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New Jersey Expungement FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

This page was designed to help our clients better understand our New Jersey Expungement service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.



Will my record still show up on my background check?

No. Once an offense has been expunged, state agencies in New Jersey that have records of the offense may not release the records to anyone. The records can only be accessed under very limited circumstances. The law will treat the arrest or conviction as though the offense(s) never occurred under most circumstances. (N.J.S. 2C:52-27).

If what shows up on your background check is important to you, you will want to consider two additional services that we offer.

Criminal Background Check Removal will remove your information from 30 online background check websites, including some the most well known websites, such as BeenVerfied.com and LexisNexis PeopleWise. This service takes about 30 days, and we can remove your information even if your record has not been expunged or cleared by the court. You can read more about this service by clicking here.

Expedited Record Clearance Update is an essential step to take after your record is expunged if you are concerned about what appears on commercial background checks (the kind used by most non-government employers). Courts do not notify background check companies that a record has been expunged or sealed. We will take the steps necessary to have your expunged record removed from more than 600 background check providers within 14 days. You can read more about this service by clicking here.

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Can my record still be used against me for a future conviction?

Yes, if you are ever charged with another offense in the future, expunged records can be accessed and then used by courts and prosecutors for purposes of setting bail, preparing a pre-sentence report, or determining your sentence for that future offense.(N.J.S. 2C:52-21).

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Do I ever have to disclose my record?

Once an arrest or conviction has been expunged, you can deny any existence of record. If, however, you are seeking employment with any court or any law enforcement or corrections agency, you must disclose the conviction. (N.J.S. 2C:52-27).

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Can I become a schoolteacher, nurse, or other occupation?

State licensing agencies will not have any access to records that have been expunged. Thus, once expunged, you can deny the existence of the offense and the agency will likely not ever find out. (N.J.S. 2C:52-27).

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What if I want to work in a bank?

Section 19 of the FDIA (Federal Deposit Insurance Act) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.

"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission.

Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.

If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the FDIC. It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.

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Do I need to hire an attorney or can I proceed with the arrest sealing on my own?

You have an attorney to (1) make sure the process is done right the first time so your case does not get rejected or cost you months of delay (2) handle objections from the district attorney (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will soon have the case off of your record.

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Do I have to go to court?

No, we will go for you. If the court requests your presence and you are unable to attend, then we will file a motion to have your appearance excused.

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How does the attorney know about my case details?

Once you sign up we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks questions that influence the outcome of the case and allows us to argue the case before a judge. Although some of the questions may seem simple, the more information and detail that you provide in your answers the better we are able to argue the case in your favor.

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How long does the process take?

Typically, the expungement process takes seven to eight months.

We base our estimates of how long the average expungement takes in New Jersey. Some cases, however, can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the prosecutor is agreeing or objecting, the age of the case, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and prosecutor in anything they need to get your case heard.

If you want record removed right from some of the online background check websites, our Criminal Background Check Removal service can remove it from 30 websites in about 30 days, and it does not require that your record be expunged, so we can start today. You can read more about it by clicking here.

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Can the process be done faster?

The courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner your case is heard and decided. If helpful, we will gladly write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having your record expunged.

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How do I know what is going on with my case?

We have an online tracking system that is just for your case(s). You will have a user name and password for the account, which will have the information specific to the case. Whenever anything happens in your case, we post the information in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that is made. If there is no post on your online account, then that means that there is no update in the case. For example, once we update your online account to reflect that we have filed the motion with the court we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or Prosecutor. Depending on the court, a case can take several weeks to months to hear from the court or Prosecutor whether there is an objection, hearing, or anything else. If something is taking longer than usual for the court, we will call to obtain status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information in the case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.

Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print the necessary content.

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If I was convicted, does the exact disposition of guilty or no contest matter?

No, the exact disposition of your case does not matter. If you have a conviction that is eligible for expungement, it does not matter whether you pled guilty, pled no contest or were convicted after a trial.

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What are the details of the guarantee?

If we are unable to succeed on your case, we do offer a money-back guarantee for certain services. Please view the Pricing Section for details regarding the money-back guarantee.

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Do you have payment plans?

We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Please view the pricing for details regarding the payment plans.

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What if I don’t know exactly what is on my record?

We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done. We charge a researching fee, which we would apply to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.

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When the records states that I can’t be convicted of a crime in New Jersey, what does that mean?

“Crimes” in New Jersey are offenses that carry sentences of six months or more in jail. Therefore, according to New Jersey law indictable offenses (felonies) are crimes, but disorderly person offenses (misdemeanors) are not.

