Do I Need an Attorney to File for an Expungement in New Jersey?
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident law decisions. Finding trusted and reliable legal advice should be easy. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
An expungement enables a person to avoid the unfortunate consequences of their past mistakes. A clean criminal record is a very important asset. Criminal records can determine whether an applicant gets a particular job or whether an employee who already has a particular job can keep that job or advance to a better one. Almost all professional certifications also require a background check prior to being issued: in this case, expungement can take the form of the Rehabilitated Convicted Offender's Act (RCOA).
In an increasingly security-conscious society, criminal record checks are required of nurses, sports coaches, daycare workers, people seeking to be foster or adoptive parents, firearms permits, persons applying for school positions etc. A criminal record can also be a factor when applying for an apartment rental or federal student loans. Even insurance rates are affected.
Additionally, contrary to what most people think, records are not cleared automatically with the passing of time. If you have a criminal record, it will show that you were arrested and charged with a crime, even if your case was dismissed, or you were found not guilty. Given New Jersey's geographic location with New York, it's not uncommon for offenses to be complicated by multi-jurisdiction police: lawyers are often uniquely qualified to know the laws in New Jersey's neighboring states.
As such, successful expungement of your records becomes very important. You want to make sure you do it right.
There is no legal requirement that an attorney handle your expungement of your record. This is something that you are permitted to do yourself ("pro se"). However, getting an expungement can be a confusing and lengthy process: though the filing fee for a New Jersey expungement is low, at only $52.50. There are technical requirements that must be met in order for you to be successful. If you miss any of the required steps, your Petition for Expungement may be denied. The process may also be complicated if any law enforcement personnel oppose your petition. In the case your Petition is denied, you will have to face starting over, costing you weeks or months of precious time. With so much at stake, why not put your future in the hands of an expert?
For more information on New Jersey expungements, click into the following articles: