Legal Question in Criminal Law in New Jersey


I am a Pennsylvania resident who was arrested in New Jersey on a drug charge in 2001. As a first time offender, I received a conditional discharge (1 year probation, which I was released from after 4 months and a fine which was paid in full when I received the conditional discharge).

I understand that since there was no conviction, my record is clear. But from what I was recently told, the initial arrest will still show on my record.

Do I need to have both expunged or just the arrest? Is it safer to hire a lawyer or can a person with no legal background attempt to do this himself?

Asked on 2/23/07, 3:36 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Joseph Grassi Barry, Corrado, Grassi & Gibson, PC

Re: Expungement

You must make a motion to have it all expunged, that is the fact of the conditional discharge, and the arrest.

Whether to have a lawyer is up to you. I'm a lawyer so I vote yes, but you can always represent yourself.

The procedure is relatively simple, but there is a lot of paperwork, and several pleadings. Some counties have packets which will help you do it yourself, called a "pro se" packet.

I have had clients pick up the packet, and come ask me to do it. I guess the ones I haven't heard back from have done it themselves.

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Answered on 2/23/07, 3:54 pm
Bonnie Moses Dessen, Moses & Rossitto

Re: Expungement

You are correct. When you complete the terms of the conditional discharge, the charges are dismissed, but the record of the arrest is not. In order to get this off your record, you need to file an expungment in the county in which the incident took place. It involves filing the petition and serving it on various agencies. We normally get our clients finger printed to make sure there are no other items on their record to reduce the risks of complications. Then, a hearing is scheduled but you usually do not have to attend if no one contests the request. After the Order is issued, it must be served on various agencies in order to expunge the record.

I cannot tell you that you must have a lawyer, but sometimes it is better to have someone to help you navigate the legal system. If you are interested in more information or representationm please contact Robyn M. Aghen, Esquire at [email protected].

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Answered on 2/23/07, 4:21 pm
Jef Henninger, Esq Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq.

Re: Expungement

I agree with the other two attorneys. Unless money is very tight, I would suggest getting an attorney. I too know a few people that tried to do this by themselves and its not always easy. Sometimes its easier just to have someone else do it. Its not that expensive either.

My initial consultations are always free, so call me at 732/247/3340 to discuss your situation.

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Answered on 2/23/07, 4:57 pm
Lavinia Mears Law Offices of Lavinia Lee Mears

Re: Expungement

I agree with Mr. Grassi's comments. Filing an expungement entails being fingerprinted at your local police department; sending your finger print card to the State police to run a criminal history check to ensure you have no other charges on your record; obtaining a copy of the "disposition" sheet which shows from the municipality you were granted a conditional discharge; filing motion papers with the court; and appearing in court if required. It is highly recommended that you expunge the record of your arrest and charges as it could affect employment opportunities and potentially limit other opportunities in life. I am a former prosecutor and an employment lawyer. I am pleased to answer any additional questions you may have or file the expungement on your behalf. Please contact me should you need additional assistance.

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Answered on 2/24/07, 9:12 pm

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