In about 90 days, changes to New Jersey expungement laws may be just the thing that many have been waiting for. Specifically, the waiting time to erase an indictable (felony) offense off your record will decrease from 10 years to 5 years. Prior to this, one could apply to expunge an indictable offense after 5 years, but this was called and early pathway expungement and was discretionary on the part of the judge. In fact, these early pathway expungements were not granted unless the petitioner could show compelling reasons that it was in the public interest to do so.
Under the new law, after five years, an expungement would be granted as a matter of law if the petition was properly completed and served.
Additionally, the waiting time to expunge a disorderly persons offense will be three years instead of five.
The waiting time starts when all your obligations to the court are done. This means that the clock does not start to run until you complete probation, parole, prison, fines, etc.
I can’t tell you how many calls I would get each year from people asking if they could get something off their record and I would have to tell them “no” because enough time had not passed. The technological advances have made our backgrounds very transparent. This means that the world can see just about any criminal issues we may have had in the past. Accordingly, any person who has a conviction is routinely passed over for employment opportunities.
These significant changes to the expungement statute will change people’s lives. I have represented hundreds of people in expungement proceedings and been successful in almost all of those cases (with the exception of a few early pathway cases). If you are interested in information about the new laws, I will gladly speak to you over the phone for a free consultation.