Criminal Justice

CRIMINAL EXPOSURE: INSURRECTION AT THE U.S. CAPITOL

Insurrection at US Capital

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On 26 June 2020, in the wake of Black Lives Matter anti-racism and police brutality protests, the Trump Government Enacted the Executive Order “Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues,” pushing for anyone who “participates in efforts to incite violence or other illegal activity in connection with riots and acts of vandalism” to be punished to the fullest degree possible. Pres. Trump stressed the importance of the order, stating that the citizens had a  right to peacefully advocate for either the removal or the construction of any monument to individuals or organizations, but condemned individuals or groups from exercising this right to damage, deface or remove any monument by use of force. However, the order was signed with an intent clearly expressed to protect monuments and statues from “anarchists and left-wing extremists.”

However, in light a mob of violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, destroying, vandalizing, and desecrating federal property in the process, including several sculptures in Statuary Hall. Trump’s adherents had compromised the U.S. Capitol, causing the house to be shut down. Videos and photographs show demonstrators in confrontation with the police. 

The order itself calls on the Justice Department to make a priority of those cases and instructs U.S. agencies to possibly withhold money from cities and states that did not protect memorials from “destruction of vandalism.” Thus, a major issue is a bias toward social justice protesters and unequal applications of the law. 

[1.0] ISSUE AT THE CAPITOL

Assailants smashed through the bollards of the Capitol—considered a monument in and of itself—breaking doors and locks, bursting into the offices of elected officials, and stealing and destroying furniture. According to the New York Times, an individual took away the lectern used by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and another, ripped a scroll with Chinese characters from a room’s wall. The mob also marched down the halls brandishing Confederate flags and decking statues in white supremacist and pro-Trump regalia. 

The violation and desecration of federal property are significant. In fact, busts and statues of Presidents were vandalized to follow through with the rioters’ ideology. However, the response of the President has been immensely different. Even though the President eventually called for the mob to vacate the premises, the reaction was delayed in its timing and tone. The President appeared more favorable to the mob than his earlier response to the BLM protests. , 

Notwithstanding any potential disciplinary measures taken towards individuals who lately vandalized the Capitol, Trump’s nonchalance against the movement is in sharp contrast with last year’s extreme censorship of BLM demonstrators, as seen in his invocation of the term “when the looting begins, the shooting begins.”

[2.0] EFFECT OF THE ORDER

The June 26th Order called for law enforcement to “prosecute to the fullest extent” anyone who “participates in efforts to incite violence or other illegal activity in connection with the riots and acts of vandalism.” For “willful injury” of federal property, an individual could now get up to a decade in prison. The order directly references the protesters taking down monuments and statues of Confederate officials and other controversial historical figures. President chides state and local governments for not being able to distinguish between free speech and vandalism.

The actions of the Capitol breach could, therefore, have far-reaching consequences. Authorities have begun to bring charges against the mob members, especially since it forced Congress to halt its proceeding to formally certify Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election. Vice President Mike Pence vowed that “those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” and Biden called the episode an “insurrection.” According to the acting US Attorney in Washington, law enforcement’s initial response seemed slow; more than forty individuals have since been charged under the siege. 

Although most charges were for unlawful entry, individuals have been charged for assault as well. No individual is allowed to occupy the roads in the United States Capitol Grounds in a manner that obstructs or hinders their proper use or use of the roads in the Grounds area. This also applies to the conveyance of goods or merchandise unless the conveyor is a part of the United States Capitol on Federal Government service

[2.1] INTENT BEHIND THE ORDER

The order cites a sustained assault on the life and property of civilians, law enforcement officers, government property, and revered American monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial and singles out ideologies like “Marxism” in the actions of supposed “rioters, arsonists, and left-wing extremists.” Mr. Trump’s order also calls for withholding federal funds from local jurisdictions and police departments that fail to stop such “mob rule.” The order called for action against those individuals who led the riots. 

A major part of the order is the withholding of federal support tied to public spaces from State and local governments that have “failed to protect public monuments, memorials, and statues from destruction or vandalism.” The President cited the supposed abandonment of law enforcement responsibilities concerning public monuments, memorials, and statues to be a sufficient cloud on their ability to maintain the peace in their jurisdictions, preventing them from being qualified for the limited Federal funds that support public spaces. 

Federal backing has also been withdrawn from law enforcement agencies that have supposedly failed to protect public monuments, memorials, and statues from destruction or vandalism. This is owing to the unwillingness of state and local laws in the face of attack. The executive order denounced state support because of “sympathy for the extremists behind this violence or some other improper reason” and prevented them from being qualified for Federal patronage. Ironically, the major theme in the order itself refers to the management of these law enforcement agencies, especially after the Capitol’s police response led to a major outcry of whether justice would be served. 

Even though there were thousands of people on the Capitol grounds, there were no mass arrests. While there were huge numbers of people on Capitol grounds, there were no mass arrests with the protesters. Furthermore, the breach of the heavily guarded Capitol’s security, especially with a lockdown issued, seemed especially concerning. In the light of the mass incarceration and use of force by Black Lives Matter by police during peaceful demonstrations, the order directly correlates to the current situation. 

The Attorney General is responsible for the investigation by the order. It is instructed to fast-track within the Department of Justice the investigation and prosecution of matters about said defacement of monuments.  The Attorney General is then empowered to take all appropriate enforcement action against individuals and organizations found to have supposedly violated Federal law through these investigations. This would mean that they are required to work with State and local law enforcement authorities and Federal agencies to ensure the smooth flow of information and assistance between the Federal Government and State and local law enforcement authorities in connection with their investigations or prosecutions for the desecration of monuments, memorials, and statues. This assistance is valid regardless of whether the monuments are located on Federal property. 

[2.2] SO, WHO’S ACCOUNTABLE?

The Capitol’s mob was guilty of a wide variety of criminal offenses, even if they were not detained. A wide variety of crimes occurred, and prosecutors could charge individuals even if they walked away from the incident without being detained. Even without trespass charges, firearms offenses and ‘wilful injury of the federal property could be brought about. Since the aim was disrupting the congress’s work, restrictions on the Capitol’s grounds’ unlawful activities should apply. Furthermore, any individual who is not a Congress member is explicitly barred from appearing on the House or Senate floor.   

