Hudson County Expungement Attorney

There are often long-term and unexpected consequences for being convicted of a crime in New Jersey. Having a criminal record, especially if the crime is an indictable offense, could affect your ability to find a job, make it harder to buy a house or car, and cost you the right to vote or buy a gun. Because criminal records can be easily accessed by the public, you could be haunted by your past in many aspects of your life.

Fortunately, it may be possible to have the record of your arrest and/or conviction wiped clean with help from a skilled Hudson County expungement lawyer. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our attorneys have extensive experience helping people like you in Hudson County clean up their records and get a fresh start.

Contact us today for a free review of your case. Our Hudson County expungement attorneys could walk you through the process of having your criminal record expunged, help you gather the necessary documents, and assist you with filing those documents with the correct government agencies. We make the process as easy as possible for you.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is the legal term for clearing an arrest or conviction from your criminal record. If your criminal records have been expunged, you are legally allowed to answer “no” if you are asked about having ever committed a crime.

It’s important to know that you do not have to be convicted of a crime to have a criminal record in New Jersey. Even if your charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty, there are still records of your arrest and other aspects of your case. Expungement includes removing the following records from the public eye:

  • Any records of your arrest
  • Any violations of municipal ordinances
  • Convictions for disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors)
  • Convictions for indictable offenses (felonies)
  • Juvenile records
  • Drug crimes committed when you were under 21 years old

Many Types of Crimes Can Be Expunged in New Jersey

Fortunately, New Jersey is one of the most progressive states when it comes to expunging criminal records. Most disorderly persons offenses and some indictable crimes can be expunged in New Jersey. In addition, no matter how serious the crime you were charged with, it can be expunged if you were not convicted.

Some of the crimes that cannot be expunged in New Jersey are:

  • Arson
  • Kidnapping and false imprisonment
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexual assault and some similar crimes under Megan’s Law
  • Terrorism
  • Robbery
  • Homicide
  • Some drug distribution crimes
  • Second-degree aggravated assault
  • Traffic offenses, including DUI

If you are not sure whether you are eligible to have your criminal record expunged, talk to a Hudson County criminal defense lawyer from our firm about your legal options.

What Are the New Jersey Expungement Requirements?

You must meet certain requirements to have criminal records expunged in New Jersey. Depending on the offense and what type of record you are seeking to have expunged, these requirements include:

  • Indictable convictions (felonies) – You must complete your prison sentence and pay any assessed fines. You cannot have any criminal convictions in other states or more than three disorderly persons convictions in New Jersey. Additionally, you can have only one felony expunged in your lifetime unless multiple felonies were combined into a single conviction or were part of the same incident.
  • Disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors) – You must complete your jail sentence and pay assessed fines. You cannot have more than five disorderly persons offenses expunged.
  • Juvenile offenses – You must complete your sentence and pay any assessed fines. Additionally, you cannot have been ruled a juvenile delinquent or been convicted of an adult crime.
  • Drug possession charges – You must complete your jail sentence and pay any assessed fines. Drug distribution or sales offenses can only be expunged if they are third-degree offenses or lower and involve less than 25 grams of marijuana or less than 5 grams of hashish.
  • Violations of municipal ordinances – You must complete your jail sentence and pay any assessed fines. Depending on your number of past convictions, not all violations are eligible for expungement.
  • Conditional release for certain drug offenses – You must complete the terms of your conditional release program.
  • Charges dismissed due to a pre-trial intervention — You must complete the terms of your pre-trial intervention program.
  • Arrest without a conviction – Your charges must have been dismissed.

Although these are the standard requirements to have your criminal records expunged, New Jersey’s “clean slate” law allows anyone who has not had a conviction in more than 10 years to apply to have their entire criminal record expunged. This 10-year waiting period starts as soon as you satisfy the conditions of your past convictions (completing your jail sentence, paying fines, etc.)

Under the clean slate law, there is no limit to the number of offenses that can be cleared if you meet certain requirements. Furthermore, you can also apply for a clean slate expungement even if you have already had other records sealed. But any offense that would normally disqualify someone from having their record expunged in the usual manner also disqualifies them from having their records wiped through the clean slate law.

