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What Is Expungement And How Is It Different From Pardon Or Sealment?


An expungement is the equivalent of taking an eraser to your criminal record and erasing your criminal arrest and conviction so that when someone does a background check on you, they do not see a criminal record.

That can be very important when you’re looking for employment, when you are looking for an apartment, credit checks, anything where someone may run a background check on you and you don’t want them to know that you’ve been arrested or convicted before.

What Is The Difference Between Having A Pardon Or Having A Record Sealed As Compared To Having A Record Expunged?

A pardon is very different. A pardon basically means that you have been forgiven that the governor of the state has said that despite the fact that you committed a crime, the crime is going to be removed from you; you never did it.

If you’re in jail, you’re getting out of jail; if you have a criminal record, the criminal record is gone as if you never did it, that’s very difficult to have that happen and something like that, and a pardon is available for any type of offense where an expungement is more limited to the types of offenses and circumstances.

But also there are a very few pardons that are given out where expungements, if you qualify for them, you’ll be eligible for an expungement and shouldn’t have a trouble getting expunged.

How Does That Differ From Healing Of A Record Or Sealment?

In a way, it is similar to have your record sealed because what’s going on is that the court is sealing the ability of most people to see your criminal record. There are some people who will still be able to see your criminal record.

For instance, any sort of law enforcement employer, if you go to apply for a job with the police department, they will still be able to see that you have been convicted of certain offenses. If you go to court and you’re expecting that the fact that you got a matter expunged means that the court can’t see that you have a prior offense, that’s also not going to happen.

Who Is Eligible For An Actual Expungement In New Jersey?

The first level of eligibility starts with the timelines of an expungement. If you are dealing with a matter that is a disorderly persons offense, in other states, they would call it a misdemeanor, then you have to wait for 5 years before you’re eligible to expunge. If it is a superior court matter, an indictable criminal offense, what they would call a felony in other states, you have to wait a full 10 years before you can expunge the matter.

Now, there is a revision made to the law recently which would permit you to make an early application in superior court on a criminal matter but you have to show good cause and one of the recent cases Attorney James Abate had was where a client didn’t make an application; he got fired from his job because there was a background check made of the whole company.

It was a financial services company and they say, “You know what? All the people who worked here for years, they’ve never been subjected to background checks, we’re going to subject them”, he popped up on the list for a matter that happened many years ago and as a result of that, he lost his job.

The office of James Abate made an application to the superior court that even it wasn’t 10 years, he’s at 8 years. They asked for an expungement and said, “But for this background check, he would still be employed”, and we had a letter from his employer stating that if we got him an expungement, and that is, if his criminal record no longer showed the criminal conviction that they would give him his job back.

If you need information on Expungements, Pardons, And Sealment, contact the law office of Attorney James Abate for a free initial consultation at (908) 210-9755 and get the answers and information you’re seeking.

Get your questions answered – call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (908) 210-9755

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