Allegations of sedition or insurrection will indeed necessitate proof of intent to disrupt or even overthrow the government. (sedition conviction has an upper limit prison term of twenty years.) During the Black Lives Matter protests in June, Trump issued an executive order asserting that his regime would prosecute anyone who harmed federal property with a prison sentence of up to ten years. Prosecutions may also occur under the Anti-Riot Act, making it illegal to traverse national lines to incite a riot—or even empower another person to riot. The State might also have to pursue prison sentences of up to five years for those prosecuted with “civil disorder” by hindering or seeking to hinder law enforcement officers’ actions performing their professional capacity.

It must be noted that calls to hold the President accountable for the crowd’s actions have been issued, citing its insurrection. Evaluating past social media incendiary comments alongside consistent rhetoric for the election’s non-concession has rendered the President liable for a second impeachment.  

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. Section 1.  Purpose.  The government’s first duty is to ensure domestic tranquility and defend its citizens’ life, property, and rights.  Over the last 5 weeks, there has been a sustained assault on the life and property of civilians, law enforcement officers, government property, and revered American monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial.  Many of the rioters, arsonists, and left-wing extremists who have carried out and supported these acts have explicitly identified themselves with ideologies — such as Marxism — that call for the destruction of the United States system of government.

Anarchists and left-wing extremists have sought to advance a fringe ideology that paints the United States of America as fundamentally unjust and has sought to impose that ideology on Americans through violence and mob intimidation.  They have led riots in the streets, burned police vehicles, killed and assaulted government officers and business owners defending their property, and even seized an area within one city where law and order gave way to anarchy.  During the unrest, innocent citizens also have been harmed and killed.

These criminal acts are frequently planned and supported by agitators who have traveled across state lines to promote their own violent agenda.  These radicals shamelessly attack the legitimacy of our institutions and the very rule of law itself…

2. A bust of 12th US President Zachary Taylor was smeared in red liquid, presumably blood, by one of the agitators. Another climbed on top of 38th President Gerald R. Ford’s statue and outfitted the figure with a Make America Great Again cap and a Trump flag. An “America First” placard was rested on a statue of former US Senator Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and a stuffed eagle placed on his shoulder.

3. He also described them as “very special” in a video that has since been taken down from Twitter for its inclusion of falsehoods regarding the 2020 election.

4. “And earlier this month, in Boston, a memorial commemorating an African-American regiment that fought in the Civil War was defaced with graffiti,” the order specifically states

5. “In the midst of these attacks, many state and local governments appear to have lost the ability to distinguish between the lawful exercise of rights to free speech and assembly and unvarnished vandalism. They have surrendered to mob rule

6. US vice president vows to prosecute Capitol rioters Anadolu Ajansı, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-vice-president-vows-to-prosecute-capitol-rioters/2100999 (last visited Jan 12, 2021) 

7. Thirteen Charged in Federal Court Following Riot at the United States Capitol, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/thirteen-charged-federal-court-following-riot-united-states-capitol (last visited Jan 12, 2021) 

8. Michael Sherwin. 

9. According to the Associated Press report, more than 10,000 protesters were detained as of early June after nationwide demonstrations against the police.

10. 40 USC 5104: Unlawful activities

11. 40 USC 5104: Unlawful activities: d) Injuries to Property.-A person may not step or climb on, remove, or in any way injure any statue, seat, wall, fountain, or other erection or architectural feature, or any tree, shrub, plant, or turf, in the Grounds.

(e) Capitol Grounds and Buildings Security.-

(1) Firearms, dangerous weapons, explosives, or incendiary devices.-An individual or group of individuals-

(A) except as authorized by regulations prescribed by the Capitol Police Board-

(i) may not carry on or have readily accessible to any individual on the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings a firearm, a dangerous weapon, explosives, or an incendiary device;

(ii) may not discharge a firearm or explosives, use a dangerous weapon, or ignite an incendiary device, on the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings; or

(iii) may not transport on the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings explosives or an incendiary device; or

(B) may not knowingly, with force and violence, enter or remain on the floor of either House of Congress

HOW TO REMOVE A CRIMINAL CONVICTION IN NEW YORK

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STEP 1: Complete the Request for Criminal Certificate of Disposition for CPL 160.59 Sealing Application and submit it to the appropriate clerk of the court.

Note: Complete a separate request for each case you will be asking the court to seal.

STEP 2: Once you receive your criminal Certificate of Disposition from the court, complete pages 1 and 2 of the Sealing Application (i.e., Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support).

STEP 3: Serve the Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support (i.e., pages 1 and 2 of the Sealing Application) upon the District Attorney of the applicable county. You can look up the address for each District Attorney’s office in the List of District Attorneys Offices.

Note: If you are asking the court to seal more than one conviction and conviction that occurred in different counties, you must serve the District Attorney of each applicable county with copies of your papers.

STEP 4: Once the District Attorney has been served, complete page 3 of the Sealing Application (i.e., Affidavit of Service).

Note: If more than one District Attorney has been served, and the service was performed on different dates or by different people, you must complete a separate Affidavit of Service (i.e., page 3 of the Sealing Application) for each one.

STEP 5: File all pages of your Sealing Application and any supporting documentation with the appropriate court.

STEP 6:  If you want to confirm that the change was appropriately made to your criminal history record, complete the Request for CPL 160.59 Seal Verification Form to receive verification from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services that a CPL 160.59 Seal has been applied to your New York State Criminal History Record.

Note: A copy of the signed court seal order must be mailed along with the verification form.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

HOW THE CRIMINAL COURT SYSTEM WORKS IN NEW YORK STATE

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Arraignments

The arraignment is the first time you go to court in front of a Judge. At the arraignment, you are told what the charges are against you and what your rights are, like the right to a trial and the right to have an attorney appointed for you if you don’t have the money to hire one. After you have been given an attorney, you then answer the charges. You answer the charges by telling the court if you are guilty or not guilty. This is called the plea. Before the plea, your lawyer and the prosecutor may talk about settling your case without having a trial. This is called Plea Bargaining. If you plead not guilty, you will get a court date for a hearing or trial. If you plead guilty, the court will decide your punishment. This is called the Sentencing.

Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is when your lawyer and the prosecutor talk about settling the case without having a trial. This can be done at any time during the case, from the arraignment up until a verdict in a trial. You can ask for a plea bargain, but the prosecutor can choose not to plea bargain with you. If you agree on a plea bargain, it must be approved by the Judge. Only the Judge can decide your sentence. For example, you may agree to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecutor’s promise to ask the Judge for a sentence with no jail time, just probation. Or, you and the prosecutor may agree that you will plead guilty to a lesser charge that has a lower range of punishments for the Judge to choose from at your Sentencing.

Be Careful– Many people choose a plea bargain instead of going to trial because it is much faster and you can be sure of the outcome. But, make sure you understand the impact of what you are agreeing to. You give up some of your rights, like the right to a jury trial, the right to confront your accuser, and the right not to incriminate yourself. You will have to stand up in court and confess to the crime you are pleading guilty to.

Also, many sentences can affect your life in other ways than just jail time. Some convictions prevent you from holding certain jobs, or impact your housing choices or your immigration status. See Collateral Consequences. Make sure you talk about this with your lawyer.

Right to an Attorney- You have a right to a lawyer at the arraignment and for the rest of the case. You can hire your own lawyer. Or if you don’t have enough money to hire your own lawyer, the court will appoint a lawyer to defend you for free. You can also defend yourself, but understand that a criminal case is complicated and a guilty conviction can affect your life in other ways than jail time. See Collateral Consequences. A criminal lawyer can help you understand the charges, and find evidence and strategies to win the case.

If you have a good reason you cannot work with the free lawyer assigned to your case, let the Court know as you may be able to get a new lawyer assigned. You can also switch to a lawyer you hire at any time. Visit Find a Lawyer.

Release After The Arraignment– If you are in jail, the prosecutor can ask the Judge to keep you in jail or set bail. Bail is money or property that you put up as a promise to return for future court dates. Your lawyer will also have a chance to speak to the Judge about your release. If the judge decides to set bail, then the Judge decides the amount of bail. If the Judge orders bail, you are sent back to jail until the bail is posted. Learn more about Bail.

The Judge can also release you on your own recognizance (ROR). This means that you promise to return for future dates without posting any bail. If you are arrested for a misdemeanor and do not have prior arrests, you have a good chance of being released without bail. If you are charged with a misdemeanor and bail is set and you can’t post it, you will stay in jail for approximately five days and if the prosecutor fails to give the court papers supporting the misdemeanor complaint (the papers are called the Information), a Judge will release you on your own recognizance.

If you are released after the arraignment, you must come back to court for every court date. If you don’t come to court, the Judge will order a warrant for your arrest. This is called a bench warrant. This means that the police will be notified to find and arrest you and bring you to court. If you posted bail, it may be forfeited. If the Judge orders a warrant this becomes part of your criminal record even if you are found innocent of the charges against you.

After the Arraignment– What happens after the arraignment depends on the crime you are charged with and your plea. If you plead guilty, visit Sentencing. If you plead not guilty and are charged with a felony, visit Preliminary Hearing and Grand Jury, otherwise visit Pre-trial.

Sentencing Basics

If you are found guilty or plead guilty, you will get your punishment from the judge. This is called sentencing. For violations and minor misdemeanor cases, you may be sentenced right away. Where the possibility of prison time exists, you will most likely get a date a few weeks away for a sentencing hearing. A Pre-Sentence Report will be made to help the Judge decide your punishment. At your sentencing hearing, you, your lawyer, the Prosecutor, and, in some cases, the victim of your crime, all have a chance to speak to the Judge about your sentence. The Judge decides your sentence.

Your lawyer and the Prosecutor may have agreed on your punishment by Plea Bargaining. But, the Judge does not have to follow any agreement between the prosecutor and your lawyer about your sentence. Your sentence depends on different things, like your background, your past convictions, what happened when you committed the crime, and the attitude of the victim (see Victim Impact Statement). Different Types of Criminal Cases have different ranges of punishments. This means that a Judge can’t sentence you to years in prison for a violation like jumping a turnstile. Your lawyer can explain the possible sentence for your crime. Also, there are many kinds of punishments besides jail or prison time that a Judge can use to punish a defendant, like probation, conditional discharge, unconditional discharge, restitution, and fines. Read Common Sentences to learn more. There are also a number of Surcharges and Fees, like the Crime Victim Assistance Fee, or mandatory surcharge, that the court orders you to pay.

A criminal sentence can also punish other areas of your life in ways you may not realize. It is important to understand what can happen. Speak to your lawyer and read Collateral Consequences Basics and use the calculator to see the possible consequences. Some consequences, like losing your apartment or a license for your job, can be avoided by getting a special certificate that gives you back your rights. See Getting Rights Back. You may be able to ask the Judge for this at your sentencing. It can also be asked for later.

Pre-Sentence Report

A Judge uses a pre-sentence report to help decide the defendant’s punishment for the crime. The pre-sentence report is made by probation officers. The report is made after the conviction and before the date for Sentencing in felony and serious misdemeanor cases.

A probation officer (or a social worker or psychologist working for the probation department) interviews the defendant and checks the defendant’s criminal record. The probation officer may talk to the crime victim, the arresting officer, and the defendant’s family and friends. The pre-sentence report includes a statement about what happened, the defendant’s personal history and criminal record and a Victim Impact Statement. The report makes recommendations for sentencing.

The pre-sentence report is a chance for the defendant’s lawyer to say good things about the defendant, like that the defendant is in a counseling program or has a steady job and takes care of an ailing family member. The pre-sentence interview is a chance for the defendant to try to make a good impression and explain why he or she deserves a lighter punishment. The pre-sentence report is also a chance for a crime victim to explain how he or she has suffered and what he or she has lost.

Bail

Bail is the money or other security given to the court in exchange for releasing a defendant from jail and the defendant’s promise to come back for the next court date. Posting bail allows the defendant to go back to his or her normal life until the case is finished. The Judge decides the amount of bail. Bail may be denied in serious felony cases or where the defendant has two prior felony convictions. A defendant may also be released without bail (see Arraignments). Bail is returned after the case is over. If the defendant is convicted, a percentage of the money is not returned.

