If you have incurred a criminal arrests or convictions in New Jersey, it is a good idea to obtain an official copy of your criminal record. If you plan to apply for employment, lease an apartment, volunteer, or engage in certain public activities, your criminal record may become an issue. Therefore, you should obtain a copy of your complete and accurate criminal record, so that you may demonstrate the nature and extent of your record, as well as for your own personal knowledge and reference.
Once you have received your criminal record from the New Jersey State Police, you should review it very carefully. It is entirely possible that it may contain mistakes or inaccuracies. For instance, your name, birth date, or social security number may be incorrectly stated. There may be arrests of someone other than yourself, or convictions for crimes you for which you did not plead guilty. Whatever the issue may be, you must realize that the burden to correct your official criminal record is on you.
For any case in which you believe the listed information is inaccurate or mistaken, you must first go to the court where the case was heard and the disposition or sentence was imposed. For a matter heard in a New Jersey Superior Court, you must request a document called a Judgment of Conviction, which contains all the information about your guilty plea and sentence. For matters heard in municipal court, you should ask for a copy of the “disposition.” No matter what court you are seeking information from, you should make sure that the paperwork you obtain is “certified,” meaning it will have a raised seal to indicate it came directly from the court.
After you obtain the Judgment of Conviction or municipal court disposition, review that as well to be sure it also does not contain any mistakes. If you believe the information in these documents is wrong, you may need to speak with a lawyer to discuss amending them.
If the information appears correct, you should send it to the following address:
Criminal Information Unit
New Jersey State Police
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, New Jersey 08628
Phone: 609-882-2000, ext. 2918
Be sure to include a letter detailing exactly what mistakes you believe are contained in the record, and how it compares to the information on the court’s own documents. It may be helpful to include a copy of the Judgment of Conviction or disposition with your submission for their reference. You can also call the unit, where an agent will work with you on a case-by-case basis. If the issue is not resolved, you may need to contact an attorney.
You may be able to avoid the pitfalls of having a criminal record through a process called expungement. Contact Katherine O’Brien Law to see if you are eligible under the recently updated New Jersey expungement statutes to remove the arrest and conviction information that may be denying you employment opportunities, desired housing, or the chance to participate with your children in activities. Katherine O’Brien is an experienced expungement lawyer who will give you an accurate and realistic analysis of your expungement potential.