Why Do I Have A Criminal Record If I Was Not Convicted?
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Court proceedings and your criminal record are public record. Do you feel the need to prevent potential employers, family, friends or the public from viewing court records that include your criminal records? Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense leaves a permanent record that can show up on employment and housing background checks. This record exists regardless if there was a conviction associated with the arrest.
An expungement is not a pardon. However, under most circumstances it does allow a person to legally say that they have never been arrested or convicted of the expunged offense.
If you were arrested in New Jersey, you may be eligible for expungement of your NJ arrest record if certain conditions are met. You can have records expunged for arrests that you were found innocent of as well as arrests that you were convicted of municipal ordinances and certain misdemeanors and felonies. However, not all records can be expunged and New Jersey only allows criminal records to be expunged once.
An expungement can take four months or more to move through the court. In addition, there is a waiting period before any expungement petition related to a conviction can be filed:
- Six months for an offense involving a conditional discharge program
- Two years for a violation of a municipal ordinance
- Five years after a misdemeanor conviction that is eligible for expungement
- Ten years after a felony conviction that is eligible for expungement
It is possible for a lay person to seal their records. However, an attorney can be contacted about sealing court records. Find a lawyer that practices in the area of law that represents your case in court. Sealing or expunging a record is a complicated process with many rules so it is best to consult with a lawyer who is familiar with and understands the procedure. At Aretsky & Aretsky, in Bergen County, New Jersey, we have significant experience helping people get arrest records and some criminal convictions expunged. 3 University Plaza Drive, Suite 207, Hackensack, N.J. 0760, Phone: 201-580-3411