Many courts require bail to be paid in cash. Check with the Court Clerk to see if credit cards or other forms of payment are accepted and where to pay. If the defendant is in jail, bail is usually posted there. The Department of Corrections has information that will tell you how to post bail in New York City. If you are with the defendant when the defendant is in court, take cash with you and you may be able to post bail at the courthouse and take the defendant home. Keep your bail receipt! The person that posts the bail is called the surety.

If the defendant can’t post bail then he or she has to stay in jail until the next court date. A bail bonds person can help with bail.

Bail Bondspersons– When people do not have enough money to post bail they can use a bail bonds person. These people do not work for the court. A bail bonds person sells a legal paper called a bond to give to the court instead of money. This bond guarantees that if the defendant doesn’t come to court as ordered, the bonds person will pay the amount of money on the bail bond to the court. The bonds person may only charge you 10% of the value of the bond. The bonds person may take security against your house or other assets.

Getting Cash Bail Money Back In most cases, bail is not given back until the case is over. There is a surcharge on all cash bail if the defendant is convicted. This means that the government keeps 3% of the amount of bail posted. If the case is dismissed or the defendant is found not guilty, you get all the bail money back. If the defendant fails to come back to court, the bail money will not be given back and a warrant is issued for the defendant. If this happens, it will be hard to get the money back. You can ask the court to give you back the bail money by filing a motion. This is called Bail Remission.

If the defendant went to all the court dates, and the case was in New York City, cash bail will be mailed in a check to the surety (the person who paid the bail), when the case is over. If you don’t get the money in the mail after 8 weeks, contact the NYC Department of Finance. If the case was outside New York City, the person who paid the cash bail and is named on the bail receipt must bring the bail receipt and photo ID to court to ask for the bail money. If you lost the bail receipt, you must submit a notarized statement explaining this. See sample City Court Lost Bail Receipt Affidavit. You can ask that the bail money be given to someone else by submitting a notarized affidavit. See sample City Court Affidavit for Assigning Bail.

Applying Bail to a Fine or Fee

If the case was outside New York City, and the court set a fine, a mandatory surcharge, or a crime victim assistance fee in the case, the surety can ask that the cash bail money be applied to pay the fine or fee. To do this, the surety (the person who posted the bail) submits a notarized statement asking to apply the bail money to the fine or fee to the Court Clerk. You may be able to do this by mail. Ask the Court Clerk. Use the court locator box to find the phone number for the court. See City Court sample Apply Bail to Fine Affidavit.

In New York City, you can’t ask to deduct the fine or fee from the bail money.

Bail Remission

The court can order that bail be forfeited when the defendant misses a court date. Forfeited means that if you posted cash bail money and the defendant didn’t show up, the court will keep the money. You will be notified if bail is forfeited. You may still be able to get your money back by asking the court for the remission of forfeited bail if the defendant eventually came to court. The motion must be made within 1 year of the court order that forfeited the bail.

Important! The motion for bail remission can only be made by the person who posted the bail for the defendant.

In the motion papers tell the court good reasons for giving you back the money, like that the defendant didn’t come to court because he was sick, or that you really need the money to pay your bills, or that the court didn’t spend any money to get the defendant back in court. You can attach an Affidavit from the defendant, bills, or any other proof that supports your request.

The motion for the remission of forfeited bail must be served on the District Attorney and give the District Attorney at least 5 days’ notice. The District Attorney will have a chance to submit papers arguing against returning your bail money.

Types of Criminal Cases

A person commits a crime when he or she does something that goes against the laws in the New York State Penal Code. There are three types of criminal cases: Violations, Misdemeanors, and Felonies. Each one has different possible punishments. This is called Sentencing.

Violations- A violation, like trespassing, unlawful possession of marijuana, or disorderly conduct, is not considered a crime. The most you can be punished for a violation is 15 days in jail.

Misdemeanors- A misdemeanor is more serious than a violation but less serious than a felony. Examples of misdemeanors are prostitution and making graffiti. Misdemeanors are divided into 3 groups: Class A, Class B, and Unclassified. The most you can be punished for a Class A misdemeanor is 1 year in jail. The most you can be punished for a Class B misdemeanor is 3 months in jail. The punishment for most Unclassified misdemeanors is 3 years of probation. But you can be punished for a DWI Unclassified misdemeanor up to one year in jail.

Felonies– Felonies are the most serious crimes, like murder, rape, and arson. If you are found guilty of a felony, you may be sent to jail for at least 1 year. The Judge may sentence you to less time in jail and give you probation for the rest of the time. Felonies are divided into different groups based on how serious the crime is: A-I or A-II, B, C, D, and E. The most you can be punished for a Class A-I or A-II felony is life imprisonment unless it is a drug felony. The most you can be punished for a Class B felony is 25 years in jail. The most you can be punished for a Class C felony is 15 years in jail. The most you can be punished for a Class D felony is 7 years in jail. The most you can be punished for a Class E felony is 4 years in jail.

Difference Between Violent and Non-Violent Felonies– There is no set formula for knowing whether a felony is classified as violent or non-violent. For example, Robbery in the 1st and 2nd Degree is a violent felony, but Robbery in the Third Degree is a non-violent felony.

Punishments for violent felonies are for a fixed amount of time. Punishments for non-violent felonies are usually for a range of time if it is the first felony conviction. After serving the minimum sentence, a person becomes eligible for parole. See Common Sentences.

Mandatory Surcharge, Crime Victim Assistance Fee, and Other Fees

At Sentencing, there are a number of fees and surcharges that the defendant may be charged with. The amount of the surcharge or fee depends on the crime you are convicted of committing. Possible fees include:

  • Mandatory Surcharge: this fee is charged to every convicted defendant.
  • Crime Victim Assistance Fee: this fee is charged to every convicted defendant.
  • Town and Village Court Fee.
  • Sex offender Registration Fee: this fee applies to defendants convicted of sex offenses.
  • DNA Databank Fee.
  • Supplemental Sex Offender Victim Fee.
  • Vehicle and Traffic Law Surcharges and Fees.

