UPDATE! Please note that, as of October 2022, expungements in New Jersey have been taking an unprecedented amount of time to complete with the average case taking two to two and a half years from start to finish. This is largely due to COVID-19 backlog and lack of staffing within the New Jersey State Police. We believe that this delay violates the expungement statute and, as a result, we have begun filing motions to expedite expungements on behalf of our clients. You can read more about these motions by clicking here.
If you are wondering whether there is anything you can do to ensure a fast expungement in New Jersey, the answer is yes – there are certain things that you yourself can do in order to obtain a quicker expungement.
1. Obtain Copies of Your Official Criminal Record in Person
In order to draft and file your Petition for Expungement, your lawyer will need a copy of the official court records relating to each offense on your record. If you are able to, we suggest that you obtain copies of your criminal records in person directly from the applicable courts. Although your expungement attorney will most likely obtain these records for you, your attorney will have to write to obtain copies of the relevant records. It can sometimes take a few weeks to receive your records in response to a written request. You, however, will be able to obtain the relevant court documents much quicker yourself (almost always that same day) if you can request them in person.
If your matter was heard in Municipal Court,then the record you will want to request from the Court Clerk is called the “Disposition.” If you are trying to expunge a matter that was heard in a Superior Court, on the other hand, the record you will want to request from the Criminal Records Division is called the “Judgment of Conviction.” Non-certified copies of these records are fine.
2. Disclose Your Entire Criminal Record to your Expungement Lawyer
This cannot be emphasized enough: make sure you disclose your entire criminal record to your expungement attorney. If you fail to do so, the county prosecutor reviewing your Petition for Expungement will object to your expungement on the grounds that you failed to disclose your entire criminal record. If this happens, your attorney will have to prepare an amended petition including the undisclosed offense(s) and then re-serve your expungement petition. This will not only result in a lengthy delay, but it could also result in your lawyer imposing additional charges.
Thus, is it imperative that your disclose everything to your attorney. This includes not only New Jersey convictions, but also out-of-state offenses, arrests not resulting in conviction, and minor offenses such as ordinance violations, and out-of-state DUIs if they are considered criminal in nature. You will also need to any matters that you may have previously had expunged. If you are unsure of what your criminal history consists of, read our post on How to Obtain an Accurate Copy of Your Criminal Record.
3. Accurately Review your Expungement Petition
Once your lawyer finished drafting your Expungement Petition, they will send it you for your review and signature. Pay close attention to the petition and notify your lawyer of any errors you observe. If your petition is not accurate, the county prosecutor might object to it and require that your lawyer file an amended petition, resulting in delay. After reviewing your petition, sign in before a notary public and return the original to your lawyer in a timely manner.
4. Don’t Wait – Apply for an Expungement Before it Becomes an Issue
If possible, try to apply for an expungement before your criminal record becomes an issue. The future is uncertain. While you may not need an expungement today, the future may hold a career change, a layoff, or a new opportunity. Don’t wait until it’s too late or until you running up against a time crunch to apply for an expungement. Expungements in New Jersey take time, so make sure you are ahead of the game by applying for an expungement as soon as you become eligible.
5. Hire a Good Expungement Lawyer
You can also ensure that your expungement is being processed in a quick manner by making sure that your hire a good expungement lawyer. When shopping around for an expungement lawyer, here are a few things you will want to consider:
How Experienced Are They? Although most people do not realize it, expungement in New Jersey is actually a highly complex and technical area of law. The rules regarding eligibility are quite complicated. Moreover, expungement laws change frequently. You will therefore want to ensure that your attorney has extensive expungement experience. In order to find out of a potential lawyer is experienced in this area, we suggest that you do some additional research and ask the lawyer questions. For example, does the lawyer focus on many areas of law? If so, they may know less about expungements as compared to an attorney that focuses on fewer areas of law. You can also ask the attorney how many expungements they have handled, how long they have been handling expungements, and whether they have been involved in any expungement cases involving legal significance.
How Responsive Are They? The attention an expungement lawyer gives you will probably be proportionate to the level of attention they will be giving your expungement. If a potential lawyer is too busy to return your calls or emails in a timely manner, then they are probably not going to be able to handle your expungement in an expedited manner. Thus, before retaining an attorney, we suggest that you call or email the potential lawyer a couple of times in order to gauge their responsiveness level. If the attorney is constantly in court or is meeting with other clients, 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. For more information on hiring an expungement lawyer, read our blog on How to Hire the Best Expungement Lawyer.
6. Be Responsive
Finally, to prevent any delays on your end, make sure you that are responsive to your attorney by providing them with additional information, if requested, and by returning telephone calls and emails in a timely manner.
For more information on obtaining an expedited expungement, read our blog on Expedited Expungements in New Jersey.
Affordable, Expedited Expungements in New Jersey
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we pledge to do everything we can on our end in order process your expungement in a timely and efficient manner. Moreover, we offer affordable expungement opportunities to our clients. We charge a flat rate of only $895.00 (all inclusive) to handle a basic expungement. We also offer payment plans and can start working on your expungement for as little as $350.00 down.
If you are looking for a fast expungement – don’t delay. Contact the experienced New Jersey expungement lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law today at 856-832-2482 for a free consultation or by filling out our Expungement Interview Form.