Record Expungement Can Change Your Life: What You Need to Know
It could be something that’s been looming over your head for years. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t change things as they stand. Depending on the circumstances, record expungement can change your life. And, absolutely for the better.
Consider the case of Maria Alvarez. She was dating a guy who asked her to come along on an adventure. When the escapade turned into breaking into a house, Maria was more than a little scared. She was charged with burglary. For whatever reason, the prosecutor decided to make her an example.
Maria was not offered any kind of deal. Instead, a jury found her guilty of burglary charges. Fortunately, her sentence was suspended. That said, Maria has a criminal record as a result of a stupid mistake.
By the time Maria went to trial, she already dropped the boyfriend who got her into trouble. Since the judge imposed probation instead of imprisonment, Maria complied with his mandate. At the same time, she completed her degree at a local university.
Upon graduation, Maria interviewed for a number of jobs. When a major corporation offered Maria a position, she was thrilled and accepted. Meanwhile, the offer was contingent on passing a background check. As far as Maria was concerned, it was an old mistake and should have no impact on her future.
As you might guess, the company rescinded Maria’s offer. Was this her future? Would her past come back to haunt her? Unfortunately, there was a good chance that it would.
Expungement: Erasing the Past
Maria Alvarez is like many criminal defendants. A single bad act can be life-changing. However, New Jersey law recognizes that people make mistakes and affords second chances.
NJSA 2C:52-1 provides the definition of expungement in New Jersey. It includes the “extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person’s detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.”
To sum it up, if your records are expunged – anything that was part of the original arrest is gone from record searches. In Maria’s case, the corporation would never have found any information relating to her burglary conviction.
Notably, there are rules when it comes to applying for record expungement. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you whether or not you are eligible for the process. For example, your record can only contain one criminal conviction. That said, if you also had more than one municipal court conviction, you may still be able to apply to have your record expunged.
According to NJSA 2C:52-2, some indictable crimes cannot be expunged. These are generally higher level crimes. Also, driving while under the influence (DWI) is a motor vehicle offense. It, therefore, cannot be expunged from your record.
A record expungement represents the start of a new outlook on life. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to learn if you are eligible for this very important procedure.