Payment– Fees and surcharges are paid to the Clerk of the Court. Mandatory surcharges and crime victim assistance fees can be paid by cash, money order, or credit card. Some Courts accept personal checks. Outside New York City, you can ask the Court to apply Bail money to pay a surcharge or fee. Fees must be paid:

  • For defendants with no prison time or who go to prison less than 60 days, fees and surcharges must be paid within 60 days of the sentence.
  • For defendants who go to prison for more than 60 days, the money owed is taken from your inmate fund.

If you need more time to pay, you can ask the court. Contact the court to find out how to do this. You can use the Court locator box to find the court’s phone number.

If you do not pay on time, depending on your crime, you could end up with a warrant for your arrest, suspension of your driver’s license, or a civil judgment against you that can affect your credit rating.

Collateral Consequences Basics

Besides direct consequences that can include jail time, fines, and treatment, a criminal conviction can trigger many consequences outside of the criminal court system. These consequences can affect your current job, future job opportunities, housing choices, immigration status, etc. For example:

  • A Class B Misdemeanor conviction, like possession of graffiti instruments, means you cannot live in a New York City Housing Authority apartment for at least 3 years after you finish your sentence.
  • Two convictions for jumping a turnstile in the subway make a green card holder deportable.

Finding Out the Consequences– Your lawyer is supposed to tell you about the collateral consequences that come with any conviction, but your lawyer may not know about all the civil penalties.

Use the Collateral Consequences Calculators below to get an idea of what else can happen to you if you are convicted of a crime.

  • Columbia Law School Collateral Consequences Calculator New York (NYC public housing and immigration consequences only)
  • National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction – New York

You can also look for information by choosing a topic from the Collateral Consequences menu.

Getting Rights Back– After a criminal conviction, sometimes you can get relief from the collateral consequences of your conviction by getting a special certificate. Visit Getting Rights Back.

Getting Rights Back

There are a number of laws and rules that bar people convicted of certain jobs from getting certain licenses or having access to certain benefits, like public housing. This is why it is important to understand the Collateral Consequences of your criminal conviction when you are plea bargaining or sentenced. There are certain certificates called Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities and Certificate of Good Conduct that can remove the consequences. The certificates can get rights back that you lost because of your conviction. If you get one of these certificates you won’t be automatically disqualified for a particular job or license. If you have a certificate when you apply for a job or occupational license, the employer or licensing agency must assume that you are rehabilitated unless there is something to say otherwise.

Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (CRD) is a way to remove certain Collateral Consequences of a criminal conviction. Having the CRD can remove bars to applying for jobs, licenses, public housing, and more. If you apply for and receive a CRD, you will have the right to apply just like someone without a conviction. But, having a CRD is not a guarantee that your application will be granted. And, even if you have a CRD, you still have to say that you have a criminal conviction when you fill out a job application.

If it has been more than 10 years since you were convicted of a crime, you may be able to ask the Court to seal your records. 

Requirements– You are eligible to get a CRD if you have been convicted of any number of misdemeanors or violations, but have not been convicted of more than 1 felony (2 or more felony convictions in the same court on the same day are counted as 1 felony for the CRD). If you have been convicted of 2 or more felonies (not at the same time), or if you want to apply for a public office job, you can’t apply for a CRD, but you may be able to get a Certificate of Good Conduct. See Certificate of Good Conduct. You need a separate CRD for each conviction. If you are not sure about your criminal history visit Criminal Records & Sealing to learn more.

When and Where to Apply

  • At Sentencing: You can apply for a CRD at Sentencing. This can be done by asking the Judge for a CRD. If you are going to lose an employment license or public housing because of your conviction, it is important to ask for a CRD at sentencing.  After Sentencing: You can apply any time after sentencing for a CRD, except you can’t apply while you are in state prison. After sentencing, you apply to the court that sentenced you as long as your conviction did not result in state prison time. See Applying to Court for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities.  After State Prison: If you served time in state prison and have been released you apply to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to get a CRD.

Certificate of Good Conduct

A Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) gives you a legal finding that you are reformed after a conviction. The CGC removes some of the Collateral Consequences of a criminal conviction. The CGC allows you to apply for certain jobs, licenses, public office, housing or other rights that you lost when you were convicted. But, having a CGC is not a guarantee that your application will be granted. And, even if you have a CGC, you still have to say that you have a criminal conviction when you fill out a job application.

You are eligible to apply for a CGC if you have been convicted of 2 or more separate felonies, or if you want a job that is a Public Office (for public office jobs it doesn’t matter how many convictions you have, you need a CGC). When counting felony convictions, federal and out-of-state charges count too. If you are not sure about your criminal history visit Criminal Records to learn more. If you have been convicted of less than 2 felonies, 

visit Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities.

One CGC will cover all your felony and misdemeanor convictions. 

When to Apply

You must wait before you can apply for a CGC. You must show that you have completed a period of good conduct in the community:

  • If you have been convicted of an A or B felony, you must wait 5 years before getting a CGC.
  • If your most serious conviction is a C, D or E felony, you must wait 3 years before getting a CGC
  • If you have only been convicted of misdemeanors, you must wait 1 year before getting a CGC.

The waiting period starts from the last time you got out of prison (onto parole or maxed out) or the date of your last conviction if you didn’t get state prison time, whichever was last.

Where to Apply

You apply to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to get a CGC. You do not apply to the court.

Sealed Records: After 10 Years (CPL 160.59)

If you have no more than two misdemeanor convictions or one felony and one misdemeanor conviction, you may be eligible to have those convictions sealed. You must apply to the court to have your records sealed. If the court approves your application, your criminal convictions can only be seen by qualified agencies and federal, state, and local law enforcement. If you are not a United States citizen, Immigration can still see your sealed convictions.

Sex offenses, violent felonies, and serious felonies are not eligible for sealing. See instructions #8 for the List of Offenses not eligible for sealing.

Read CPL 160.59.

Who is Eligible?

You are eligible if:

  • You have been crime-free for at least 10 years since your conviction and/or release, and
  • You have 2 convictions or less on your criminal record. This means no more than two misdemeanor convictions OR one felony and one misdemeanor conviction.

The ten-year period starts from the date of conviction or release from prison, whichever is later.

You cannot have had any new criminal convictions or have a current criminal case pending.

Courts have the discretion to seal up to two convictions, only one of which may be a felony.

If you have more than 2 convictions, you may still be eligible if your convictions are related to the same one or two incidents. For example, if you were charged and convicted of multiple crimes during one incident, the court may decide to treat the multiple convictions as one conviction.

Expunged marijuana convictions do not count toward your total number of convictions. These are treated as if they never happened.

How to Apply

The sealing of these records is not automatic. You need to do paperwork and apply to the court:

  1. Request a criminal Certificate of Disposition for CPL 160.59 Sealing application from the court.
    • Complete a separate request for each case you will be asking the court to seal.
    • Bring the completed form to the court. Use the locator box to find the court’s contact information
    • There is a fee of $5 for courts located outside of New York City and a fee of $10 for courts located within the five boroughs of New York City.
  1. After you get your Certificate of Disposition from the court, complete the Sealing Application (this is also known as the Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support).
    • Sign this form in front of a notary public.
    • Important! You should attach any evidence you have of proof of rehabilitation, like a certificate of relief from civil disabilities, verification of employment, community service, volunteer or charity work; educational transcripts; letters of recommendation or commendation from employers, teachers/professors, community leaders, charitable organizations, certificates of successful completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program, etc. Read more about getting Evidence of Rehabilitation.
  1. The District Attorney must be notified about your application. Make a copy of the Certificate of Disposition, the Sealing Application (Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support), and any other supporting documents you’re including with your application. The copy of the papers can be served at the District Attorney’s Office by mail or by hand delivery.  Important! If you’re asking the court to seal more than one conviction and the convictions occurred in different counties, then each District Attorney must get a copy of the papers.
  2. After the papers have been mailed or delivered to the District Attorney’s Office, the person who mailed or delivered the papers must fill out the Affidavit of Service and sign it in front of a notary public. If more than one District Attorney’s Office were served, a separate Affidavit of Service must be completed for each by the person who served them.
  1. Make a copy of all the papers for your own records.
  2. File the originals of the Sealing Application (Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support), Affidavit of Service, Certificate of Disposition, and any other supporting documents with the court.
    • Important! These papers must be filed in court. Use the court locator to find the court’s contact information.
    • There is no fee to file these papers.
    • The papers must be filed in the court where the most serious conviction was entered. If both cases involve convictions of the same class, the motion should be filed in the court where the most recent conviction was entered.

What to Do After Getting a Seal Order– If your sealing application is approved, you will get a court-signed Seal Order. To confirm that your NYS Criminal History Record has been sealed, fill out this Request for Seal Verification form and mail it with a copy of the court signed Seal Order to the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (address is on the Request form).

Sealed Records: Drug-Related Cases (CPL 160.58)

Since 2009, if you were convicted of a certain drug-related misdemeanor and felony convictions (see Rockefeller Drug Law Reform for a list of eligible crimes) you can ask the court to have your records for those crimes sealed if:

  • You have successfully completed a Judicial Diversion Program, DTAP (Drug Treatment Alternative to Treatment Program), or a similar substance abuse treatment program recognized by the court, and
  • You completed any other sentence following completion of treatment, and
  • You have no other pending charges against you

Read CPL 160.58.

Sealing Request– The sealing of these records is not automatic. You need to do paperwork – a motion, appear in court, and convince the Judge. The motion should explain how you have changed after treatment and how the conviction has affected your life. It is helpful to speak to an attorney. If granted your record will be conditionally sealed. The Judge can extend the sealing to up to 3 more drug-related misdemeanor convictions as long as the sentences are completed.

Conditional Sealing- The sealing of felonies and misdemeanors is conditional, meaning that if you are arrested again for a misdemeanor or felony, the cases will be unsealed. If you get a good result on the new charges, the old convictions will be resealed. Fingerprints and palm print cards, booking photos, and DNA samples are NOT destroyed.

Sex Offender Petition for Relief or Modification

Corrections Law §168-o says when a sex offender can ask to be removed from the registry or change his or her risk level. The way to ask is by filing a motion. After filing the motion, the sex offender is entitled to a court-appointed attorney if he or she can’t afford one.

Removal: After 30 years, a level 2 sex offender who has not been designated a sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender, can petition the court to be relieved from all registration requirements and be removed from the registry. This petition can be made once every 2 years starting 30 years after the first registration.

Modification: A registered sex offender can petition the sentencing court or the court which made the determination regarding the level, for an order downwardly modifying his or her risk level. This petition can be made once per year. The petition should say which new level is being requested and the reasons why the change should be granted. For example, a level 3 sex offender might ask the court to change to level 2 because there have been no new sexual offenses for many years, and/or the sex offender has been in treatment, and/or the risk level is keeping the sex offender from getting a job or housing, and/or the sex offender has changed his or her life. It is helpful to speak to an attorney.

The District Attorney can also ask the court to modify the risk level when the sex offender has been convicted of a new crime or has violated a condition that the District Attorney thinks increases the risk of re-offense.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS IN NEW YORK

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Was your money or property stolen? Were you hurt or stalked? Maybe your identity was taken? If so, you are a crime victim. If an arrest was made and the police told you that the case is going to court, you may have questions about the criminal case. A criminal case is not the same as a civil case. In a civil case, you start a court case for money or damages against the person who injured you. But, in a criminal case, you can’t bring criminal charges against the person that injured you. You go to the police and the police bring the criminal charges. Criminal cases are handled by a lawyer from the District Attorney’s Office on behalf of the People of the State of New York. The lawyer is called a prosecutor. As a crime victim, you are not a party and you do not need to hire an attorney. What you have to say about what happened is part of the prosecutor’s case against the defendant. But, you do have certain rights in the case. If you are a crime victim, an immediate family member of a person who was killed, or an immediate family member or guardian of a child crime victim, this section is for you.

Crime Victim Rights During the Criminal Case

In general, court personnel must treat crime victims with dignity, courtesy, and respect. Court personnel has a duty to explain your rights to you as a crime victim in the criminal case. See Fair Treatment Standards for Crime Victims. Below is a list of some of your rights. But many of these rights are not automatic. If you want to stay informed about what is going on in the criminal case you should keep in contact with the prosecutor. If you want to have a say about the defendant’s release from prison, you must contact the Parole Board.

Right to Know What Happening– If you want to be notified of what is happening during the criminal case, give the prosecutor your address and phone number. You have the right to be notified of:

  • defendant’s first appearance before a judge
  • defendant’s release from jail while the criminal case is pending
  • entry of a guilty plea
  • trial
  • sentencing
  • maximum and minimum terms of any prison sentence
  • reversal or modification of the judgment after an appeal
  • defendant’s release – speak to the prosecutor if you want to be notified or register with VINE (Victim Information & Notification Everyday System)

Right to Protection– You have the right to be protected from threats, physical injury, or any intimidation. The court must help you with the steps to take to be protected, including getting an order of protection if you need one.  When you are waiting to appear in court, you are entitled to wait in a secure area away from all other witnesses in your case.

Right to Have a Say in Sentencing and Parole– A pre-sentence report is prepared by the Department of Probation whenever the defendant has been convicted of a felony, or a misdemeanor when the sentence includes probation or more than 180 days in prison. The Pre-Sentence Report can contain a Victim Impact Statement from you. It is important that the prosecutor knows your views about sentencing.

You have a right to share your views with the court concerning the release of the defendant while the case is pending. You also have a right to share your views about sentencing or alternatives like community supervision and Restitution.

If the defendant is being sentenced to a felony, you have a right to make a statement. If you want to speak in court you have to ask the Judge at least 10 days before the court date. Ask the prosecutor to help you.

If the defendant goes to prison, you have a right to submit a written or recorded Victim Impact Statement or appear in person before the Parole Board when the Board is deciding whether to release the defendant. Learn more from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Restitution is when the court orders the person who committed the crime to pay the victim back for a loss that happened because of the crime. It must be ordered by the court at the Sentencing. Restitution is NOT payment for future losses, mental anguish, or “pain, and suffering.” If you are a victim of a crime, ask the prosecutor in the criminal case to ask the Judge to order the defendant to pay restitution for your expenses. Keep records of your losses and expenses that were a direct result of the crime, like original receipts, and give copies to the police, prosecutor, and Department of Probation. Your claim for restitution will be included in any probation investigation report (pre-sentence, pre-plea, or pre-disposition report).

The Judge may order restitution in a lump sum or by a payment schedule. If the Judge orders restitution you do not have to deal directly with the defendant. Payments will come to you from the local probation department or the Department of Correctional Services. 

Examples of Restitution Expenses– You can ask for restitution to pay for any expense that you had to pay because of the crime. Common examples:

  • Medical bills, like any out of pocket costs for doctors, physical therapy, ambulance, transportation, and emergency services
  • Counseling bills
  • Loss of salary or earnings
  • Property expenses, like to replace, repair, and/or clean damaged or stolen property
  • Funeral expenses
  • Insurance deductibles
  • Incidental expenses, like changing locks, towing fees, and the cost of changing your phone number

 

Restitution Hearing– The defendant can object to the amount of restitution ordered by the judge. The court may hold a restitution hearing. The defendant may question the number of your losses. The court may consider the defendant’s ability to pay. The prosecutor may contact you and ask you to testify at the restitution hearing. Tell the prosecutor if you are uncomfortable about appearing in court.

Restitution From A Child– Children can be ordered to pay restitution by the Family Court. But, restitution from juvenile delinquents may be limited to $1,500 and restitution from persons in need of supervision(PINS) may be limited to $1,000. In some cases, you can get money from the child’s parents or guardians by starting a civil case.

Crime Victim Compensation– There are ways to recover your losses or expenses that happened because of the crime:

  • You can recover money from the defendant in the criminal case. The prosecutor will ask the Judge for this for you. 
  • You can file a civil case against the defendant or a liable third party. Visit When Someone Owes You Money to learn more. You have to hire a lawyer or do this yourself, the prosecutor does not file a civil case
  • If the crime happened while you were at work or happened because of work, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are limited to medical care, payment for lost wages, payment for permanent disability, rehabilitation or death benefits
  • If the crime is related to a vehicle, you may qualify for benefits under an automobile insurance policy or MVAIC (Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation)
  • You may be able to get compensation from other sources such as mortgage insurance, homeowner’s/renter’s insurance, liability insurance, disability (private or state), veteran’s benefits, social security benefits, or a funeral/burial policy
  • You can file a claim with another victim assistance program, like a rape crisis center, or domestic violence program. Ask the prosecutor’s office about these programs or search here
  • You can file a claim with the New York State Office of Victim Services for losses that you cannot recover elsewhere. File the claim within one year of the crime or within one year of the victim’s death

You can seek assistance from more than one source, but you can’t be paid twice for the same loss or expense.

Victim Impact Statement– A Victim Impact Statement is written or verbal information from the crime victims about how the crime has affected them. Victim Impact Statements are used at Sentencing and Parole.

The Victim Impact Statement is the crime victim’s story of how the crime affected his or her life, how life was before the crime compared to after the crime, and how the crime has impacted other people. The Victim Impact Statement may include:

  • Details of physical impacts, like injuries, disfigurement, disability, ongoing medical treatment, and rehab
  • Details of emotional and psychological impact, like feelings of guilt, anger, fear, anxiety, depression, loss of trust, safety or security concerns, insomnia, nightmares, counseling, substance abuse
  • Details of financial impact, like medical bills, counseling expenses, transportation costs to medical and court appointments, loss of income
  • Details of lifestyle, family, or social impact, like changes in routine, childcare, divorce, no longer participating in events or activities, no longer driving, no longer working, forced relocation
  • A statement about what outcome the crime victim would like and why
  • Photographs (these are not returned)

A Victim Impact Statement should not include profanity or threats to the defendant or court personnel.

