New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed off on a bill that will shorten the waiting periods for people looking to get their criminal convictions and arrests expunged in New Jersey.
Christie did not offer comment or any kind of official statement when he signed bill into law without providing comment or an official statement. The law, which takes effect just 90 days from now, will make is easier for people convicted of crimes in NJ to clear their records and move on with their lives.
Waiting Times for Expunging a Criminal Conviction in NJ
Many people have had their lives destroyed by a criminal conviction. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to let a criminal conviction destroy your life. NJ law provides people with a way to potentially get their conviction or arrest expunged by applying to the superior court in the county of the conviction. The court can then consider whether to expunge the person’s conviction and/or arrest. The end result will be that the conviction will disappear from public view, so that the person’s past criminal record will essentially cease to exist.
Prior to passage of the new law, anyone seeking expungement of a felony-level offense needs to wait at least 10 years before applying for an expungement. The new law has reduced that waiting period from 10 years to five years.
If a person is looking to apply for expungement of a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense, the new law will also make it easier. Under current New Jersey law, an individual must wait five years before seeking an expungement order for a misdemeanor-level offense such as simple possession of marijuana or shoplifting. The new law, once it takes effect, will shorten the waiting period from five years to just three years.
Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, a co-sponsor of the expungement legislation, noted the importance of shortening the waiting periods because a criminal record can deprive a person of important rights, including “housing, employment and even loans for school.”
For more information about changes to NJ expungement waiting periods, read the New Jersey Law Journal article, “Christie OKs Measure Easing Expungement.”