Camden County Expungement Lawyer
We Can Help You Erase Your Criminal Record
If you have ever been convicted of a crime, you might feel a sense of dread every time a potential landlord or employer asks to conduct a background check. Your criminal record can follow you for a lifetime, well after you have completed your sentence and paid your dues.
Fortunately, New Jersey recently passed a new law to benefit prior offenders who may now be eligible to have their criminal records expunged. At The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen, we have filed numerous petitions for expungements – and all of them have been granted.
See if you are eligible for expungement by calling us at (856) 351-5115 today.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is essentially the process through which your criminal record is cleared, giving you the true fresh start that you need to move forward with your life. Historically, expungement has been limited to those who have committed certain types of offenses, generally without demonstrating evidence of significant subsequent criminal activity. New Jersey’s new expungement law significantly expands the availability of expungement for many people who have been accused or convicted in the past.
At The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen, we believe in helping our clients get the fresh start they deserve so they can move on to lead productive lives without worrying that their criminal past will get in the way.
What Types of Criminal Offenses Cannot Be Expunged?
Most violent crimes are not eligible for expungement even under the newly expanded rules. For example, murder, robbery, arson, sex crimes, human trafficking, and certain drug crimes can never be expunged from your record. Child endangerment and child pornography convictions can also never be expunged.
New Jersey’s New Expungement Laws
The New Jersey legislature recently enacted an important new law – N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 – that increases the possibility of obtaining an expungement for many clients.
Effective October 1, 2018, the following rules now apply with respect to criminal convictions and disorderly persons offenses:
- Waiting period. The waiting period is the time that must pass before an expungement will be granted. The new law lowered the waiting period from 10 years to six years. In some cases, the six-year period may be further reduced to five years if an expungement will serve the public interest. The new law did not change the kinds of crimes that are not expungable but relaxed many of the rules.
- Disorderly persons offenses. Under prior law, a person could petition to have their criminal conviction expunged if they had no more than two additional convictions for disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses. The new law increases that number to three if you also have an indictable conviction. It also now allows for an expungement of four disorderly persons offenses.
- Convictions entered on the same day. In limited circumstances, some clients may be entitled to have an unlimited number of disorderly persons offenses expunged under the new law, if the applicant has no additional convictions and all the convictions for the disorderly persons offenses were entered in the same day.
- Early pathway expungement of disorderly persons offenses. Clients who have been convicted of disorderly persons offenses may now be eligible for expungement after three years if no new convictions of any kind of have been entered, and if the court decides it is in the public’s best interest. Character references, employer references, and volunteer work are important for an early pathway expungement.
- Juveniles. Clients who were convicted as minors will now be entitled to petition for expungement after only three years have passed, rather than having to wait five years.
- Diversionary programs. The new law removed the previous bar that prevented expungement if the client had one or more criminal charges dismissed because of successfully completing a diversionary program, such as pre-trial intervention.
- Restitution barrier. The new law also removed the previous bar that prevented expungement for those who failed to pay restitution, pay monetary fines, and satisfy other financial obligations, as long as that failure was not willful. Now, the collection of outstanding fines will be transferred to another court, although any subsequent willful non-payment would vacate the expungement.
How Do Courts Determine Whether an Early Pathway Expungement Is in the Public’s Best Interest?
The court will look to the type of offense and to your character and conduct since the time of conviction. Usually, this will include whether you have been arrested on any other criminal charges, maintained gainful employment, attended school or attained higher education, and completed any required punishment or counseling requirements.
Automatic Expungements Help Drug Court Graduates & Those Arrested Without Conviction
Under prior law, individuals who successfully completed drug court or who were arrested but never convicted were required to go through the process of applying for expungement. Under the new rules, if you were arrested for committing a crime but your case was dismissed or you were acquitted, your arrest, case dismissal, and/or acquittal will automatically be expunged beginning for cases dismissed or resolved on or after April 18, 2016.
Attorney Jill Cohen can help you file for automatic expungements. Please note that the state police may take up to three months before your record is expunged. Clients whose cases were dismissed or resolved without conviction before that date will continue to be required to petition for expungement.
The entire record of a drug court graduate will be expunged automatically upon successful completion of the program if:
- The graduate has no other pending criminal charges
- The graduate has not been convicted of a non-expungable offense
- Public policy weighs in favor of expungement
- The graduate has not committed any crimes during or after completion of the drug court program
Again, this automatic expungement will apply only to those who complete the drug court program on or after April 18, 2016. If you completed the program before this date, you can request expungement without being subject to the previously applicable waiting periods.
Schedule a Free Consultation with The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen
We pride ourselves on providing innovative solutions for clients who have been accused or convicted of a crime in the past. Our expungement lawyer in Camden County would be happy to discuss your situation and see how new expungement laws may impact your case and your future.
Call (856) 351-5115 now to get started with a free consultation.
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