For those in New Jersey with a criminal conviction who are waiting to get their arrest expunged from their record, the expungement process just got a whole lot quicker. A bill to shorten the waiting period was recently signed into law by governor Chris Christie, and it will take effect within 90 days of signing. This opens up many doors for individuals convicted of crimes in the state to move forward with their lives and once again become productive members of society.
What Expungement Means: Expungement is a great part of our legal system which helps you to get your life back after a criminal conviction. It is intended to help someone along the path to rehabilitation after a conviction, and prevents what was potentially one mistake from ruining the rest of your life. Under NJ law, you have the potential option to get your conviction or arrest expunged, or cleared off of your record, by the superior court.
You’ll need to apply to the court in the county where you were convicted, who will then rule on whether or not your conviction or arrest should be expunged. If they rule in your favor, the arrest will be wiped off of your public record and it will essentially no longer exist. This will help you immensely when you go to apply for a job or housing situation, as well as remove the personal and social stigma that goes along with having a conviction on your record.
Waiting times for Expungement: Prior to the new law signed into place by Christie, there was a ten year waiting period for any felony-level expungement. This has now been cut in half to just five years, still a substantial amount of time but much better than it had been previously. For the expungement of a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly person offense, the waiting period will be cut from five years to three years. These lesser offenses include everything from shoplifting to the simple possession of marijuana.
The New Legislation: New Jersey lawmakers know that one arrest or conviction shouldn’t ruin you for life. Co-sponsor of the bill Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer has noted that the shortening of expungement application waiting periods will help to restore essential rights to NJ citizens, including finding proper housing, employment, and educational loans. All of these rights put together can make quite the difference for someone who is looking to get back on their feet after an arrest and rejoin society in a productive way.
Applying for Expungement. If you are looking to apply for an expungement, there is a process you will need to complete with your attorney. If you are looking for an experienced and successful legal professional to represent you through this process, look no further. I am one of the top defense attorneys in the state and can provide you with expert counsel in your expungement case. For a free consultation about my services and how they can work for you, call me, Robert E. Depersia, today. I can be reached by phone at 856-795-9688 and look forward to working with you soon.