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Expunging a Theft Offense in NJ

March 18, 2024

How to Get a New Jersey Theft Charge Expunged

Theft Expungement Attorney Mount Holly NJ

A criminal record can make life difficult. Your opportunities are far narrower than those without a criminal record. For example, you may find it more challenging to secure employment. A criminal conviction on a background check can send a potential employer to another candidate. The same goes for potential landlords reviewing your housing application. You and your family may be disadvantaged in securing a place to live. Higher education and professional licenses may be out of reach, lessening your chances of becoming a financial adviser, real estate broker, or cosmetologist. Finally, firearms restrictions, loan application denials, and lost custody disputes may be your reality with a criminal history, not just a damaged reputation.

Life would be easier without a criminal history. Fortunately, New Jersey Courts have a procedure to help you restart your life after you have paid your dues to society.

What Happens when You Get an Expungement in NJ?

Depending on the crime in New Jersey, you may remove some or most of your criminal history. You may erase a criminal conviction by isolating or sealing it from the public when you get a record expungement. Once you complete the expungement process of applying and getting a court approval and order, it’s almost as if the criminal conviction never happened regarding background checks. So, you can answer “no” to a loan, housing, or employment application question about prior criminal convictions.

A criminal record contains more than convictions, however. It also includes everything associated with the conviction. So, arrests, complaints, court hearings, prison terms, jail sentences, warrants, probation or parole, and more appear in your criminal history.  In New Jersey, you can expunge arrests, complaints, fingerprints, photographs, judicial proceedings, and other judicial records (N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1).

The Limitations of Expungements in New Jersey

Though the public cannot access your records, official agencies like law enforcement or probation departments airing in on whether you get probation for another criminal action can. As such, a court deciding whether you are a first offender for sentencing purposes may access expunged records. Moreover, expungements apply only to New Jersey criminal records.

Also, you cannot get all convictions expunged. New Jersey does not allow the removal of the most serious of crimes, such as homicide, robbery, sexual assault, certain drug charges, endangering the welfare of a child, and the like. The more serious the crime, the less likely that expungement is available. On the contrary, disorderly persons offenses are lesser offenses that may be readily removable from your record. Expungement may be available for indictable crimes not as severe as robbery and kidnapping. It depends on the number of prior convictions, the seriousness of the crime, and how long ago the offense occurred.

New Jersey Theft Crime Expungements

The grade level of theft crimes depends on the dollar value of the stolen items. New Jersey grades theft crimes according to a value range. So, shoplifting items valued under $200.00 is a disorderly persons offense. Those conviction records are expungement-eligible. But even indictable crimes for theft are eligible, so long as they do not involve serious criminal actions that would not be expunged as a matter of policy, such as armed robbery.

If I Want a Theft Charge Expungement in NJ, How Long do I Have to Wait?

An expungement can remove petty theft and theft convictions with their accompanying records. Also, shoplifting, receiving stolen property, and other theft convictions may be deleted from your record after ten years under the 2019 Clean Slate Law. So long as you are crime-free for ten years, you can expunge your record of eligible offenses and records.

Otherwise, you may apply for an expungement after five years (sometimes four) by petition, unless you underwent the Pretrial Intervention, conditional dismissal, or conditional discharge diversionary programs (6-month waiting period), or are seeking to erase certain marijuana convictions; then you can apply for expungement sooner.

For arrest records that did not lead to conviction, fourth degree indictable marijuana convictions and disorderly persons marijuana convictions, and Drug Court graduates, there is no waiting time for expungement. For a case involving certain drug convictions for those 21 or younger, there is a one-year waiting period, and three years for juvenile records and third-degree marijuana convictions. Municipal ordinance violations require a two-year wait before expungement.

Reasons for a Theft Expungement Denial in New Jersey

You typically may not be granted an expungement for past crimes when you have other convictions pending or too many other convictions for indictable crimes and disorderly persons offenses. Currently, you can delete one indictable crime and up to three disorderly persons offenses simultaneously. But even certain theft charges may not be expunged. It depends on whether the convicted individual used a weapon to commit the theft or whether another crime arose from the theft. For instance, a shoplifting incident that turned into a chase, eluding law enforcement, and assault with a deadly weapon may affect expungement eligibility for criminal theft convictions and other more serious crimes involved.

However, theft convictions without other serious crimes or firearms involvement may be removed from your record once you wait the requisite period and stay crime-free during that time. When the time is up, you can petition the court for an expungement. If your paperwork is accurate and complete, a court may grant your petition.

Unfortunately, your second chance at a crime-free life can be delayed by errors in your petition. You may even jeopardize your petition for making certain mistakes. You must provide all necessary information, such as all convictions, arrests, court proceedings, dates, case numbers, and the like. Your court will only accept your petition if you have correct dates, case numbers, or other errors. For that reason, it is highly advisable to seek help from a solid New Jersey expungement lawyer who regularly handles the expungement process to remove theft charges and other crimes and offenses.

Get Help Expunging Your Theft Case in Mount Holly NJ

At Proetta, Oliver, & Fay, our familiarity with the expungement process and the meticulousness of our attorneys in preparing and reviewing expungement petitions, can be invaluable to you for saving time and improving the odds of your successful expungement. Our expungement lawyers can also advise you as to which records are expungeable and which are not, and when you may file the application. In other words, our thorough legal knowledge will save you time and help you with achieving your new lease on life sooner.

Contact an expungement lawyer at our Evesham Township office if you want to expunge theft charges and other offenses from your criminal record. We assist clients from step one through expungement approval and beyond in Mount Laurel, Cinnaminson, Pemberton, Mount Holly, Riverside, Lumberton, and other communities in Burlington County and Southern New Jersey. Contact us at 609-850-8284 for a free consultation to learn more.

Contact Us

Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Jersey City, Edison, Middletown, Cranford, Burlington, and Hamilton. All major credit cards are accepted.

Burlington Office

525 Highway 73,
Suite 104, Marlton,
New Jersey 08053
Phone: 609-850-8284
By Appointment Only

Hamilton Office

100 Horizon Center
Boulevard, Hamilton,
New Jersey, 08691
By Appointment Only

Point Pleasant Office

3828 River Road,
Suite A, Point Pleasant,
New Jersey 08742
By Appointment Only

Middletown Office

180 Kings Highway,
Middletown Township,
New Jersey 07748
By Appointment Only