Pre-Sentence Report– Prior to sentencing, the Department of Probation prepares a pre-sentence report for the judge. The Judge takes the Victim Impact Statement into account when deciding the disposition of a case. The investigation unit of the Department of Probation usually contacts the crime victims to find out how the crime impacted their lives. This written report becomes part of the Probation Department’s investigation and reports to the court. A crime victim can write his or her own statement or the Department of Probation can write the information into the report. Victim Impact Statements are seen by the Judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and probation officer. 

Parole Board– A Victim Impact Statement is also used by the Parole Board when deciding whether to release the inmate from prison. A crime victim can submit a written or recorded statement. For more information, visit the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Sex Offender Registry– Since 1996, any defendant convicted of a sexual offense or an attempt to commit a sexual offense must register with the New York State Sex Offender Registry. This includes defendants convicted in other states.  Only level 2 and 3 sex offenders are listed on the public directory. Anyone can search the sex offender registry by offender name, county, or zip code. The registry provides locations and descriptions, including pictures where available, of registered sex offenders. Anyone can sign up for sex offender alerts that email you if a sex offender moves in or out of your neighborhood.

A defendant convicted of a sex offense must pay a sex offender registration fee and a supplemental sex offender victim fee (the money does not go to the victim). The defendant is also required to provide a DNA sample and pay a fee for his or her DNA to be added to the New York State DNA Databank.

Criminal Domestic Violence Cases– Most criminal domestic violence cases start with an arrest and criminal charges for Domestic Violence Acts. There is no crime called domestic violence. These are acts done by one partner to another partner in an “intimate relationship.” (Learn more at Domestic Violence Basics) A criminal court order of protection can be ordered against a person who has been charged with a crime.

A criminal domestic violence case can also start by going to the police or the district attorney to report a crime. The police can charge the other person with a crime and during any of the court appearances in Criminal Court, the court can issue an Order of Protection.

Important! It is best to get help from a domestic violence advocate who knows the process and can support you through the case and help you stay safe. The District Attorney’s Office will have people that can help. And you can visit Domestic Violence Resources to find more help.

Mandatory Arrest– New York State has “mandatory arrest” for domestic violence cases. This means that in an intimate partner relationship the police must make an arrest when:

  • A felony is committed
  • A person disobeys an order of protection by making contact when there is a stay-away order
  • A person disobeys an order of protection by committing a family offense crime (see Domestic Violence Acts)

In mandatory arrest cases, even if you ask the police not to make an arrest, they must do so. But, the police don’t have to make an arrest when you don’t want them to if:

  1. There is no order of protection, and
  2. The abuser commits a misdemeanor crime.

The police are not allowed to ask you if you want the abuser arrested or if you want to “press charges.” But, the police can make an arrest if they think that is the best course of action.

A mandatory arrest does not always happen right away. It means that the police must make an arrest even if the abuser leaves before the police arrive.

Whenever the police investigate domestic violence, they must give the victims written notice of their legal rights. See Information for Victims of Domestic Violence.

CPL 140.10(4) 

Temporary Order of Protection– There are many different courts that decide criminal cases. The court that decides the case, depends on the charges, the age of the abuser, and where you live.  After an arrest, the abuser will go in front of a judge. This is called an Arraignment. Unlike a Family Court Case, the case is not between the victim and the abuser. The government, named the “People of the State of New York” starts the case against the defendant. The lawyer for the government is called a prosecutor or assistant district attorney (ADA). The abuser is called the defendant. The victim of abuse is called the complaining witness.

At the arraignment, the judge can either:

  • Set Bail
  • Hold the abuser in jail without bail
  • Release the abuser. If the abuser is released, they must come back to court on a future date.

An arraignment usually takes place within 24 hours of the arrest. The District Attorney asks the judge for a Temporary Order of Protection (TOP) for the victim or complaining witness. The judge decides whether to issue the Order of Protection and what terms and conditions to put in the order.

The Temporary Order of Protection sets the rules the abuser must follow while the order is in effect. The order protects the person the defendant is suspected of harming, their property, and in some cases, their children, pets, or other relatives.  

Drug Case-Your case may be sent to a special Domestic Violence courtroom that deals only with these cases. If you have an Order of Protection from both Family Court and a criminal court, your case may be sent to an Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) courtroom. These courtrooms have better resources for domestic violence cases. Read more about Domestic Violence (DV) and Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Courts.

The District Attorney prosecutes the defendant for the crimes. You do not participate in the case other than as a witness. You don’t need an attorney.

No criminal charges can be dropped unless the District Attorney’s office and the judge agreed to drop the charges. If the charges against the abuser are dropped, the Temporary Order of Protection is no longer in effect.

If the abuser violates the order during the case, the abuser could be charged with criminal contempt.  

Final Order of Protection– If the abuser is convicted, the judge can order a final Order of Protection, counseling, conditional discharge, a fine, probation, and or jail. The judge can also order payment of Restitution to pay you back for medical bills and other costs. The Order can last from 1 year to several years, depending on the crimes. A final Order of Protection is good wherever you go. Even if you travel or move to another state.

If the criminal case is dismissed, the Order of Protection will no longer be in effect.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

How to remove your criminal and/or juvenile record in NJ

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What is an Expungement?

An expungement is the removal and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement, criminal justice agency, or juvenile justice agency concerning a person’s apprehension, arrest, detention, trial, or disposition of an offense within the criminal or juvenile justice system. Unless otherwise provided by law, if an order for expungement is granted, the adult arrest, the record of law enforcement taking you into custody as a juvenile, conviction, adjudication of delinquency, disposition, and any related proceedings are considered not to have occurred. See the section on Comparison of Adult and Juvenile Terms for a glossary of terms that are specific to juvenile court.

The New Jersey expungement law states in detail who is eligible for an expungement. 

You should review the currently applicable provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 through N.J.S.A. 2C:52- 32 to determine if you are eligible. If eligible you must prepare and file a Petition for Expungement. The Petition for Expungement must be filed in the Superior Court in the county where you were arrested or prosecuted as an adult or taken into custody or adjudicated as a juvenile. A judge then decides whether you should be granted an Expungement Order.

In general, these materials provide basic information about how to file a Petition for Expungement. These materials do not provide specific advice about a particular legal problem that you may have, and they are not a substitute for seeing a lawyer. If you encounter a problem or are in doubt as to whether you need a lawyer, talk to one.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.