Being convicted of a crime has both short-term and long-term consequences. When you visit a law firm in Paterson to consult a criminal defense lawyer, you’ll learn about the potential penalties of conviction. In addition to the possibility of serving time behind bars, your defense lawyer may advise you that a conviction can adversely affect your civic rights, professional standing, and financial stability. While you cannot escape certain penalties if you’re convicted, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you file for expungement in New Jersey.

8513815What does Expungement Accomplish?
If your defense attorney can successfully expunge your records, it means that your criminal history will no longer be accessible by the public. Furthermore, you’ll have the legal right to refuse to disclose information about your past to individuals such as prospective employers. For example, you’ll be allowed to answer “no” if a hiring manager asks if you’ve ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. Your criminal history is removed from the court records, detention facility records, juvenile justice agency records, criminal justice agency records, and law enforcement agency records.

What are the Benefits of Expungement?
It isn’t always easy to get criminal records expunged, but the benefits are well worth the investment of your time. Finding gainful employment or retaining your current job are just two of the reasons why you might seek expungement. Depending on the nature of your conviction, your criminal history might prevent you from seeking public assistance, public housing, and even housing through private landlords. You might be barred from exercising your right to vote in elections or to own a firearm. You might also be prevented from seeking to acquire or reinstate a professional or occupational license. Expungement is much like erasing your criminal history; it allows you to get a fresh start in life.

Could I File for Expungement?
You should consult a criminal defense lawyer to find out if you might be eligible for expungement. The eligibility guidelines vary from state to state. In New Jersey, factors that may be considered include whether you were arrested or also convicted, whether you have multiple convictions, and whether there are any pending criminal charges. Other factors include a history of prior expungements and the nature of the crime. Convictions of certain crimes are never eligible for expungement, such as kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder.