Joseph A. Lombardo
When you’re burdened with a criminal record, it can seem all but impossible to get hired for a job, be approved for a loan, or even be approved to live at certain properties. Even though numerous state and federal laws have been enacted specifically to prohibit discriminatory hiring practices and housing discrimination, the hard reality is that ex-convicts often face a battery of hardships when it comes to important, everyday aspects of their personal and professional lives.
However, you may be able to seal your criminal record from the public through a special process called expungement. Attorney Joseph Lombardo can help you get there. He has more than 20 years of experience representing the residents of Vineland and New Jersey in a variety of criminal matters, and will vigorously protect your legal rights while guiding you through each and every step of the filing process.
To schedule a free and completely confidential case evaluation, call Lombardo Law at (609) 318-6196 today. Let’s start exploring your legal options.
What is Expungement in Vineland, NJ?
Getting your criminal record expunged means that it will be removed and isolated from the records of any court, law enforcement, correctional facility, or criminal or juvenile justice agency. Your criminal record consists of any record of your arrest, detention, trial or statement, and sentence. If you are granted an expungement in Vineland, the records of those events are considered not to have occurred.
The Criminal Record Expungement Process in Vineland, NJ
Once you determine your eligibility, you should either file a petition for expungement or hire an attorney to do it for you. The process can get a little technical, and historically, it has been difficult to obtain an expungement even if you are eligible. So much so in fact, that the rules on what types of records can be expunged and what criteria a Judge can use to deny an expungement have both been recently updated to describe these factors in great detail.
There is even now a New Jersey expungement website. So if you can find an attorney that can handle the process for you, you are far more likely to be successful in getting your criminal record expunged. Your attorney will file a petition for expungement in the Superior Court where the arrest or prosecution took place. A Judge in that jurisdiction then decides on whether the request meets the criteria and will either approve or deny the expungement.
Because the process is somewhat subjective to the Judge’s discretion on whether an expungement in the public interest and should be granted or not, it really is best to consult an attorney who is experienced in obtaining criminal record expungements (even if you plan on filing the expungement yourself). If you cannot afford an attorney, you can contact a legal services program to see if you qualify for free legal representation in the matter.
Which Crimes Do Not Qualify for Expungement in New Jersey?
It is important for interested applicants to understand that some convictions are simply ineligible to be expunged under New Jersey law. None of the following offenses can be expunged, regardless of other factors such as how many years have passed since the person was convicted:
- Production or Possession of Chemical Weapons
- Promoting the Prostitution of a Child
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
- Criminal Sexual Contact with a Minor
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Child Pornography Offenses
- Perjury (False Swearing)
- Luring or Enticing
- Human Trafficking
- Criminal Restraint
- Criminal Homicide
Provided your offense does not appear on the above list, you may be eligible to expunge your record. However, you also need to meet additional criteria.
If the conviction was for a disorderly persons or DP offense, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in most other jurisdictions, you must be able to satisfy the following criteria:
- The date of your conviction, final restitution payment, completion of probation, or release from incarceration — whichever was most recent — must have been at least five years ago.
- There must be no pending charges against you, which means no new arrests or currently ongoing criminal cases.
- There must be no more than three petty offenses or DP offenses on your record.
- There must be no convictions for indictable crimes on your record.
Some common examples of DP offenses include simple assault and disorderly conduct.
If the conviction was for an indictable crime, which is the equivalent of a felony, similar eligibility requirements apply. The critical difference is that a minimum of 10 years, rather than five, must have passed from the date of your conviction, the completion of your sentence, the completion of your probation, or the date you finished paying your restitution. Once again, the indictable crime must not be included on the above list of ineligible convictions.
Expungement lawyer Joseph Lombardo will help you determine whether you qualify, and if so, how to get started sealing your record.
Will My Record Appear When Employers Run Background Checks?
The answer to this question can be either yes or no depending on who the employers are. Fortunately, you can rest assured that the vast majority of employers will not be able to see an expunged criminal record. In most cases, a prospective employer who is running a background check will see a result of “No Record Information” when he or she tries to search your name. This holds true of employers in retail, health and beauty, the restaurant industry, the financial industry, and many other professional fields.
The exceptions to this general rule are law enforcement agencies, court systems, and corrections departments and corrections facilities (i.e. jails and prisons). If you were applying to work as a police officer or corrections officer, for example, your record would still appear. This is because expunged records are restricted from the general public rather than being destroyed completely. If you are charged with another crime in the future, the courts will have access to your record of prior offenses.
Can You Represent Yourself for a Criminal Expungement in Vineland, NJ?
If you choose to handle the process yourself, it can be an uphill battle. The New Jersey State expungement website itself states that:
“While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, help, or attention from the court. You must still comply with the rules of the court, even if you are not familiar with them. The following is a list of some things the court staff can and cannot do for you. Please read it carefully before asking the court staff for help.”
Vineland Expungement Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you wish to have your criminal record sealed, contact the Law Offices of Joseph Lombardo. In matters regarding expungements, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced attorney, as one mistake in the process can cost you your opportunity to have your record sealed. Joseph Lombardo has been representing individuals seeking an expungement since 1993 in Vineland, NJ, as well as every other county and township in Southern New Jersey. Mr. Lombardo, a former Municipal Court Prosecutor, will personally explain to you how the process and court work and answer any questions you may have. We can help walk you through the requirements, deadlines, and if necessary, paperwork, and if necessary, a hearing.
You shouldn’t keep being punished for mistakes of the past: you deserve to be treated with respect and equality. Expunging your record can help. To start discussing your legal situation in a free and completely private consultation, call attorney Joseph Lombardo of Lombardo Law right away at (609) 318-6196. Our phone lines are open around the clock.
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