The Expungement Process

Author: Wolfe Ossa lawCategories: Expungements

Expungement Process

Whether pursuing an expungement pro se or with an attorney, there is a series of steps and procedures to keep in mind.  Although expungements have become easier to get with recent laws, the process remains lengthy and requires attention to detail.

The first step in any expungement is to obtain your criminal record.  A proper criminal record must contain the dates of all arrests, the specific statues and offenses for all arrests, all indictments, accusations, and docket, warrant, and complain numbers, and the specific dispositions and dates of each disposition.  This information may be hard to come up with on your own as you will need to contact the Superior Court Criminal Case Management Office in each county where you were arrested.  If you were represented by an attorney, you should see if they have this information readily available.  Otherwise, you will need to obtain your criminal record from the New Jersey State Police.  This requires being fingerprinted by a private company, Sagem Morpho, Inc.

Once the criminal record is obtained the process of filing a petition for expungement can begin.  The petition lists each offense that the petitioner wishes to expunge from their record.  Once signed by the petitioner and attorney and notarized, the petition, order for hearing, and expungement order are mailed to the Criminal Case Management Office of the counties where the arrests occurred.

If there are no deficiencies with the petition, the county files the petition and assigns a hearing date for the expungement.   As soon as the filed copy of the petition is received, copies must be mailed via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the Attorney General of New Jersey, the Superintendent of State Police, Expungement Unit, the county prosecutor of the counties in which the arrests and/or prosecution happened, and any other office which may have been involved in your case.  When the signed certified mail green cards are returned from each office served, they need to be mailed to the Criminal Case Management Office.

In many cases the judge will grant an expungement without a hearing.  Otherwise, it can usually be expected that the court will order an expungement unless law enforcement officers object.  Once the expungement order is granted, copies of the order must be mailed via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the offices to which the filed petition was previously mailed.

As can be seen, there are a lot of things to keep track of when filing for an expungement.  It’s beneficial to have an attorney handle your expungement.  Many state offices in fact recommend hiring an attorney rather than going pro se.

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