What is the Difference Between Sealed and Expunged Records in New Jersey?

When people are convicted of a crime, they can receive a criminal record. This can follow a person for the rest of their life, impacting them in a variety of ways. When a background check is conducted on an individual, their criminal record will appear. This may be done by prospective employers, credit agencies, landlords, or government officials. While the state of New Jersey takes criminal offenses very seriously, individuals are offered the opportunity to protect their record by having it sealed or expunged under the right circumstances. Continue reading below to learn more and retain the services of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney for help with your case.

What is Expungement?

An expungement of a person’s criminal records allows an arrest or conviction to be cleared of their record. However, it does not apply to all arrests or convictions. Instead, the individual is required to meet certain criteria and some crimes are not able to be expunged. This can include murder, robbery, kidnapping, arson, sexual assault, perjury, or the possession/distribution of controlled substances. Offenders are required to wait six years after the arrest or conviction in order to petition for expungement. 

What is a Sealed Record?

Alternatively, sealing a record only gives the appearance that a person’s criminal record was cleared. A sealed record removes the individual’s record from the public and it can no longer be viewed by others even though it technically still exists. This means individuals who conduct background checks will not see the individual has a criminal record. While this is true, it is important to know that sealed records can still be accessed or re-opened through a court order. 

How Can a Person Benefit From a Sealed or Expunged Record?

When a criminal record is sealed or expunged, a person no longer has to worry about the mistakes of their past being discovered by others and impacting their future. This can allow them opportunities they may have not had otherwise such as getting a job, obtaining a loan or credit applications, renting a home, applying for a gun permit, etc. 

Contact our Firm

If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, you need strong legal defense. Contact the Law Office of Carl Spector for dedicated representation. With over 30 years of experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, he offers a unique perspective on how both sides think, and how to best approach each aspect of the case. When your future is on the line, don’t settle for less than the best possible legal representation. Contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight for you. Call today for a free confidential consultation. Let our experience work for you.