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The steps of petitioning for expungement

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Expungement is a legal process that allows individuals to have their criminal records sealed or erased, offering the opportunity to move forward without the stigma of a past conviction. Understanding the steps involved in petitioning for expungement can help navigate this important process.

Determine eligibility

The first step in the expungement process is determining eligibility. Eligibility criteria include factors such as the type of offense and the time that has passed since conviction. New Jersey allows for the expungement of many offenses, but serious crimes such as sexual offenses, homicide, and certain drug offenses are not eligible Additionally, individuals must not have more than one indictable conviction or two disorderly persons convictions to qualify.

Gather necessary documents

Once you have confirmed eligibility, gather all necessary documents. This typically includes your criminal record, court documents, and proof of completion of any sentence requirements. 

File the petition

The next step involves filing a petition for expungement with the court that handled the original case. This petition must include all required documents and may involve a filing fee. It’s important to follow the specific procedures and timelines set by the court.

Attend the hearing

After filing the petition, a hearing date will be set. During the hearing, you may need to present your case to the judge. This is an opportunity to demonstrate rehabilitation and the positive steps taken since the conviction.

Await the decision

Following the hearing, the judge decides on the petition. If the judge grants the petition, the court issues an order to expunge the record. This action seals or erases the criminal record, removing it from public view.

Moving forward

Understanding the expungement process and the steps involved can provide a clear path to clearing your record. With the right preparation and knowledge, you can navigate the process and work towards a fresh start.