Articles Posted in Criminal

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typing.jpg In the last several years, many states have passed laws prohibiting cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking, and cyber-bullying to reflect the evolution of today’s society which, more and more, is becoming centered around electronic communications.

While New Jersey has been a strong advocate of anti-bullying and harassment laws, it has only recently passed a law which specifically criminalizes cyber-harassment. The law was considered to be, in large part, a reaction to the increase in the number of teens who have committed suicide after suffering online harassment. It passed both houses of the state legislature unanimously and was signed into law shortly thereafter by Governor Christie.

This law makes cyber-harassment a crime of the fourth degree, unless the harasser is 21 years old or older and the targeted person is a minor. In that case, it is considered a crime in the third degree. New Jersey’s Criminal Code provides that a third degree crime may result in 3 to 5 years of imprisonment if convicted and a fourth degree crime may result in up to 18 months of imprisonment. The law specifies that these crimes could also be penalized by either a $10,000 fine (for a fourth degree offense) or a $15,000 fine (for a third degree offense) either in addition to or instead of the jail time.
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New Jersey law provides a “fresh start” or “clean slate” to people who made a mistake in the past, but turned their lives around and become a productive citizen by effectively clearing their records of arrests and convictions. These are called in New Jersey “expungements.”

Why Get an Expungment?
Expungements remove the obstacles which a criminal record can place on getting many jobs. An expungement allows someone to legally say an arrest or conviction never happened.

It is routine today for employers to do criminal background checks on job applicants – or even current employees. An expungement removes this as an obstacle to employment. (There are exceptions – for instance, the convictions must still be disclosed in applications for jobs with the judiciary or law enforcement, or to become a licensed attorney; the conviction may not be a bar, but it must be disclosed in these circumstances.) Arrests and convictions can keep an applicant from getting a job, or cause a current employee to be fired. Many professional licensing boards, such as for nursing, will reject applicants with certain criminal records. An arrest or conviction could cause an application to college or graduate school to be rejected. Many sports or community organizations reject volunteers with arrests or convictions. A criminal record may keep a person from adopting a child. A criminal record can also hurt the chances of joining the military. Finally, it removes the stigma of a criminal record from a good, productive citizen.

What New Jersey Convictions Can be Expunged, and When?
Most New Jersey crimes can be expunged.
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