Interviewer: What if something was overturned on appeal for whatever reason? Would that be completely taken out of someone’s record?
Lauren Scardella: The arrest would remain on their criminal record.
Interviewer: Let’s say if a DWI was overturned for whatever reason, then the same would go with that?
Lauren Scardella: No. Because a DWI is not a criminal offense in New Jersey, there is never an arrest record. If it gets overturned, all record of the conviction is removed from the driving history. For example, we had a DWI case not that long ago that in which we lost a motion to suppress in the Municipal Court. Other than the issue on the suppression that we lost, we didn’t have a very good case, so he decided to plead guilty. It was a fourth offense and he wanted to appeal so after he pled guilty we filed the appeal of the denial of the motion to suppress, and we won. From the time that he was convicted in the Municipal Court until the time that we won the appeal in Superior Court, which was approximately three or four months, the DWI was on his record. As soon the order granting the appeal was entered and the record keeping caught up in the Motor Vehicle Commission, it was erased as if it never existed.
A Charge from another State Cannot Be Expunged in New Jersey
Interviewer: What about a charge from another state? If I have something from the other state, would I have to go to back to that original state to get it expunged or can I get it expunged in New Jersey?
Lauren Scardella: No. You’ll have to get it expunged from the other state. The statute references having not been convicted in any other state. They’re talking about if you have not ever been convicted in another state. They’re looking for the absence of convictions essentially. If you have been convicted, then that’s going to be an issue. It may mean that the person is not going to be eligible for an expungement. For instance, they were convicted of one of the crimes that are not subject to expungement but in another state, that’s something where the prosecutor’s office would likely lodge an objection.
People Residing in another State that are Convicted of Crimes in New Jersey Can Have those Charges Expunged
Interviewer: Do you ever get calls from people from maybe New York who say “Hey, I’m from New York but I had this conviction in Jersey like in 1993. Can you help me expunge it?”
Lauren Scardella: We do that all the time. You don’t have to physically be here to get an expungement. Again, all we really need the client for is for the initial information and for returning a signed and notarized affidavit which lists the details of the offenses, which we prepare and send to them. Other than that, their involvement is pretty minimal. There is no bar on getting an expungement for an old New Jersey conviction just because you don’t reside in the state anymore.
An Expungement Takes Effect in Between Two and Four Weeks
Interviewer: How long does it take for an expungement to take effect?
Lauren Scardella: What happens is we get the order from the court and we have to serve the order on certain agencies. Then, in approximately two to four weeks, the State Police will write us a letter saying that they have done their check of the records and everything is clear and the expungement is complete. The letter also states that the information has been sent to the FBI so that they can conform their records as well, but the FBI does not send a confirmation letter after it’s been done.