A criminal record can cause a lot of problems in life for many years after the crime occurred. Expungement is a legal process in which a person who has been convicted of a crime gets that crime cleared from his or her criminal record. The process involves petitioning a New Jersey Superior Court and meeting specific criteria. Once approved, all police, court and corrections documentation are removed from one's record. At this point a background check would indicate no evidence of the crime ever having happened.
There are many reasons someone might need a conviction expunged. A criminal record can impact many aspects of life. In today's technology-infused lifestyle, it is not uncommon for potential love interests to make a background check on someone prior to becoming involved with him or her. Potential landlords also often perform background checks on prospective tenants. A conviction from years earlier can cause one to get denied for the housing as well as the love interest.
Past convictions can also keep someone from getting hired for a new job, which can have lifelong consequences. Without the opportunity for improved employment opportunities, one can find it difficult to reach a satisfied, self-sufficient stage in life. Sometimes this can even lead to additional criminal activity.
In New Jersey, the expungement process recently got a lot easier. In new legislation that came into effect on Oct. 1, 2018, more people than ever are eligible to have their records expunged. The goal is to make it easier for those who have been convicted of minor violations and have served their penalties to move on with their lives and no longer be haunted by a criminal record from long ago.
There are many offenses that are eligible for expungement from one's record, but many serious crimes are ineligible, including murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. Anyone who has a criminal conviction in his or her past and would like to have it expunged should contact a criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can advise the client about whether a specific conviction is eligible under current New Jersey law and can provide representation and guidance throughout the entire expungement process.