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What if I have multiple cases?

If you have more than one indictable offense (felony) conviction on your record, then you are not eligible for expungement in most cases. The exception is if you have less than three “disorderly person” or “petty disorderly person” offenses. (N.J.S. 2C:52). Please take the free online eligibility test to see if you are eligible to have your case expunged.

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If I was convicted of a felony, can I have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor?

There is no such thing as a “felony” in New Jersey. The State abolished the felony/misdemeanor classification years ago. Rather, in New Jersey, there are only “indictable offenses” (serious offenses) and “non-indictable offenses” (less serious offenses, sometimes called “disorderly person offenses”).

That said, under exceptional circumstances you may be able to reduce the sentence you received under Rule 3:21-10 of the New Jersey Rules of Criminal Practice. This must be filed 60 days after you judgment of conviction unless there is good cause shown by both the defendant and prosecuting attorney. We do not handle this service.

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What happens after my conviction is expunged?

You can legally deny that your conviction ever existed. The records will be tightly sealed and not released to the general public. (N.J.S. 2C:52-27).

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How do the agencies know the expungement was granted?

The court will provide you a written order for expungement, which directs all agencies that have records of the offense to act according to the order. (N.J.S. 2C:52-15).

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How long do records take to be updated?

The court will update their records and send the order to the agencies to comply. The agencies will then update their records, which normally takes 30 days.

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What is the main reason that my expungement petition is denied?

Cases are denied for the following reasons (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) you have not followed all of the correct procedures, (4) the court does not believe greanting an expungement will be in the interest of society, or (5) you or the particular offense is otherwise not eligible for expungement.

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What if my case is denied?

If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If we do not believe that re-filing would be successful or we recommend the person wait longer to re-file, then there may be a money-back guarantee for certain services.

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Will an expungement relieve me of the requirement to register?

No. An offense that requires sex offender registration in New Jersey is not eligible for expungement. (N.J.S. 2C:52-2).

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Can I expunge my case if I was convicted?

Yes. Both arrests and convictions are eligible for expungement in New Jersey, as long as the other requirements are met. (N.J.S. 2C:52).

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Will expungement clean up my DMV record?

No. In fact, motor-related offenses are not eligible for expungement in New Jersey. These include any offense that falls under Title 39 of the New Jersey Code, which are motor vehicle and traffic regulation offenses. DUI is included in Title 39 and not eligible for expungement. (N.J.S. 2C:52-28).

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Will my record prohibit me from visiting Canada?

If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you may be prohibited from entrance into Canada and further action will be required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States, so the Canadian government will have whatever information the United States has on file. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of setting aside will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and no longer considered a conviction and improve the odds of not being denied entry to Canada or being stuck at the border for lengthy interrogation.

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Can I get a Sentri pass?

The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So, the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; investing in record clearing before applying for a pass would be advantageous. A modest investment in getting a set aside could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. The set aside will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.

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Can I vote after the expungement is granted?

In New Jersey, your voting rights are automatically restored once you complete your sentence. However, getting an expungement will also restore your voting rights.

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Will being granted an expungement help with immigration?

Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, getting a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts is imperative. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case, contacting a qualified immigration attorney is vital. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.

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Can I clear my federal conviction?

You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.

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Will an expungement restore my right to own a firearm?

Yes. New Jersey courts have ruled that an expungement restores your gun rights, along with your other basic rights such as voting and serving on a jury. However, there is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States government (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by the federal law. The federal definition is narrower than New Jersey's definition, so your domestic violence conviction in New Jersey might not trigger the federal law. Expungement in New Jersey does not lift the federal prohibition.

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Who can serve on a jury in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you may serve on a jury if you: 1) are a resident of the summoning county at the time you receive the summons, 2) are a United States citizen, 3) are physically and mentally able to perform the duties required of a juror, 4) have not pled guilty to or been convicted of an indictable offense unless your offense has been expunged, 5) are over the age of eighteen, 6) are able to read and speak English.

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/juryreporting/juryfqa.pdf

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The first step towards a better life begins with finding out if you are eligible for New Jersey Expungement.



FREE Eligibility Test



SERVING ALL OF NEW JERSEY

Call us at 856-544-9196 or Toll Free (877) 573-7273
Please take the free online eligibility test before calling.

Law Firm of Higbee & Associates
811 Church Road, Suite 105
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
*By Appointment Only

We handle cases in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.