Criminal Record Expungement FAQ
Do You Need Your Criminal History Cleared?
If you were convicted years ago of a crime or simply arrested and the charges dismissed, and wish to clear your criminal history, the criminal defense attorneys of Hagner & Zohlman, LLP, can guide you through the process of expunging the offense. Contact our Cherry Hill law firm today for more information. Based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout New Jersey.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the destruction, extraction or isolation of all files regarding your arrest, warrants, complaints, fingerprints, mug shots, court proceedings and/or conviction for a particular criminal offense. The records are sealed and cannot be accessed by a court or by employers – as if it never happened. Only law enforcement may access the records, and only under certain circumstances.
How Long Do I Have to Wait?
Most crimes (felonies) can be erased after 10 years, petty offenses (misdemeanors) can be expunged after five years, and violations of local ordinances, in as little as two years.
What Will It Cost?
Once retained, Hagner & Zohlman can normally obtain a full and final expungement in as little as 60 to 90 days. Also, expungements are routinely handled on a flat fee basis which makes the process cost effective and expeditious.
Why Expunge a Criminal Record?
A common reason for expungement is to clear one’s criminal record for job applications or to run for public office. Juvenile records are often expunged, so that bad judgment as a teenager does not haunt the person forever.
Even arrests not resulting in a conviction will be revealed upon a background search and can have terrible consequences to job applicants as well as persons already holding jobs.
Most licensing boards including, Nursing, Medical Examiners and Law Enforcement, require a clean record to qualify or to maintain licensure in these respective fields.
One client, an upstanding citizen, was disqualified from consideration for a job when she revealed a shoplifting conviction dating back 14 years. Now that her shoplifting charge has been expunged, she can legally claim on a job application or to law enforcement that she was never charged or arrested. The crime will not show up on background checks.
Can Any Crime Be Expunged?
Expungement applies to most crimes, even a felony. Very serious crimes (Homicide, Kidnapping, Robbery & Arson) Sex crimes, violations of Megan’s Law (registering as a sex offender), manufacture or distribution of drugs, and fraud or bribery by an elected official, are not generally expungeable.
Please check with our experienced lawyers to discuss your personal circumstances before assuming that your offense is not expungeable.
Law enforcement can object to a petition for expungement under certain circumstances. This would include such issues as non-expungeable offenses; if the requisite waiting period had not yet run, or if there were other arrests, charges and/or convictions not disclosed. In these cases, Hagner & Zohlman works aggressively to resolve the objection and ensure that the expungement goes through.
Contact Us For Answers Related To Your Unique Situation
If the court approves an expungement order, it is served on all involved courts, state attorney general, the FBI, local law enforcement and must be honored. The process of expungement was created by the Legislature to give eligible persons an opportunity to start over. It works and should be taken advantage of!
For information about getting your criminal record expunged, contact the New Jersey criminal law attorneys of Hagner & Zohlman, LLP.