The Benefits of Record Expungement
One wild and crazy night on the town, an act of juvenile foolishness or a friend’s drunk I’ll-do-it-if-you-do-it dare: any of those things can result in a criminal record that follows you and affects all aspects of your life. Pursuing an expungement, which removes the record from the court history, is a legal process worth both time and money for four reasons:
Ease of employment: Given the choice, a prospective employer will choose someone with a clean criminal history, even if your record has only one minor incident. A clear criminal history shows a prospect stayed out of trouble and maintains lawful behavior at all times.
Social media scrutiny: In many states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, criminal histories are public record. Anyone with access to Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System (UJS) can see full online records ranging from traffic to felony, including full dates of birth, while New Jersey’s PROMIS/Gavel system shows cases with a year of birth where a conviction and sentencing occur. Such ease of search means anyone can find and post your information. An expungement means this information does not come back to haunt you on social media.
Relationship reality: It’s not just prospective employers doing background searches. Possible life partners are doing them, too. An expungement increases your chances of meeting someone who loves you for who you are now, rather than rejecting you for what you did in the past.
Price paid, time done: A criminal act is costly in many ways: time served in jail, house arrest or probation, money paid in fees, fines and costs, damage to your reputation and relationships with friends and family. The damage need not be forever; an expungement limits the losses and provides a foundation to change life’s course.
Can all records be expunged?
In Pennsylvania, summary records expungement starts at just 18 months if no conviction occurred. If a conviction exists, at least five years must pass without rearrest to apply for expungement. Completing an ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program also enables a defendant to apply for expungement.
In New Jersey, record expungement is possible for most indictable offenses in as little as five years, provided the court’s sentence (fines, costs, jail time, probation/parole and community service) is complete and there are no new arrests on record.
Find out how criminal record expungement can help you. Contact our office to speak with an attorney.