1. Apply for a Copy of Your Criminal History to the Appropriate Court
The first step is to apply for a copy of your criminal history from the appropriate court. You must provide the court with your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. The process can be lengthy and complicated, so you may consider hiring an attorney. An experienced attorney will help you file a petition for expungement and all supporting documentation.
An experienced lawyer will ensure they speed up the process and ensure that there are no errors on your documents that could lead to being denied. Once you present the case, it will go before a judge who will review it. If approved, you should receive notice from the court notifying you of the approval.
2. Fill Out the Petition Form for Expungement
If authorities have convicted you of a crime in the past in New Jersey, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged. The process will clear your history and give you a second chance. To begin the process, you must fill out the Petition for Expungement. You must then sign the petition before a notary public. In some cases, getting a waiver on this is possible if you apply on behalf of someone else, or it is not practical because they are incarcerated or mentally incapacitated.
However, a compeling petition by your lawyer will do the trick. They will need to list all the details about the conviction, where you live, and any current job or employment. Your attorney will also include anything that has happened since the sentence that would qualify you for an expungement, including good conduct in prison or probation.
3. File the Expungement Petition With the Appropriate Court
After drafting a compeling petition, it’s time to file an expungement petition with the court where your conviction occurred. If you don’t live in that county, you can file the petition in any county where you reside or own property. Once your lawyer files your petition, the clerk will assign it a number and send notice of the hearing date to both parties (petitioner and prosecutor). The court will then schedule a hearing date, which must be at least ten days after the filing date. At this hearing, each party has an opportunity to present evidence and testimony.
You need to attend this hearing so that you have a chance to speak on your behalf. However, your attorney can help you prepare what to say during the hearing and gather documentation. There are two types of hearings: one-party and contested. In a one-party hearing, only the petitioner appears before the judge. In a contested hearing, both parties appear before the judge to argue their case. The standard for granting an expungement petition is an abuse of discretion by the judge.
4. Serve Notice to Prosecutors and Other Involved Parties
If you want to erase your criminal record from public view in New Jersey, you must first serve notice to the prosecutors and other involved parties. That allows them to object to the expungement. You can file a petition with the court if there are no objections. The court will review your petition and decide whether or not to grant the expungement.
Once the court gives you, it is up to you to provide a copy of the order to anyone who may have records on file. The law orders them to remove those records from their files. Your lawyers will help you serve all government agencies and other interested parties as part of the process and advise you on how long it might take for the process to go through and completely disappear from public view.
If you have a criminal record in New Jersey, you may be able to remove it from public view. The process can be complicated, so hiring an experienced attorney is essential to help you understand the requirements and procedures. They will then work with you to develop a plan of action based on your individual needs. These attorneys will also educate you about what types of records are eligible for expungement and when they might apply (such as cases involving youthful offenders). A qualified expungement lawyer has experience negotiating this complex area of law, so they can effectively represent your interests before the court.