New Jersey Expungement Process
Currently, it takes approximately one year to obtain an expungement order in the state of New Jersey – although it could take more or less time, depending on your case. At Katherine O’Brien Law, we understand that time is of the essence for most of our expungement clients. For this reason, we strive to do anything we can on our end to expedite your expungement.
Generally, the following steps would occur when expunging your criminal record in New Jersey:
Step 1. Obtain Criminal Records.
The first step in the expungement procedure in New Jersey is to obtain a copy of your criminal record(s). This would include your Judgment of Conviction (if your charges were at the felony level) or your Disposition (if you charges were at the municipal level). If you have a copy of your criminal record, or if you are able to go to the courthouse and obtain the record(s) in person, we can begin drafting your expungement petition immediately. If not, we will write to the court to obtain the requisite record. Depending on the court, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to up to one month for the court to supply us with a copy of your record.
CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO OBTAIN A COPY OF YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD IN NEW JERSEY.
Step 2. Draft, Notarize, and File the Expungement Petition.
Once we have obtained the requisite records, we will immediately begin drafting your expungement petition. Once your expungement petition has been drafted, we will send you a copy of the petition for your review and signature. You will then need to sign the petition in front of a notary public and mail us back a copy of the original, notarized petition. Once we receive the petition back from you, we will then file the petition and its accompanying documents with the appropriate county courthouse.
Step 3. Serve the Filed Expungement Petition.
The third step in the New Jersey expungement process is to serve the filed expungement petition. After we receive a copy of the “filed” expungement petition back from the court, we will then serve a copy of it upon each of the applicable governmental agencies via certified mail, return receipt requested.
Step 4. Attend Appearance (if necessary).
After your expungement petition has been filed with the court, the judge assigned to handle your expungement will schedule a hearing date for your expungement. At the hearing, the judge will make a decision as to whether to grant or deny your expungement. Your original hearing date may be extended if the County Prosecutor or if the New Jersey State Police require more time to retrieve and review your file.
In most cases, you do not have to attend the hearing or make an appearance unless the County Prosecutor objects to your expungement. If the County Prosecutor objects to your expungement, they will send us a letter explaining the reason for their objection. We will then draft either a letter or a legal brief to the judge responding to the County Prosecutor’s objection. You should note that an objection does not mean that your expungement is denied. Instead, it means that we must prove to the court that your arrest(s) or conviction(s) are eligible for expungement.
Step 5. Serve Expungement Order.
The fifth step of the New Jersey expungement process is to serve the final expungement order. Assuming the judge grants your expungement, the court will then send us a signed order granting your expungement. After we receive the order, we will then serve a copy of the order on all requisite government agencies, including the courts, police departments, probation, the FBI, and any other agencies that have your record, directing them to remove it.
As of February of 2023, the NJSP Expungement Unit is taking approximately one year, give or take, to remove expunged records in accordance with expungement orders. However, please be advised that these time frames change frequently. If you would like to know the current processing rate, you would need to contact the NJSP Expungement Unit directly for further information. It is also important to remember that the NJSP is working to improve their backlog, and we have heard that they are trying to hire additional staff to improve their processing rate of expungement orders. Thus, we are hopeful that their processing rates will substantially improve in the near future.
Affordable, Experienced New Jersey Expungement Lawyers
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we understand the New Jersey expungement process. Moreover, we provide each of our expungement cases with our utmost priority for faster processing time. Additionally, we offer affordable expungements starting at just $895.00. Finally, we recognize that many of our expungement clients are either unemployed or are looking for better job opportunities due to their criminal records. Thus, we offer flexible payment plans and can start working on your expungement for as little as $350.00 down. Schedule your free consultation today!