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Expungement is getting easier.
By: Lydia Rich on Nov 2 2015
Being charged with a criminal offense can be detrimental to your career, housing, and even getting loans. It is possible to remove these offenses from your record if you go through an expungement. There are certain requirements for different criminal offenses to be expunged, but recently with the passing of new bills, those requirements have been changed to make it easier and faster to get your record expunged.
Identity theft has become more and more common lately, and unfortunately criminal charges can be placed upon you for things you did not do. A recent bill has been passed declaring the victim factually innocent, and the normal expungement wait time and fees are not an obligation of the victim. Also this bill requires the Motor Vehicle Commission to update all records and delete any information pertaining to the identity theft that could have an impact on your record.
There also have been updates to requirements for criminal convictions and disorderly persons offenses. With criminal convictions the statutory waiting period has been reduced from 10 years to five years from the date of last conviction; with disorderly persons, and petty disorderly persons offenses it has been reduced from five years to three years.
These new changes have made it much easier for people who have made mistakes and want to get back to a normal life and leave the past behind. Simon Law Group specializes in expungements for low flat fees and could help making the process of getting back on the right track much easier.
NJ Senate Moves on Bills Aimed at Easing Expungement
Michael Booth, New Jersey Law Journal
The New Jersey Senate on Sept. 24 passed two bills designed to ease the path toward expungement of some criminal records.
The Senate gave final legislative passage to one bill, A1662, in a 38-0 vote. That bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Gordon Johnson and Joseph Lagana, both of whom are Bergen County Democrats, is designed specifically for people who are the victims of identity theft.
Under the bill, a person who has been the victim of identity theft, and who later is charged with committing a crime that is perpetrated by the person responsible for the identity theft, can have a judge seal all records of the criminal complaint.
The bill also allows a prosecutor to petition a judge to declare that the identity theft victim is factually innocent of the crime. That person, in order to have his or her record expunged, would not have to wait for the statutory deadline for expungement to pass, and would not have to pay the expungement application fee.
Additionally, the bill would require the state Motor Vehicle Commission to immediately update its records to delete any information that could have an adverse effect on the driving record of any motorist who has been the victim of identity theft.
The second bill, A206, is actually an amalgam of six bills.
If passed by the Assembly again after amendments by the Senate, it would reduce the statutory waiting period for an expungement of a criminal conviction from 10 years to five years from the date of the person's last conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later.
In the case of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, the waiting period would be reduced from five years to three years. Those persons with a criminal conviction or a conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense would have to apply for an expungement to the Superior Court in the county where the conviction was adjudged.
"Expungement offers an incentive against recidivism. It gives people who currently have little chance of finding legal employment the opportunity to leave past mistakes behind them, find a job and be productive," said one of the sponsors, Assemblyman Jerry Green, D-Union, in a statement. "[T]he system is working against those individuals who have served their time and want to change and do better."
"A criminal record can affect a person's ability to secure housing, employment and even loans for school," said another sponsor, Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, D-Essex. "How is a person supposed to successfully reintegrate back into society when almost every road to self-dependence is blocked by a criminal record?"
The bill would allow expungement of the records of a criminal conviction to certain people who have completed a sentence to a term of special probation in Drug Court.
A judge would be permitted to order the expungement of all records and information relating to all prior criminal arrests, detention, convictions and proceedings for any offense enumerated in the state's criminal code. A person would not be eligible for expungement if his or her records include a conviction for any offense barred from expungement under current law, which includes most violent crimes.
The bill has to return to the Assembly for final passage because of amendments.
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