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Can False Imprisonment Charges Be Expunged?

There are an estimated 70 to 100 million Americans living outside of prisons with criminal records, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Criminal records present a constant barrier to employment, housing, and banking applications, often nixing the applicant from a list of acceptable candidates. While being arrested for a criminal offense may remain on a person’s record, the case may have been dismissed, or the trial failed to result in a conviction. With the understanding that the blemish of an arrest, even if the person is not convicted, presents a high hurdle for people. States across the country offer a method to essentially erase criminal records from public view, called expungement. With an expunged record, a person can legally deny that they ever had that charge on their record, with a few exceptions. For people who have been charged with false imprisonment, expungement is usually not considered an available option. False imprisonment is on New Jersey’s list of offenses that cannot be expunged:

  • Criminal homicide or murder.
  • Kidnapping and related offenses.
  • Sexual offenses.
  • Robbery.
  • Arson and related offenses.
  • Endangering the welfare of children.
  • Perjury and false swearing.
  • Terrorism and related charges.
  • Abuse of public office.
  • Certain drug offenses.

However, there is an option for people who have record of an arrest for false imprisonment or any of the other charges listed above if they are found not guilty in a court of law. These records can be expunged if the charge does not result in a conviction.

Are Kidnapping and False Imprisonment the Same?

When someone is confined against their will, the person who confines them is guilty of false imprisonment. While kidnapping will involve imprisonment of the person kidnapped, it is the intentional act of taking away or moving a person against that person’s will with threats of force or use of force. The movement of the person from one location to another is the difference between the crime of false imprisonment and kidnapping.

Clean Slate Changes

New Jersey has made it easier for many citizens to get their criminal records expunged in recent years, with the 2019 “clean slate” expungement law for people who have not had a conviction in over 10 years to erase their criminal records from public view. In 2020, New Jersey went a step further to make this process accessible for people by introducing an online electronic filing system.

What Is a Special Expungement?

A special expungement is a process of removing a charge from a person’s record for specific conditions:

  • The case was dismissed.
  • The person was not convicted of the charge.
  • The person completed a conditional discharge program.
  • The person graduated from drug court.

Special expungements require less paperwork and are generally resolved faster. One reason to use a lawyer to go through this process is they can guide you through the steps, help you fill out the necessary forms, explain why you deserve an expungement, and find supporting documents that will aid your case. Once the paperwork is completed, it needs to be sent to the judge who oversaw your case, or the court if that judge is no longer on the bench. If the judge accepts it, the court will notify all appropriate law enforcement agencies. If the judge denies it, you can apply again, but if you apply with the same information, the application will likely be denied again. This is another area where an attorney would be helpful. The information needed for you to fill out the paperwork:

  • Summons or complaint number.
  • Arresting agency.
  • Criminal charge.
  • Corresponding statutory number.
  • Arrest date.
  • Disposition in court.

South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Can Determine if Your Record Can Be Expunged

Those who have a criminal record often find barriers and need legal advice. Our South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Agre & St. John can help. Call us at 856-428-7797 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.

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