Interviewer: Aside from attorney fees, what are the costs of an expungement?
Lauren Scardella: As a general rule, the costs are approximately $250 above and beyond our fee for preparing and filing the paperwork. Those costs include the filing fees, the costs of any certified dispositions that have to be ordered from courts, and the costs of the multiple certified mailings that have to be done.
An Individual May Avail Free Consultation with an Attorney to Determine Whether His / Her Charges are Eligible for Expungement
Interviewer: If someone doesn’t know if they have a charge that can be expunged or not, can they at least give you a call for a consultation just to get an idea if they can pursue it?
Lauren Scardella: Absolutely. I have no problem taking out my statute book to check to see if a person’s conviction is for something that can be expunged. There is also the issue of whether the person is eligible for an expungement based upon the amount of time that has passed since the conviction or dismissal of PTI or conditional discharge. For a disorderly persons offense, a person has to wait five years before they can get an expungement, and ten years for an indictable offense. If it was a PTI or conditional discharge dismissal, then the waiting period is six months. If it was an ordinance violation, the waiting period is two years, and if a charge was outright dismissed there is no waiting period at all. For disorderly persons offenses and indictable crimes, there is an “early pathways” process by which you can have your disorderly persons offenses expunged after three years or your indictable offense expunged after five years with a finding that it would be in the public interest to do so.
If a Case is Dismissed Outright the Defendant Becomes Eligible for an Immediate Expungement
Interviewer: Even if the case was dismissed completely, would the expungement process still take the same amount of time?
Lauren Scardella: If something is outright dismissed, then the person is eligible for an expungement immediately. However, just because they are eligible for an expungement immediately doesn’t mean the process itself goes any more quickly. It still takes the same four months that it takes for everyone else.