A disorderly persons charge from a New Jersey Municipal Court, or Superior Court criminal charges showing up on a background check – even if the charges have been dismissed – can have a highly negative impact on your employment or educational prospects. The existence of a criminal record can also lead to the loss of a professional license, and can prevent you from purchasing a firearm. It can even impact your ability to act as a foster parent or adopt a child. The reasons for seeking the expungement of records are growing as quickly as the jobs and opportunities that require background checks and clean records.
Expunging your record provides you with a second chance to achieve your educational and professional goals, with a clean slate. This is especially important in today’s difficult job market, where any hint of a criminal record can restrict your educational options and your employment prospects. After your record is expunged, if asked whether you have ever been convicted or charged with an offense or crime, you may answer, simply, “no.”
Most Municipal Court disorderly persons and Municipal ordinance convictions are eligible for expungement after a specific period of time. In the case of the conviction of a Municipal Court ordinance, you must wait 2 years to expunge your record. In the event that you have been convicted of a Municipal Court disorderly persons offense, you must wait 5 years to expunge your record. Up to three disorderly persons offense convictions may be expunged.
Even if you have been convicted of an indictable crime, you may be eligible to expunge your criminal record. Ordinarily, ten years must pass before you are eligible to expunge your criminal conviction. However, due to recent changes to New Jersey law, you may be able to expunge a conviction for an indictable crime in as little as five years if the court finds that the public interest will be served by an expungement. Further, New Jersey law was recently changed to permit expungement in the case of a conviction of sale, distribution, or possession with intent to sell controlled substances in small amounts.
If your Municipal Court disorderly persons offenses or ordinance violations, or Superior Court criminal charges have been dismissed, or you were found not guilty of a crime, you are eligible for an immediate expungement. Further, if you have completed a conditional discharge or pretrial intervention program, and six additional months have passed since the dismissal of your charges, you may expunge your record.
Expungement is accomplished by filing a petition in the Superior Court-Law Division. Schwartz & Posnock has successfully petitioned for the expungement of criminal records in New Jersey since 1993. We have obtained the expungement of criminal and disorderly persons records in virtually every case we have handled. The vast majority of our expungement cases do not require the petitioner’s appearance in court.
As New Jersey criminal lawyers, we work aggressively to expunge your disorderly persons, ordinance violation or criminal record and will keep you informed every step of the way. We also make sure that the expungement order is directed to every law enforcement agency that may have a record of your criminal case.
Having an experienced, aggressive criminal lawyer is critical to obtaining an expungement of your criminal record, and can help to reestablish your good name.