Having a criminal record in New Jersey poses many challenges for individuals years after the offense occurred. A criminal record is public and can be viewed by potential employers, landlords, colleges and can even affect one’s ability to apply for a loan. However, there are a few instances in which a criminal record can be expunged or erased from a person’s history.
NJ Rev Stat § 2C defines an expungement:52-1 (2013) as “the extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person’s detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.” It also includes the removal of “complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets,” and judicial docket records.” Any arrests, convictions, and criminal history related to an expunged crime can be completely sealed and locked away from the public.
In an aggravated assault case, an individual may be eligible for expungement under certain factors. First, if you were charged with aggravated assault, but the charges were dismissed, or you were found not guilty, you are eligible for immediate expungement. Second, in cases where the aggravated assault charge was downgraded to a disorderly person’s offense, such as simple assault, you may be eligible for expungement if you have passed at least five years since you completed your sentence. Suppose you do have a felony on your record. In that case, you may request the expungement of the simple assault conviction as long as you have not been charged with more than one other disorderly person’s offense or petty disorderly person’s offense. The same rule applies to individuals who do not have a felony on their record.
For those who plead guilty to an aggravated assault charge and have served their sentence, you are only eligible for expungement if you have no other felonies on your record and no more than two disorderly person’s offenses in your history. You also need to have waited for ten years after your sentence completion, including any probation time.
Typically, expungements in New Jersey are granted within 3 to 4 months, unless a prosecutor objects to it. This happens in rare cases and requires you to appear in court with your criminal defense attorney in Jersey City to defend your request, and may delay your expungement for another two months. Expungement costs can be considerable depending on your attorney fees, but it is essential to have a qualified attorney on your side for this process to go smoothly. Our firm works with individuals looking to get an assault record expunged from their history and provides sound legal advice to maximize success. If you would like to begin your process to have an assault charge removed from your record and get a fresh start, contact the Law Offices of Keith Hirschorn, P.C., by calling 201-798-4024 to learn your options.