EXPUNGEMENTS IN NEW JERSEY: DEAD OR ALIVE
Summary: Obtaining An Expungement Can Remove The Record Of An Arrest Or Conviction As If It Never Happened!
Expungement While Alive
Having an arrest or conviction is more than just embarrassing and humiliating. How would you answer a question from your son or daughter about whether or not you have been arrested or convicted? Having a record of an arrest or conviction for a crime or offense can be an obstacle to obtaining public or other employment, being admitted to an institution of higher education, obtaining a State professional license or teaching certificate, coaching your child’s sport’s team, becoming a US citizen, or traveling to or immigrating to a foreign country. It can result in a loss of your civil privileges, such as the right to vote, to serve on a jury or to purchase and possess a firearm.
Expungement After Death
Over The Several Decades That the New Jersey Expungement Law Has Been On The Books, And After Tens Of Thousands Of Expungement Petitions Filed by Attorneys, Richard R. Uslan Was The First Attorney In New Jersey Legal History To File And Successfully Obtain The Expungement For A Person Who Was Dead
Why? Think about it: Having an arrest or conviction can ruin your reputation for good character. Your reputation survives you long after your death — in the memories of your family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers and members of the public. However, the New Jersey expungement law makes no mention of one’s eligibility to expunge a criminal record after your death, or what court procedure must be crafted in order to do it successfully. It was and is completely silent as to whether this class of defendant would be entitled to expungement relief.
Often, the success or failure of an attorney to obtain an expungement for a client depends upon expertise, imagination, creativity and resourcefulness. Just as Attorney Uslan created an entirely unique DWI – DUI defense for New Jersey in a Hillsborough, Township case by using a client’s intoxication to defend the charge of Driving While Intoxicated, so too, on January 28, 2011, in the case of State v. R.D., Mr. Uslan successfully obtained, for the first time in New Jersey legal history, a posthumous expungement in the Hunterdon County Superior Court for the family of his deceased client without any objection by the prosecution. The decedent had a record of criminal arrests in the Raritan Township Municipal Court. Ever since that case was decided, there have been other legal attempts, by other attorneys, to expunge the record of a dead person using different procedures than Mr. Uslan employed in State v. R.D., many of which were met with strenuous objection by the prosecutor and disallowance by the Courts.
Mr. Uslan’s landmark expungement case was reported in several newspapers and the New Jersey Law Journal, the official, weekly, New Jersey legal periodical, in which William Buckman, the then president of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, confirmed that he was aware of no other posthumous application of New Jersey’s expungement statute. Uslan was invited to speak at a seminar conducted to teach attorneys expungement law. An excerpt of his discussion about this new procedure can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIviPGJ_dV4
Just as Mr. Uslan’s unique defense for Driving Under the Influence opened a new vista to helping persons arrested in New Jersey for Driving While Intoxicated, so too, Mr. Uslan’s landmark expungement case marked the first time — after several decades that the expungement law had been in existence — that any attorney thought to use it to restore the reputations of an entirely new, and expansive class of defendants – those persons who are now dead but whose memories live on with their families and friends. This bold interpretation of and broad application of the expungement law has dramatically altered the landscape of New Jersey Expungement Law and Practice.
Not only Criminal Defense Attorneys but also, Wills & Estate Practice Attorneys as well, have sought Mr. Uslan’s advice and counsel about this new procedure and how to employ it for their clients. He has been invited to teach fellow attorneys, in expungement seminars, how to successfully obtain this relief for other families who seek to restore the reputation of deceased loved one for posterity, and has also taught general principles of New Jersey Expungement Law and Procedure.
The Disadvantages of Having a Criminal Record
A New Jersey conviction for a Crime and often, a conviction for a Disorderly Person or Petty Disorderly Person offense, appear on a New Jersey Certified Criminal History. The conviction will also be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), enabling nationwide access of that information to the public-at-large. Prospective employers, institutions of higher learning, such as colleges and trade schools, or state licensing authorities such as the State Board of Medicine, Nursing or Education, will have access to this information and will often deny the applicant with a criminal record employment, admission or licensure. You can be denied public employment. A criminal record can even prevent obtaining citizenship, a visa or to visit a foreign country, and may adversely affect your ability to coach your child’s sports team. It can also result in a loss of your civil privileges, such as the right to vote, to serve on a jury or to purchase and possess a firearm.
The Advantages of Expunging a Criminal Record
When you are arrested, the police will take your photograph (a “mugshot”) and will fingerprint you. They will prepare police reports which associate your name and other identifying information about you as being someone who has been accused of committing crimes or offenses. A recent law requries that upon an arrest for certain violent crimes (which may be excluded from expungement availability), one must submit a DNA sample for future use by law enforcement; upon conviction for any crime or disorderly person offense, a DNA sample must be submitted upon conviction.
In sum, all of the information obtained by the police can be used by it to investigate other crimes. Without an expungement, your police photograph can be added to a photo array that can be shown to victims of crimes you did not commit, in a good faith effort by the police to have the culprit identified, but which may mistakenly result in the misidentification of you! Your fingerprints are available for comparison to fingerprints obtained by the police from a crime scene. The police reports can be used to compare the facts of your case with future cases, to see if there are any similarities or patterns, which can ultimately lead them, even mistakenly, on to your trail.
With an expungement, the arrest processing information, including the “mugshot”, fingerprints, police reports and DNA sample, will be under court seal and would be inaccessible to the police or to the public, for that matter, without first obtaining the permission of a Judge, and only then, upon a substantial demonstration to the Court that the police or public’s need for access to information far exceeds your right to privacy.
For Over 30 Years, Attorney Richard R. Uslan Has Helped Hundreds of Clients, Alive and Dead, Expunge Their Criminal Record for Arrests or Conviction, and Can Assist You to Segregate Mugshots, Fingerprints, DNA Samples and Police Reports from Public Access
Richard R. Uslan, Esquire, with offices in Somerville, directly across from the Somerset County Court House, has assisted hundreds of clients throughout New Jersey to expunge records of convictions for crimes, offenses and ordinance violations. Although the expungement law requires certain mandatory information be included in the petition (application), and the general procedures to obtain an expungement are outlined in the statute, each New JerseyCounty has developed subtle differences in the expungment process. Knowledge of those differences are necessary to successfully obtain an expungement. For example, the process in Somerset County is different from MiddlesexCounty. Camden County is different from Morris County. Hunterdon County is different from Union or Essex County. Interestingly, were it not for the fact that laws exist in New Jersey which will permit the expungement process, this type of relief for individuals would not be allowed. That being said, the procedure to successfully obtain an expungement is a detailed and complicated one. Not only are there instances of complete and total ineligibility, even when one iseligible for an expungement, there are several prerequisites to having it granted. Among them are that if a conviction is sought to be expunged, there will be waiting periods from two years to ten years from the completion of the sentence for the arrest or conviction that is sought to be expunged. Moreover, the way the expungement laws in New Jersey are written and have been interpreted by the courts over the years, unsuccessful results can and will occur which the unsuspecting or inexperienced attorney, or applicant, would not have thought were either logical or expected.
Remember, if you seek to have your criminal record expunged, or you desire to have the criminal record of a deceased loved one expunged —
Defending you and expunging your criminal record is my business!
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