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.