Monmouth County Expungement Lawyers
A criminal record can affect your life in ways that you never anticipated. You may be disqualified from receiving financial aid for college, voting and carrying a firearm, and could have trouble finding a decent job. These days, anyone can potentially access your criminal record online—your friends, family, romantic partners, colleagues, prospective employers, landlords, insurance companies and adoption agencies—could all find out about your arrest and/or conviction. You have options. You can control the situation. The experienced New Jersey expungement lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help you clear your name.
What Is an Expungement?
An expungement is the “extraction and isolation” of all records relating to your arrest, detention, trial and/or conviction. When a New Jersey court grants a petition for Expungement, an order of Expungement is issued and the case file and all copies of case-related documents are secured. This means that your criminal records will no longer be accessible by the public. When asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, you will lawfully be entitled to answer “no” if the incident has been expunged.
Are You Eligible for an Expungement?
In determining whether you are eligible, the court will consider the nature of your offense (was it a felony or a misdemeanor) and whether you have any prior convictions. Prior convictions will not necessarily disqualify you from getting an expungement.
It used to be that convictions for distribution of narcotics could never be expunged. However, that rule has recently changed, and now in certain cases these records can be sealed.
Still, some crimes (generally violent crimes) may never be expunged. These include: criminal homicide, kidnapping, human trafficking, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault (if the victim is a minor), criminal sexual contact (if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim), robbery, arson, selling or manufacturing child pornography and perjury.
New Jersey judges do not have jurisdiction to expunge records from other states or jurisdictions. Motor vehicle records, including DWI convictions, and civil orders are also not eligible for expungement.
How Long Will It Take to Clear My Name?
In January of 2016, the Governor of New Jersey signed into law a new measure designed to ease the path toward expungement of criminal records. If you were not previously eligible for an expungement, you may now be eligible under this new law effective April 18, 2016.
If charges against you were dismissed, you are eligible to have your arrest record cleared immediately. However if you were convicted of a crime, you must wait a certain amount of time before becoming eligible to have the offense removed from your record. The length of the waiting period depends on the offense.
For disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors) the waiting period has been reduced from five years to three years.
For indictable crimes (felony offenses) the waiting period has been reduced from ten years to five years from the date of your conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever was later.
Why Do I Need an Expungement If My Charges Were Dismissed?
Even if your charges have been dismissed, you can still benefit from having your arrest record expunged. Under the new law, if you have successfully completed a diversionary program such as conditional discharge, you are eligible to expunge your record immediately. The unfortunate truth is that even though you have not been convicted of a crime, people view you in a different light once they know you have been arrested.
Monmouth County Expungement Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Assist Immigrants With Criminal Records
If you have been convicted of a crime it can have serious repercussions for your future or continued legal status in the United States. Before proceeding with a citizenship application, speak with one of our experienced bi-lingual expungement lawyers. One of our experienced, multidisciplinary lawyers can advise you how to proceed.
We Can Help Clear Your Name
Beware of websites offering “expungement assistance” services. These companies merely provide you with forms, leaving you to handle all the work with no personalized assistance. New Jersey expungement law is very nuanced and prosecutors will often object to your eligibility if you fail to meet even a single requirement. Often these online services charge you for the forms, and then once you have paid for these forms that you are unable to fill out, they will charge you unreasonably high rates for consultations and advice. Unlike these faceless online services, the trusted lawyers at Shebell & Shebell provide a cost-effective, personalized solution for expungements. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.