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Expungement Law


New Jersey Expungement Attorney

Expungements are court-ordered processes which result in the sealing (erasing) of legal records pertaining to arrests or criminal convictions. This process is also referred to as “setting aside a criminal conviction.” Most of the time, once expunged, a record of arrest and any subsequent court proceedings are removed from the public record and the individual is allowed to legally deny or fail to acknowledge having been arrested and charged with the expunged crime, even under oath. As in other aspects of the law, however, immigrants have a more difficult standard to meet than do citizens of the United States. If you are non-citizen seeking an expungement or, having obtained one, are fighting for the rights it should entitle you to, the Law Office of Michele Alcalde is here to help. Our office specializes in Crimmigration, the area of law in which immigration and criminal defense overlap.

New Jersey Limitations on Expungements

Laws regarding expungements vary from state to state. According to New Jersey statutes, expungements of convictions are allowable under certain conditions. Convictions that may be expunged in New Jersey include those concerning:

  • Disorderly persons offenses
  • Municipal ordinance violations
  • Juvenile adjudications
  • Drug offenses for those who have graduated from “special drug probation”

While in many cases, those who have been convicted of multiple offenses are not eligible for expungement, in certain situations crimes that occurred in similar places at more or less the same time can be grouped as a single crime for purposes of expungement.

Exceptions to Expungement Protection

While expungement may seem to be a legal panacea, there are exceptions to the disappearance of expunged charges and convictions, even for U.S. citizens. Although an expungement may reinstate full civil rights to citizens in their daily life, expunged records can be legally dredged up:

  • When applying for a job in law enforcement
  • When applying for employment in the judicial system
  • When applying for admission to the bar
  • When applying for a subsequent expungement
  • When convicted of another offense
  • When applying for legal status in the United States

The most serious offenses are almost never eligible for expungement. These include murder, rape, sexual battery, offenses against (or corruption of) a minor, child pornography, arson, kidnapping, arson, and serious weapons crimes.

Expungements May Not Work for Non-Citizens

As noted, non-citizens do not always reap the potential benefits of expungements. Under some circumstances, a foreign national can be prevented from entering the United States or may be deported because he or she has been convicted of a crime, sealed or not. A person may also be considered “inadmissible” to the United States, even though he or she otherwise qualifies for a visa or green card, if that individual has been convicted of a crime in his or her country of origin.

How Michele Alcalde Can Help

If you are attempting to immigrate to this country and you have a criminal record, sealed or not, your situation is by no means hopeless. With the help of Michele Alcalde, a gifted crimmigration attorney, you may be able to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. Whether such a waiver is a possible solution to your problem will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the crime you were convicted of and the penalties it potentially carried. Nonetheless, if you are granted such a waiver, you will be allowed to enter the U.S. in spite of your previous criminal conviction. One factor the Department of Homeland Security takes into account is your rehabilitation and lack of recidivism which simply means proving you have turned your life around and would not commit any criminal offense ever again.

Nonimmigrant Waivers

In order to obtain a nonimmigrant waiver (one that allows you to obtain a nonimmigrant visa such as a B visa or an H-1B visa to enter the U.S.), you must provide evidence in your waiver application of [1] your reasons for wanting to enter the U.S. and [2] the nature of your prior conviction and [3] demonstrate that you do not pose a risk to this country or any of its citizens.

Immigrant Waivers

In cases in which you are planning to immigrate to the U.S. and you have a previous expungement, you will need an I-601 waiver to enter the United States. In order for Michele Alcalde to assist you in this application you must have a “qualifying relative” who is already in this country. A “qualifying relative” means a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent who would suffer extreme hardship if you were not permitted to enter the U.S.

It should be noted that obtaining a waiver is a complicated process and should not be attempted without a savvy immigration attorney. Michele Alcalde is a specialist in such matters and knows precisely which tactics are most likely to be successful.

New Jersey’s Expungement Laws Will Change on October 1, 2018

As of October 1st, New Jersey’s expungement laws will change. Among the coming changes are: [1] the waiting period for indictable convictions (felonies) will decrease from 10 years to 6 years [2] the number of convictions allowed to be expunged will increase [3] the waiting period for expungement of juvenile offenses will be reduced from 5 to 3 years and [4] “crime spree” offenses, even when felonies, may, under certain circumstances, be grouped under one order of expungement.

Why You Need the Law Office of Michele Alcalde

As you can clearly see, expungements, especially in connection with immigration issues, are a complex matter, requiring a crimmigration attorney with extensive legal knowledge and a substantial level of skill. Michele Alcalde has both. She will also treat you with respect and compassion. If you are wondering if an expungement can help a family member come to the U.S., or help you to remain here, give our office a call or fill out a contact form on our website.