Criminal Record Expungement Lawyer in Haddonfield, NJ Dedicating to Defending Clients’ Rights Throughout the Expungement Process in Burlington County, Camden County, and Across New Jersey
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 your punishment has been completed and you have learned the error of your ways. For those with certain professional goals, a lingering criminal record can even impact your ability to obtain a license to work in your chosen field of employment. Fortunately, New Jersey recently passed a new law to expand the universe of prior offenders who may now be eligible to have their criminal records expunged.
Expungement is essentially the process through which your prior criminal record is cleared, giving you the true fresh start that you need to move forward with your life. However, historically, the availability of 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 who have been accused or convicted in the past.
At the Law Office of Jill R. Cohen, I believe in helping my clients obtain that fresh start so that they can move on to lead productive lives without fear that their criminal past will get in the way. If you have questions about whether your record is now eligible for expungement, call my offices today to schedule a free consultation to discuss how New Jersey’s new expungement law could impact you and your future.
Secure Your Future With Experienced and Dedicated Defense; Schedule a Free Consultation With Me, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Jill Cohen, to Fight For Your Rights and Seek The Justice You Deserve.
What Is An Expungement?
An expungement clears your criminal record, giving you the true fresh start that you need to move forward with your life. Historically, expungements were limited to certain types of offenses. New Jersey’s new expungement law significantly expands the availability of expungements. For those with certain professional goals, a lingering criminal record can even impact your ability to obtain a license to work in your chosen field of employment, prevent you from getting federal funding for college or prevent you from getting housing of your choice. Fortunately, New Jersey’s new law expands eligibility. I have filed numerous petitions for expungement, and all of them have been granted.
Attorney Jill R. Cohen Explains New Jersey’s New Expungement Laws
The New Jersey legislature recently enacted an important new law that increases the possibility of obtaining an expungement for many clients. Effective October 1, 2018, the following rules governing expungements now apply with respect to criminal convictions (indictable offenses, which are more serious crimes, as opposed to disorderly persons offenses) and disorderly persons offenses:
- Waiting period. The new law lowered the waiting period to have certain criminal convictions expunged from ten years to six years. In some cases, the six-year period may be further reduced to five years.
- Disorderly persons offenses. Under prior law, a client could petition to have a criminal conviction expunged if he or she had no more than two additional convictions for disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses. The new law increases that number to three.
- 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 (1) the applicant has no additional convictions and (2) all of the convictions for the disorderly persons offenses were entered in the same day (regardless of when the actual arrests were made), for example, in a “crime spree”.
- Early pathway expungement. 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 the court decides it is in the public’s best interest.
- 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, 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.
Helping Those With Criminal Records Succeed In the Expungement Process
If you have a criminal record, there is probably a sense of dread every time a potential landlord or employer tells you they will conduct a background check. Your criminal record can follow you for a lifetime, well after your punishment has been completed and you have learned the error of your ways. I founded The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen because I am passionate about helping defendants navigate the criminal justice system in New Jersey. I believe in helping clients obtain that fresh start so that they can move on to lead productive lives without fear that their criminal past will get in the way. If you are trying to figure out the expungement process in Camden County, I can help.
"I did not expect my case to go so well but Jill found a way to really help me, I’m very grateful I chose her as my attorney and definitely would again in the future if needed."Paige M.
"I cannot say enough good things about Jill and her staff... During one of the most trying times for me, not only did she support me, but she and her staff truly listened to me and, most importantly, had my best interest at heart. I will refer Jill to anyone that needs a hands-down professional, caring lawyer to get them through a difficult time."Elizabeth S.
"She is very nice she works with you step-by-step, and she keeps you very informed about your case. She has great service, excellent workmanship, and she put her all into getting you the best results. Thanks a lot Jill R. Cohen."Keshia D. View All Client Reviews
What Does The Judge Consider When Deciding Whether To Grant An Expungement For An Adult?
The court will look at the type of offense and crime, as well as your character and conduct since the time of your conviction. Usually, this will include answering the following questions:
- Do you have any new criminal charges?
- Are you gainfully employed?
- Have you maintained gainful employment?
- Did you go to school or complete additional higher education or training?
- Did you complete all of your court-ordered requirements, like treatment programs or counseling?
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 convictions and convictions of child pornography can also never be expunged.
Juvenile Expungements in New Jersey
In the state of New Jersey, for qualifying criminal offenses, a juvenile record is eligible for expungement after three years. The juvenile must have completed all of their sentence requirements, paid all of the associated fines, and completed any court-ordered classes, therapy or treatment programs. Additionally, to be eligible for an expungement for a juvenile record, the applicant must not have been declared a juvenile delinquent or convicted of an adult crime. The applicant cannot have an adult criminal record or have any pending criminal charges.
The State Of New Jersey Offers Clean-Slate Expungements
The state of New Jersey offers a “clean slate” provision when it comes to expungements. In other words, eligible applicants can qualify to have their entire criminal record completely expunged and wiped clean. If it has been ten years, since your last conviction and completion of your sentence and parole conditions and terms, you may be eligible for a clean-slate expungement. There is no limit on the number of crimes that can be expunged with a clean-slate expungement.
With decades of criminal defense experience, I understand how the criminal justice system works and the impact it has on those convicted, as well as their families. I offer compassionate, understanding representation, as I know how difficult criminal matters can be. I work tirelessly on behalf of my clients for post-conviction assistance, appeals, and expungements to make sure they have the best possible chance to move forward from what was surely a difficult time in their lives.
Automatic Expungements Help Drug Court Graduates and Clients Who Were 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 favorably on or after April 18, 2016. 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-expungeable offense,
- Public policy weighs in favor of expungement, and
- 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, however, you can request expungement without being subject to the previously applicable waiting periods.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Hard-Hitting Criminal Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Expungement Questions Today
I work to provide innovative solutions for clients who have been accused or convicted of a crime in the past. I offer free initial consultations so that I can have a chance to better understand your specific situation and answer any questions that you may have. Call my office at 856-754-5501 or reach out through the online contact form to schedule a time to meet with me for free. My office is conveniently located at 116 N. Haddon Ave, Haddonfield, NJ 08033.