A criminal record can affect your quality of life long after you have done time and put all that behind you. You could miss job or education opportunities due to a past brush with the law that appears on your record.
Fortunately, the law provides some recourse. It is sometimes possible to expunge a criminal record and get a new lease on life.
What is expungement?
Expungement is the legal process of sealing all records on file within any court, law enforcement agency or correctional facility. An expungement can seal information about your arrest, court proceedings, conviction and the outcome of your case.
When your record is expunged, it will be inaccessible to the public and will not appear in a background check.
Are you eligible for expungement?
There is a list of requirements you must meet to qualify for expungement. The location of your crimes or altercation with the law matters and only offenses that occurred in New Jersey can be expunged in this state. Secondly, not all criminal records are eligible. Serious crimes, such as murder or sexual assault, cannot be sealed or erased.
Lastly, you may have to wait for some time after serving your sentence to have your record expunged, depending on the offense you wish to have expunged.
When petitioning for an expungement, the court system can be complicated if you are not well versed with the criminal justice system. It can get overwhelming to go it alone, given the paperwork and legal intricacies involved. Getting the proper legal help is highly recommended to make the most of the expungement process. It might be just what you need to bury the ghosts of your past and start afresh.