I always advise to all my clients not to rely on the legal advice of the court personnel for the court clerks, although very knowledgeable and efficient people are not licensed attorneys and may not issue a legal advice.
I suggest you obtain your criminal history record, known in vernacular as a "rap sheet" from the local police department Records Division (the procedures do vary, so make a call before arriving). Once you obtain your criminal history excerpt, present it to a local criminal defense attorney for a review of your eligibility to either Petition to expunge or seal your criminal record if statutorily possible.
That is the best plan I know.
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Yes - that is accurate. An expungement of certain criminal records can be done. Note, though an expungement does not mean the records are "sealed", and the "expunged" records can still been seen and/or be required to be disclosed by you for certain security reasons, or professional occupations. So, if you are seeking to "mask" your prior criminal history, then an expungement and hiring an attorney is the proper course of action. To seal records, the offenses must have either occurred while you were a juvenile, or you need to have been found factually innocent. I hope this sheds some more light on the issue for you. I truly wish you the best of luck! As an aside, if you found my direction helpful, and if you feel appropriate; could you be so kind as to designate my answer as the “best” answer to your question?
The process is somewhat tedious but can be done on your own. You can go to www.njcourtsonline.com and look under forms for the documents needed. If you still wish to hire an attorney for the process you can contact an attorney through this forum.
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You should consult with an attorney to first verify if you are in fact eligible for an expungement rather than rely on the word of a non-lawyer. Schedule a consultation with an attorney for further guidance on how to proceed.
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It is not that tedious but an attorney makes since because there are numerous rules and numerous data banks that you want expunged. If you miss one you defeat the purpose of the expungement. A verified petition is filed pursuant to 2C: 52-1 et seq asking for expungement of all records from the various entities and data banks etc. The subsequent Order is then served on all parties and a hearing scheduled at least 6 weeks out. The final order also must be served on all parties. Piece of cake.
I routinely do expungements as part of my practice. Please contact my office if you would like to discuss your expungement. Thank you.
Sincerely yours, -Ronald Aronds, Esq.