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What is the process of expunging a criminal record?

The problem with having a criminal conviction is that some employers will not hire you for a job and a landlord might not let you rent an apartment if they discover your criminal past. This is why some New Jersey residents petition for an expungement. This is the process of clearing your criminal record so that it does not turn up in background searches.

There are certain requirements for expungement. The good news is that, according to, New Jersey passed a law in 2018 that expands the range of people who may qualify to clear their criminal records. Here is a look at the qualifications for expungement and the process you will go through to remove arrests and convictions from your record.

Determining eligibility for expungement

Expungement is not available for all criminal offenses. Many violent crimes such as murder, human trafficking, terrorism, sexual assault, and kidnapping as well as serious offenses like DUI and perjury are not eligible for expungement. Even if a court may expunge your criminal offense, other factors like your moral character following your conviction and your number of prior convictions may play roles in your eligibility.

With the passage of the 2018 expungement law, people who have gone through pre-trial intervention to dismiss a charge are now eligible to clear their records. So if you went through counseling or community service to avoid an indictment, a court should not automatically disqualify you. Additionally, the new law makes it easier for people to expunge charges of using marijuana.

Preparing information for your expungement

You should have information ready to help prepare your expungement petition, such as the date of your arrest as an adult or when the police took you into custody while you were a minor. Other information should consist of your date of conviction, disposition or dismissal of a criminal charge. If possible, include your original indictment and accusation, your summons, and the number of your docket, warrant or complaint.

The process of expungement

Expungement cases are unique to each petitioner, but the process as a whole involves common steps such as the initial petition for expungement. If the case becomes complex, it may require you to make a court appearance, particularly if your case involves litigation. Usually, expungement takes several months to complete, but preparing for your expungement might prevent complications that could delay the process.

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