How to Find the Best NJ Expungement Lawyer

If you are searching for best NJ expungement lawyer, you might be wondering what exactly it is you should be looking for.  Expungement attorneys are trained in expungement law and know that getting your record expunged is important and can have a lifelong effect on you.  Expungement can be beneficial for both your professional and personal life, and a lawyer with experience in expungement cases can help you navigate the criteria and process for applying.  A NJ expungement lawyer can also handle objections from the county prosecutor and appear in court on your behalf to answer questions from the judge.

Retaining the right NJ expungement lawyer can be the difference between success and failure.  It can also make a major difference with respect to the time frame it takes the lawyer to get the job done on your behalf.  Thus, in order to make sure that your expungement is done properly and in a timely manner, it is vital that you retain a good NJ expungement lawyer.

Best NJ Expungement Lawyer Interview Prospective Lawyers

After obtaining the names of several good prospects, the next step is to talk to each NJ expungement lawyer personally. Most expungement lawyers offer free telephone consultations so that you can make an informed decision.  This consultation is your opportunity to interview the prospective lawyer.  When it comes to finding the best NJ expungement lawyer, most people are interested in an attorney who is: 1) experienced; 2) responsive; 3) affordable; and 4) personable.

1.  Experience

While it may seem like expungement is a relatively simple area of law, this is not the case.  Expungement law in New Jersey is actually a highly technical and complex area of law.  Moreover, because expungement laws change frequently you will want to ensure that your expungement lawyer’s knowledge base is up to date.

To figure out whether a NJ expungement lawyer is the right fit for you in terms of experience, you can ask the attorney questions such as:

  • How long have you been practicing expungements?
  • How many expungements per year do you complete?
  • Who drafts your expungement petitions, an attorney or staff member?
  • Have you ever been involved in an expungement case of legal significance?

You can also test a particular lawyer’s knowledge of expungement law.  For example, an experienced NJ expungement lawyer should be able to answer the following questions with ease:

Q.  If someone has a felony conviction, how many disorderly persons offenses (or misdemeanors) would be eligible for expungement?

A.  Two.

Q.  How many disorderly persons offenses (or misdemeanors) would one be eligible to expunge if they did not have a felony conviction?

A.  Three.

Q.  What about ordinance violations, if someone has a felony conviction, how many ordinance violations would be eligible for expungement?

A.  Zero.

Q.  And if they did not have a felony conviction, how many ordinance violations would be eligible for expungement?

A.  Unlimited.

2.  Responsiveness

You should also ask prospective lawyers how you will be able to contact them and how long it typically takes them to return client communications.  You should not assume that just because a lawyer seems friendly during the initial consultation that you can overlook this step.

This is especially true if time is of the essence with respect to your expungement.  The attention an expungement lawyer gives to you will probably be similar to the level of attention they would be giving your expungement.  If a lawyer is too busy to return your calls or emails, your expungement might not be handled in an expedited manner either.

Unfortunately, the complaint logs of lawyer regulatory organizations indicate that many attorneys are terrible at communicating with clients. If every time you have a question about the status of your expungement there is a delay of several days before you hear back from the attorney, you will quickly become frustrated.

Thus, before hiring a NJ expungement lawyer, you might want to consider calling or emailing that lawyer a couple of times in order to see how long they take to get back to you.  If a particular attorney seems to be very busy and does not take the time to make you a priority, it is probably a good indicator that they might not be a good fit for you.

3.  Affordability

For most people, their ability to afford a particular lawyer’s services plays a key role.  In this regard, you will want to make sure you understand how the lawyer charges for their services.  Most NJ expungement lawyers will handle your matter on a flat-fee basis.  An attorney charging a flat fee will charge one fee for handling your expungement, regardless of how many hours the matter takes.  Sometimes this fee must be paid in full upfront, depending on the lawyer.

If a NJ expungement lawyer quotes you a flat fee, however, you will want to inquire as to whether that fee is all inclusive or whether you can expect any additional fees or expenses.  Some expungement lawyers will charge a lower rate flat fee, but then bill you separately for court filing fees, mailing expenses, etc.  These costs can quickly add up so be sure to find out during your initial consultation exactly how the particular attorney will be billing you.

4.  Location 

If you are trying to expunge a New Jersey offense why would you hire a law firm located outside of New Jersey to represent you?  Recently, the expungement lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law have noticed that some larger, “national” law firms located outside of New Jersey have been targeting New Jersey expungement clients.  There are several reasons why you should avoid these firms.  Besides supporting your local economy by hiring a local New Jersey law firm to process your expungement, these outside law firms do not offer the best and most qualified representation as they are not from New Jersey.  Don’t make the mistake of hiring a law firm in California to represent you on your New Jersey expungement.

5.  Personality 

Finally, in order to ensure that you have found the best NJ expungement lawyer, you should pay attention to the personal chemistry between you and the prospective lawyers. Regardless of how experienced and well-recommended an attorney is, if you do not feel comfortable with that person during your initial consultation, you may never achieve an ideal lawyer-client relationship. Trust your instincts and seek a lawyer whose personality is compatible with your own.

Further Resources

For additional recommendations on choosing and working with a lawyer, see the Nolo’s guide on How to Find an Excellent Lawyer.

Affordable, Experienced NJ Expungement Lawyer

If you have questions on how to find the best NJ expungement lawyer for your case, contact Katherine O’Brien Law today for a free consultation.  Katherine O’Brien is an experienced NJ expungement lawyer who will handle your expungement in a prompt and timely manner.  We also provide affordable expungements.  Our flat-rate, all-inclusive fee to handle a basic expungement is only $695.00.  In addition, we offer flexible payment plans and can start working on your expungement today for only $300.00 down.  Call us at 856-832-2482 or fill out our Expungement Interview Form to schedule your consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katherine O'Brien

Katherine O'Brien

New Jersey expungement lawyer Katherine North O’Brien has been practicing expungement law for her entire career and has handled hundreds of complex criminal record expungements. She has also assisted in the drafting of briefs on expungement issues before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Katherine is passionate about helping people clean their criminal records and, therefore, started Katherine O’Brien Law to offer those with criminal convictions a fresh start.