevant factors.

After a hearing, the court may decide to vacate the FRO, if they determine there is good cause to do so. The order will not completely remove all record of the restraining order. Your name will still be listed on the National Domestic Violence Registry, but the order itself will be lifted. This means you will no longer be subject to criminal charges for violation of a restraining order if you go near the other party or interact with them in any way.

Need to Erase Domestic Violence Restraining Order Records in New Jersey

Navigating the requirements of expunging a domestic violence arrest or conviction in New Jersey, and vacating a final restraining order can be complicated processes that require legal knowledge and experience to execute effectively. Criminal defense lawyer Leonard D. Biddison is available immediately to review your case and help you to finally move on with your life. Call 856-245-5240 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.


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