The coronavirus created employment pandemic: why an expungement is necessary

In December, 2019, Governor Murphy signed into law amendments to the expungement statute, paving the way for a flood of applications for anyone that has ever had a marijuana conviction. Police in New Jersey have arrested nearly 1 million people on marijuana charges since 1990, giving it one of the highest arrest rates in the nation. For a simple charge of possession of marijuana, an expungement is the best way to clear ones record, at least until it is legalized in this state. But expungements are not just for marijuana charges, they cover shoplifting, theft, assault, harassment, and dozens of other crimes.

Expungement applications in New Jersey are tedious and entirely too complicated. The State of New Jersey receives about 10,000 expungement applications per year. Though there is a detailed guide as to how the expungement process works, courtesy of the very informative New Jersey Courts online website, non-lawyers often find the process confusing and frustrating.

The expungement process requires that submission of a criminal case history, otherwise known as a CCH or “rap sheet” which is obtained from the New Jersey State Police. In order to obtain that, an applicant must get fingerprinted, file the application with the $50 fee, and then wait. If the history is not accurate, there are complicated and time-consuming obstacles in removing convictions contained in the CCH.
If the CCH is accurate, there are plenty of other opportunities for the expungement application to be derailed. The next step in the process requires the filing of a petition that must comply with all of the applicable rules and forms, and most importantly, the process requires that the application must be simultaneous sent to local law enforcement, county officials, state officials, and federal offices. Everything must be sent via certified mail, and proof of services must be provided after the fact to the county where the petition is filed. If the proper parties are not notified, the expungement will be denied.

If the forms are approved, another date is set, and another round of certified mailings must be sent notifying all of the same parties. If there is no objection, and if the petition is granted, a third set of certified mailings is required to be sent with the order of expungement.

With the newly signed law, the expungement process will now be automated and the application fee eliminated, but the onerous notifications are still required. Applications can be made in shorter periods of times, and where the waiting process was previously 5 years, it has been reduced to 2 years based upon the charges.

One thing is clear, to make sure that the process is done correctly the first time around, it is important to retain an attorney that has experience with expungements. This is an important application that should be done by an attorney you trust. With the coronavirus pandemic gripping the United States and New Jersey, and the pending economic crisis that will result in the loss of employment across all sectors, you need to be prepared in the event you need to start searching for a job. If you have a criminal history, you may have a more difficult time finding new employment.

Let the attorneys of Price, Meese, Shulman & D’Arminio, PC, start you on the path to a new or better job by expunging your criminal history.
By Michael Orozco

Michael Orozco is an attorney at Price, Meese, Shulman and D’Arminio, PC, who has extensive experience handling expungement applications. Mr. Orozco focuses his practice on criminal defense, personal injury, and general corporate representation and litigation. To contact Mr. Orozco email him at or call him at (201) 391 3737.