NJ county offering residents a free chance to clear their criminal record
A major opportunity is coming up this week in Monmouth County for residents who've had some trouble with the law.
An expungement clinic scheduled for Thursday in Asbury Park aims to get the process rolling for folks who want their records cleared — free of charge.
Individuals who've had a prior run-in with the law and want their past actions erased from their record will be able to meet face to face with attorneys — private lawyers and members of the Public Defender's Office are volunteering their time.
"If they're eligible, they'll be able to apply right then and there," Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Sanitago told New Jersey 101.5.
And the attorneys have agreed to handle follow-ups with clients who show up for the clinic, to see the matter through completion, Santiago said.
With a court-ordered expungement, all information related to one's arrest, conviction, and outcome of their case can be removed from one's file.
"Regardless of which side of the courtroom we appear on, there is no denying that the expungement process as it exists in New Jersey is an invaluable tool that is too seldom leveraged by individuals who managed to turn their lives around after finding themselves involved with the criminal justice system," Santiago said.
An individual may be eligible for expungement of certain offenses, or a "clean slate" expungement that wipes out their complete criminal history.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for those who have had the stigma of a prior criminal record hamper education, employment, and other opportunities to succeed by clearing their records and paving the way to a better life," said Steven Nelson, a private criminal defense attorney in Monmouth County.
The Monmouth County Free Expungement Clinic is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, at St. Stephen AME Zion Church in Asbury Park (1001 Springwood Ave.)
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