New Jersey Expungement to Obtain a Gun Permit Lawyers
With Offices in Morristown, Hackensack, and Newark
An arrest, charge, or conviction on your criminal record can spell negative implications for many components of your life. It may damage your reputation, hinder your career opportunities, prevent you from engaging in certain volunteer activities, impede your educational aspirations, and restrict you from one of your most significant Constitutional rights: the ability to purchase and possess a gun or other firearm. Fortunately, an expungement provides a single opportunity to wipe your proverbial slate clean. By obtaining an expungement, you can erase your criminal record of previous arrests, charges, or convictions that may prevent you from obtaining the gun permit you desire. However, the mandatory criteria for an expungement are extensive and the process is time-consuming, complex, and fraught with opportunities for error.
The attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm meticulously execute the expungement process for clients across New Jersey, including those in Bergen, Morris, Essex, Middlesex, Hudson, Union, Atlantic, and Somerset counties. Having successfully facilitated the expungement of thousands of clients’ criminal records, we have mastered every step of this complex process, from document requests to drafting the petition itself, submission, and serving all of the necessary parties. With a commitment to having every expungement that comes from our office granted, we take the time to ensure the utmost accuracy. Following the success of your expungement, we also walk you through the gun permit application process to assist you in achieving your desired result and restoring your gun rights in New Jersey. To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable New Jersey expungement lawyers today, contact our offices for an immediate cost-free consultation.
Expungements in New Jersey
An expungement is defined as the extraction, sealing, impounding, or isolation of all records on file. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1. Consequently, if an order of expungement is granted, the arrest, conviction, and any proceedings related to the incident are deemed not to have occurred. To that end, if a person is asked whether they have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, the individual can legally say no. Accordingly, if you obtained an expungement and are filling out your firearms permit application, you can legally say you have never been convicted of a crime or offense.
Expungement of an Arrest
In New Jersey, an arrest not resulting in conviction can be expunged from your record immediately after the charges against you are dismissed. The expungement can then be used to remove the initial arrest and associated charges from your criminal record.
Expungement of a Disorderly Persons Offense
If you are convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey Municipal Court, you can expunge up to 5 of these offenses from your criminal record if you have never been convicted of a felony or indictable charge, 5 years have passed since your last conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, and you have paid all of the associated fines.
Expungement of a Felony
If you are convicted of a felony or indictable offense in New Jersey Superior Court, you may be eligible for an expungement 5 years from the date of your conviction, payment of fine, completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later. If at least 4 years but less than 5 years has passed since that date, the court may grant you an expungement if it finds that you have not been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the felony conviction; and that the expungement is in the public interest, considering the nature of the offense, and your character and conduct since the conviction.
Crimes that Cannot be Expunged
The following crimes are ineligible for an expungement at any time in New Jersey: Murder (except Death by Auto), Kidnapping, Luring or Enticing, Human Trafficking, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact, Criminal Sexual Contact (if the victim is a minor), Criminal Restraint or False Imprisonment (if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim), Robbery, Arson, Endangering the Welfare of a Child (in cases involving sexual offenses and child pornography), False Swearing, Terrorism, Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices, as well as conspiracies or attempts to commit any of the aforementioned crimes.
Note that many of the crimes that cannot be expunged in New Jersey would also qualify you as a “Certain Person,” meaning a person who is prohibited from possessing weapons.
Restoring Your Gun Rights after an Expungement in New Jersey
In the Garden State, it is legal to possess a firearm inside your home or place of business. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to register the gun. However, if you wish to purchase a gun, you do have to acquire the proper permits first. More specifically, to legally purchase a firearm, you must obtain a firearms identification card. If you wish to buy a handgun, in addition to the identification card, you must also obtain a purchaser’s permit.
To apply for a gun permit in New Jersey, one must submit an application. If doing so online, the applicant must first obtain the access code or ORI number from their local police department. From there, the person enters the code and is permitted to begin the application process. It starts by asking the applicant simple background questions such as their name, address, height, and weight. Next, the person must disclose their driver’s license number, social security number, and employment information. Then, the person will be asked a series of questions to determine if they are disqualified from owning a firearm such as, have you ever been convicted of a crime, have you ever been convicted of an offense concerning domestic violence, are you the subject of any restraining orders, have you ever been civilly committed, and are you suffering from any substance abuse problems. After that, you will be required to provide two-character references. At the conclusion of the application, you will be asked to sign a waiver so the police can examine your medical history.
Once the application is submitted, you will then be asked to make an appointment to be fingerprinted. The purpose of the fingerprinting is so the police can run a thorough background search to determine if you have a criminal record. The application process takes around 30 minutes. The subsequent investigation on the part of the police can take approximately one to two months to complete. Generally, if the individual does not have a criminal record or serious juvenile adjudication, and they are not the subject of an active restraining order, their permit application will be granted. However, if you are disqualified because you have a record, do not immediately give up. You may still be able to obtain a permit if you obtain an expungement.
Can I obtain a Firearm with an Expunged Record in New Jersey?
Contrary to what many believe, an expungement does not mean your record has been deleted, destroyed, eliminated, or removed. The records department does not permanently erase or shred your file. Rather, the records are closed to the public and may only be utilized or viewed under a specific set of circumstances. For instance, if a person wishes to enroll in a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention, Conditional Discharge, or Conditional Dismissal, the court may view a sealed record to confirm whether the person was previously enrolled. The reason for that is a person may only be admitted into a diversionary program once. Another example is the courts may utilize a sealed record when determining pre-trial release or sentencing a person. The parole board can also view an expungement record when making a determination. And lastly, if you wish to be employed by the judicial branch or apply for a job with law enforcement, a sealed record can be reviewed to determine if you are fit for the position.
Nonetheless, there is no statute, rule, or case that says an expunged record can be utilized in connection with a firearm application. In fact, in In re Criminal Records of H.M.H, 404, N.J. Super. 174 (Law Div. 2008), the Court held that our lawmakers have had time to change the expungement statute and add an additional exception but they have chosen not to act. Therefore, the conclusion must be drawn that a person with a prior criminal record that was expunged may apply for a gun permit. However, please note, the record itself cannot be used against an applicant. Meaning, the chief of police cannot deny an applicant due to a prior conviction. Moreover, if the gun permit matter is appealed, it would be improper for the reviewing judge to deny the application because of a prior sealed conviction.
Nevertheless, the State can still argue that the applicant poses a safety concern and utilize other material or witness testimony outside the scope of the expunged record to prove their case. For instance, perhaps a person was previously convicted for simple assault because he or she struck their partner. Several years pass and the person files for an expungement and it is granted by the court. Thereafter, the individual applies for a firearms permit. It would be improper for the police to deny the application because the person has a criminal record. However, if the police speak to the victim and the victim explains what occurred, the permit can be denied on the basis that the applicant poses a risk to the public.
How to Get an Expungement for my Gun Permit Rights NJ
If you are seeking an expungement, have questions about the process, or are unsure about your expungement eligibility, contact our offices today at (201)-614-2474 to find the answers you need. We are available anytime to provide you with a cost-free consultation.