For some, there is this mistaken thought that once they have an arrest and conviction on their record, it’s there to stay. However, that’s not always the case. In some instances, you can go through the process for expungement. Recently, there is a new expungement law in New Jersey that makes it easier to take these convictions off of your record. You no longer have to be haunted by a mistake in your past that puts a damper on your future.
What Is the New Expungement Law in New Jersey?
There are several changes to the new expungement law in New Jersey that relaxes some of the prior restrictions. One of the ways that it helps is that it reduces the time that a person needs to wait. Previously, it was ten years before your conviction was eligible for this process, but now it’s only six. In addition, this could period go down to five years in some situations.
Another beneficial change is the way that it looks at restitution and costs involved with the case. Previously, you had to have paid back the courts in full for any expenses required, such as fees or repaying costs. A requirement previously was that you had a zero balance. It didn’t account for individuals that couldn’t afford to pay this money back because of lack of economic opportunity. The new law changes that issue. It’s no longer a barrier. Arrangements can be made to allow you to continue paying the courts without it showing what you’re paying the courts for to keep your privacy.
An additional change is that while one conviction is still all that can go through expungement, you can group them into one episode. So, if you were convicted of several crimes all related to one particular instance or spree, you can have these crimes lumped together to be removed. You can have four of them grouped together.
Also, in the past, a person who was in a diversion program in exchange for not going to trial or through a plea deal would not be eligible for an expungement. This law changes that fact and allows people with a diversion program to still have their conviction expunged. As long as they completed the program, they are now eligible.
When Does This Go Into Effect?
The new expungement law in New Jersey was put in place back in December 2017. However, it has just now gone into effect as of October 1st, 2018. That means that if you have something on your record that you weren’t eligible under the old law, you may be now.
How Does Expungement Help?
An arrest and conviction on your permanent record can be hard to overcome. You’ve paid your debt to society, but in many cases, it can feel as though you continue to pay over and over. A conviction can hurt your chances for improving your life afterward. Employers may overlook your application once they see your prior conviction before getting to know you and your work ethic. Getting past that issue can be hard. This new law can help to change that for you. Expungement removes this mark from your permanent record, and it will be as though it never existed. It will no longer be held against you and your future endeavors.
Who Does This Benefit?
Overall, it could be said that this process works to better all of society. However, this step forward makes it possible for people that made a mistake in their past to finally move on from it. They no longer have to made to feel as though there is a chain around their ankle holding them back. This benefit can help you move forward to once again be a productive member of society without a hoop to jump through.
Some may worry that expungement may be bad for society as a whole as some crimes should remain on a permanent record for the public good. Some crimes, such as murder, sexual assault, child pornography, and other serious crimes, are unable to go through expungement under this law or previous laws. Expungement works to help those it can while still protecting society.
What Should You Do If You Think You Fall Under This New Law?
Your first step should be to speak to a legal professional that has experience handling expungement cases. They can advise on whether or not you qualify under the new law to begin the process. Then, you can start the journey of having your conviction removed. Expungement cases do take some time from start to finish but will be well worth the effort.
Do you need advice on whether your record falls under the new expungement law in New Jersey? Contact the Law Office of Douglas Herring today to learn more about the changes in the law and discuss your case. We can go over your situation in more detail and come up with a plan to move forward if you’re eligible.