If you are applying for an expungement, a professional license, graduate school, a job, or for any other type of application, you may need to obtain a complete copy of your NJ arrest records. There are several ways to go about obtaining a copy of your NJ arrest records, each of which is discussed in further detail below.
Deciding which method is best will depend on your specific circumstances. For example, some individuals are unsure of exactly what their NJ arrest records consist of. Perhaps they have been arrested on multiple occasions, or their arrest occurred years ago and they are simply unable to recall what townships or courts were involved. For those who are unsure of what is on their NJ arrest records, it is recommended that they get their fingerprints taken and undergo an FBI background check.
For those individuals are are able to recall each of their arrests, however, a complete FBI background check would be unnecessary. Instead, these individuals can simply look up their case details online or directly contact the applicable court to request copies of their court records.
Each of the various methods for obtaining your NJ arrest records, together with their advantages and disadvantages, are discussed in further detail below.
Recommended Methods for Those Who Are Unsure of Exactly What Their NJ Arrest Records Consist Of
If you are unsure of what your NJ arrest records consists of, it is recommended that you get fingerprinted and have an FBI background check ran. One caveat: although there are many private background check companies available on the web, these services can often render inaccurate or incomplete results. Thus, these companies should not be relied on. The only accurate way to obtain a comprehensive copy of your arrest record is to obtain that information from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”).
There are three ways to obtain your criminal history through the FBI:
1. Through the FBI
To get your NJ arrest records directly from the FBI, you will have to fill out an online application and submit a completed fingerprint card. Detailed instructions are available on the FBI’s website. This method will require you to get fingerprinted and then send your original fingerprints to the FBI along with a fee.
As of July 2017, the FBI’s website states that the current processing time for results is 10-12 weeks. Thus, this unfortunately is the slowest method for obtaining your NJ arrest records. One advantage of using this method, however, is that your results will include nationwide arrest information. Thus, if you were ever arrested outside of New Jersey, your FBI report would contain that information.
2. Through the New Jersey State Police
If you reside in New Jersey you can obtain a copy of your NJ arrest records through the New Jersey State Police (“NJSP”). To do so, you have have to complete an application online (Form A) and set up an appointment online to get your fingerprints taken by a company called Morpho Trust. They have several fingerprint locations throughout the State of New Jersey. One advantage of using this method is that you will usually receive your results in 1 to 2 weeks. A major disadvantage, however, is that the results will be limited to arrests that took place within the State of New Jersey. Thus, if you were ever arrested outside of New Jersey, this method is not recommended.
3. Through Katherine O’Brien Law
Finally, we can help you obtain your FBI arrest records. Since we work with an approved FBI Channeler (a background check company that obtains certified FBI arrest records in an expedited manner), we are able to obtain your nationwide FBI arrest record results in only 7 days, as opposed to 10-12 weeks. If you are interested in having us obtain your arrest record for your, just let us know and we will send you detailed instructions.
In essence, you will need to have your fingerprints taken at your local police station and then mail us your fingerprint cards along with a completed application. Our fee to perform this service for you is $150.00.
Recommended Methods for Those Who Already Know What Is On Their NJ Arrest Records
1. Look Up Your NJ Arrest Records Online
The New Jersey Judiciary’s website has an online criminal conviction database. Once you login to this system you can search the criminal court records using your first and last name. Using this system, you will be able to see information such as case numbers, the arrest date, the original charges, the date the matter was heard in court, the final outcome of the case, and sentencing information.
It is important to note, however, that this system has significant limitations. The online database only contains records of defendants who were convicted of an indictable (felony) offense in a New Jersey Superior Court. If your case was dismissed, is still pending, or was held in another court in New Jersey, such as a New Jersey Municipal Court, it will not appear in this database.
2. From Your Lawyer
If you were represented by a lawyer on the underlying criminal offense, you can try requesting the record directly from your lawyer. Most lawyers will keep client files for at least 7 years – some for even longer. Thus, if your case is relatively new, you can simply try requesting the arrest and disposition records directly from the attorney that represented you on those charges.
3. From the Courts
Finally, you can also request the arrest and disposition records directly from the New Jersey court where the matter was heard. The disposition is the official court document that indicates the final outcome of your case, as well as other information such as the arrest date, the original charges, the date the matter was heard in court, your sentence, etc.
If you are dealing with a New Jersey Municipal Court, they will refer to this document directly as the “disposition.” If your matter was heard in a New Jersey Superior Court, however, they will refer to this document as the “Judgment of Conviction” or “JOC.”
If you are able to appear in court in person to request a copy of the court, most courts in New Jersey will provide you with a copy that same day, so long as you are able to show proper identification.
If you no longer reside in New Jersey or are unable to appear in person, however, you will have to fill out a written record request. You should be aware that the procedures for submitting written record requests in New Jersey will vary by court. Thus, always contact the Criminal Records Department of the court you are requesting the record from beforehand to determine the procedure. Most courts will require you to fill out a New Jersey Record Request Form and either fax or mail it to them. You should also be aware that, while some courts will respond to your record request in a matter of days, some courts in New Jersey can take up to 4 weeks to process your request. If you have been arrested multiple times in different courts, you will need to send a separate request to each court.
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If you have any questions about obtaining your NJ arrest records, please contact us today.
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