Understand New Jersey’s Expungement Waiting Time

In addition to certain other requirements listed in New Jersey’s expungement law, you must wait a specified amount of time before certain records can be cleared. Depending on what type of record you want expunged, the waiting periods are:

  • Record of arrest (without a conviction) – No waiting period once the charges are dropped
  • Charges dismissed due to a pre-trial intervention – Six months
  • Conditional release for certain drug offenses – Six months
  • Drug possession charges – One year
  • Violations of municipal ordinances – Two years
  • Juvenile offenses – Three years
  • Disorderly persons offenses – Three to five years
  • Indictable convictions – Six years

How to Expunge Your Record in Hudson County

Getting your criminal records expunged can be a complicated process, but here are the basic steps involved

  • Gather your criminal records – You need every record of your entire criminal history before you can apply for expungement. You will need your files from whatever law enforcement agencies arrested you for every charge, your records from whatever local prosecutor handled each of your cases, your court records, and your probation records. It’s important to be thorough, as any missing records could automatically invalidate your petition.
  • Prepare the petition – Once you have your entire criminal history, it’s time to prepare the actual expungement petition. You will need to include your full name (along with any previous names, such as your maiden name), address, date of birth, State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) number, and a formal request for expungement. This petition must then be signed, dated, and properly notarized.
  • Prepare the verification page – The verification page is a separate document that is included with the expungement petition. This document requires you to certify that everything in the petition is true (to the best of your knowledge), you have no misdemeanor or felony cases currently pending, and that you have not previously been granted expungement (if you are seeking to have a felony record sealed). This verification page must also be properly notarized.
  • Prepare the hearing order and proposed expungement order – There are two final documents that need to be included with an expungement petition. The first is a hearing order setting a date for a proposed hearing before a judge to consider your petition. This hearing order needs to be sent to every agency with records of your criminal history. The final document is the proposed expungement order, which states what records you want expunged and includes your identifying information. If your petition is approved, this is the final order a judge will sign to have your records sealed.
  • File the petition – Once everything is in order, you’ll submit your petition to the courts and the various agencies with records of your criminal history. A judge will set a proposed hearing date within roughly 35 to 60 days from the date you submitted your petition. During this waiting period, the New Jersey State Police will run a background check to make sure you are eligible for expungement. Any of the agencies with records of your history can also use this time to object to your petition. If they have legitimate grounds to deny your petition, you can file an amended petition with the courts.
  • Attend the expungement hearing – All parties conduct a review of your case and issue any objections at this time.
  • Final expungement order – If your petition is approved, a judge will order all the agencies in possession of your records to have those records sealed. After a few months, you or your attorney should receive confirmation that this process has been completed.

How a Hudson County Expungement Attorney Can Help with Your Case

With all the steps and paperwork involved in having your criminal records expunged in Hudson County, it’s crucial to get help from a local lawyer to make sure the process goes smoothly. A lawyer from William Proetta Criminal Law can help you identify all the agencies that have records of your criminal history and make sure all the necessary records are included in the petition.

We can also draft the petition and the verification page to ensure no technical mistakes are made. Lastly, we can make sure the petition is filed correctly and be there with you at the hearing for your final expungement order.

Without an attorney’s help, you might miss a step or forget to include some of your records, which will invalidate your petition.

Hudson County Expungement FAQs

Here are some of the most frequent questions we receive about having criminal records expunged:

Yes, in certain circumstances, an indictable crime can be expunged from your record. However, you can generally only have one indictable crime expunged during your lifetime.

Most disorderly persons offenses can be expunged, though a few exceptions exist. Talk to a lawyer if you want to know more about whether your arrest or conviction is eligible for expungement.

Generally speaking, you can have one indictable crime conviction expunged in one petition. You can have up to five disorderly persons offenses expunged in a single petition, or three if you have been convicted of an indictable crime.

Only certain government and law enforcement agencies can see expunged criminal records in New Jersey. Other than those exceptions, your records should be blocked from public databases.

Ready for a Fresh Start? Talk to a Hudson County Expungement Attorney Now

If you have questions about having your criminal records expunged in Hudson County, seek the advice of a lawyer who is experienced, knowledgeable, and attentive to your personal needs. Contact William Proetta Criminal Law today to speak to a Hudson County expungement attorney in a free and confidential consultation.