Joseph A. Lombardo
Criminal penalties such as fines and imprisonment are challenging, but the consequences of having a criminal record extend beyond these penalties. A criminal record can create additional difficulties, including challenges in getting housing, employment, loans, or admission to educational programs.
Fortunately, those with an assault charge or even an assault conviction can apply to have their record expunged. However, the process for expungement will depend on the level of your assault charges. If you were charged with simple assault, expungement can be a relatively quick matter. If you were charged with the more serious crime of aggravated assault, expungement can still be pursued, but the barriers can be more difficult to overcome without legal support.
For a free case review with our New Jersey assault defense lawyers, contact the Lombardo Law Group, LLC today at (609) 445-4300.
Is it Possible to Expunge an Assault Charge from My Record in New Jersey?
If you have been charged with assault in New Jersey, you might be wondering if it is possible to expunge the charge from your record. The short answer is yes, according to N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-1. However, the process of determining whether you are eligible for expungement can be complicated and depends on various factors.
If you were only charged and not convicted, the process is usually simpler. But if you were convicted of assault, the question becomes more complex. Fortunately, our Linwood, NJ criminal defense attorneys can review your case to determine if expungement is an option for you. Expungement rules differ depending on whether you were charged with simple assault or aggravated assault.
Under New Jersey’s expungement law, a person with up to five simple assault convictions might be eligible to have them expunged under certain conditions and exceptions. Simple assault is one form of disorderly persons offense, and petty disorderly persons offenses are covered by a separate statute.
To qualify for expungement of a simple assault conviction, the person must meet specific requirements, including having no other criminal conditions and waiting at least five years from the latest conviction, release from incarceration, payment of all related fines, and completion of probation or parole. However, if a person is financially unable to pay the fine, they might be able to seek relief from the five-year waiting period.
In short, New Jersey’s expungement law provides a path for certain individuals to clear their record of simple assault convictions, but it requires meeting specific criteria and waiting a minimum of five years.
If you were arrested for assault but not convicted, there is a chance that you can apply for an expedited expungement under N.J. Stat. § 2C:52-6. This means that if your case was dismissed or if you were acquitted and found not guilty on all counts, the court can order an immediate expungement of your records, erasing any trace of the arrest.
There are also expungement laws for indictable offenses, which are the equivalent of felonies in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-2 allows individuals to expunge their criminal record for an aggravated assault conviction. However, there are certain exceptions and conditions that need to be fulfilled before a person can apply for expungement.
It is important to note that the statute only permits the expungement of a single conviction for aggravated assault. If a person has multiple convictions for aggravated assault or an aggravated assault conviction along with other indictable offense convictions, they might only expunge them if all the convictions were under one judgment of conviction.
However, the law does allow for the expungement of a single aggravated assault record if it is combined with up to three disorderly persons offenses. However, it is important to note that aggravated assault cannot be a sexual assault. While it is possible to expunge an aggravated assault record, the process is not simple and requires careful attention to detail.
What Are the Benefits of Expunging an Assault Charge in New Jersey?
Expungement is a legal process that can be used to erase or seal an individual’s criminal record. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for a fresh start or a second chance without the stigma and burden of a criminal record. With an expunged assault charge or conviction, you can confidently state to others that you have no criminal record. This legal process can be a positive step forward in helping individuals move beyond their past mistakes and into a brighter future.
When a person’s criminal record is expunged, all records related to their arrest, detention, trial, or conviction of a crime are extracted and sealed. This means that any employer, landlord, lender, or other party searching for criminal records will not find any information related to the expunged offense. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-1, it includes all records held by any criminal justice agency, law enforcement, court, or correctional facility. Therefore, if someone has had their assault record expunged, no information related to the offense should show up in any government records search.
How is Assault Defined in New Jersey?
As mentioned, assault in New Jersey is categorized into two types: simple and aggravated assault under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1. Simple assault is considered a disorderly persons offense in most situations, while aggravated assault is an indictable offense in either the second, third, or fourth degree, depending on the severity of the circumstances. It is essential to understand the distinction between the two types of assault, as it can impact the expungement process, which is explained further below.
Simple assault is a criminal offense that involves intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing harm to another person or attempting to do so. On the other hand, aggravated assault is a more severe form of assault that usually involves intentionally or knowingly causing or attempting to cause serious bodily harm to another person. This can also include using or threatening to use a deadly weapon during the assault.
Aggravated assault charges might also be applied in cases where the victim is a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency personnel, school employee or falls under another protected category identified by law.
Can I Still Expunge My New Jersey Record if My Aggravated Assault Charge was Downgraded to Simple Assault?
In certain situations, a person charged with aggravated assault might have the charge downgraded to the less severe crime of simple assault. If you were originally charged with aggravated assault but were later charged with simple assault, you can still have your simple assault conviction expunged if at least five years have passed since completing your sentence. You could also apply for an “early pathway” expungement if at least three years have passed since you completed your sentence.
Those with a previous felony conviction on their record might still be eligible for expungement of the simple assault conviction, as long as they do not have more than one other conviction for disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses. Individuals without any felony convictions might expunge the conviction if they do not have more than two other convictions for disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses on their record.
Our New Jersey Assault Defense Lawyers Can Help
Call our Vineland, NJ assault defense attorneys at the Lombardo Law Group, LLC at (609) 445-4300 for a free case assessment.
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