A criminal conviction does not just include a period of jail time and some fines and community service. It is not something you can get through and then forget about. A conviction is a permanent black mark on your record that can be seen by anyone that runs a background check on you. This means that a conviction for even a minor offense can haunt you. You may experience problems finding a job or getting an apartment.
Fortunately, there might be options available so that that one mistake does not ruin your chances of keeping your life on track. You may be able for expungement. A New Jersey court may seal your criminal records, including the arrest, or remove the conviction completely. This means that you will no longer have to include your arrest or conviction on job applications.
Furthermore, a potential employer or landlord will not see the record when running a background check. However, if you are attempting to get a job with a government agency, then that agency will more than likely be able to see the arrest and conviction. Read below to find out more about the expungement process.
If you choose to pursue an expungement, a judge will look over your application or petition and determine if you are eligible. Some of the factors the court might consider include the nature of the crime, any prior convictions or expungements, the timing of your arrest or conviction, and what kind of sentence you received.
Typically, the court requires that you file specific paperwork when you apply for an expungement. You may need to fill out an application or petition and pay a filing fee. You may even have to attend a court hearing before the judge will make a decision. If the court rules in your favor, you may then have to deliver the expungement order to agencies that have a record of your arrest and conviction, including the state's department of corrections.
Your attorney will be the best source of information if you choose to pursue an expungement to seal a criminal conviction or arrest. He or she will be able to walk you through the process and help you gather all the required documentation and correctly fill out the application. If you do not provide the right information or do not file the paperwork correctly, it could result in an automatic denial.