A criminal conviction can have lasting consequences that impact virtually every aspect of your life. From limited job prospects to fewer housing options, hurdles can arise at every turn once you’ve found yourself on the wrong side of the law.
Thankfully, there may be a way to seal your criminal record from the public eye. In the state of New Jersey, certain offenders are eligible to pursue expungement.
Although this process won’t erase or destroy your criminal record, it can extract and isolate certain portions, so it’s not easily accessible by potential employers, landlords, or other parties. If you want to learn more about this process, read on. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about expungement in New Jersey:
1. Who Is Eligible for Expungement?
Whether you’re able to seal your records will depend on the kinds of offenses on your record, the number of convictions, and the amount of time that has passed since completing the various sentences. It’s important to note, however, that no matter the circumstances, there are some convictions that cannot be sealed from the public. Examples include those for:
- Perjury; and
- Sexual assault.
2. How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Criminal Record?
Once you’re eligible for expungement—typically five years after you’ve completed your sentence and paid all associated fines and fees—it takes about six months from start to finish to seal your record. This is just a general guideline, however, and at the end of the day, there’s no guarantee that your case will be completed by certain date.
If you’re concerned about the timeline, talk to a seasoned expungement lawyer. After evaluating your situation—and confirming eligibility—they’ll let you know what you can expect at every stage of the proceedings.
3. Are There Scenarios in Which You Must Disclose Your Record After It Has Been Expunged?
Generally speaking, offenders are not required to disclose convictions on job, credit, or housing applications if they have been expunged. The Privacy Act offers certain protections on this front, even for those who want to enter into teaching or nursing.
An exception applies to those who wish to enter law enforcement, however. Even if your criminal record has been sealed, you must disclose prior convictions when applying for a position within the judicial branch, a corrections agency, or a law enforcement department.
Expunged records must also be disclosed when offenders request subsequent expungements and when they apply for acceptance into diversionary programs. If you’re unsure when you’ll have to disclose your criminal history after having it sealed, it’s wise to talk to an attorney.
Call 973-832-0841 to Discuss Your Case with a Morristown Criminal Defense Attorney
To see if you’re eligible for expungement, turn to The Law Offices of Joseph S. Scura. For more than a decade, attorney Scura has been helping clients assert their rights after winding up on the wrong side of the law. To schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Morristown, complete our Online Contact Form or call 973-832-0841.