How to Obtain A Copy of Your New Jersey Criminal Record

The attorneys at Wolf Law frequently receive inquiries from individuals regarding the procedures for obtaining their criminal record.  Usually these individuals are interested in expunging their criminal record and are unsure of or are unable to recall exactly what their entire criminal record consists of.

Eligibility for expungement in New Jersey is dependent upon the type and number of criminal convictions that you have on your record. Moreover, a failure to disclose your entire criminal history on a petition for expungement, even out of state arrests or offenses that resulted in a dismissal or a finding of not guilty, will cause the State to object to your expungement.  Thus, before applying for an expungement, if you are unsure of what exactly your record consists of, it is very important that you obtain an accurate copy of your criminal record. Accordingly, this article has been developed to assist you in answering the most common questions asked about obtaining an accurate copy of your criminal record.

The most accurate way to obtain a complete copy of your criminal record is through the FBI.  Although there are a multitude of private background check companies on the Internet, many of the background check services that these companies provide are inaccurate or incomplete.  By obtaining your record directly through the FBI, however, you can ensure that you will receive an accurate copy of your complete criminal record.  The information you receive through the FBI will include not only all of the records that are available in New Jersey, but will also include criminal information from all other states as well. This is the same source of information relied upon by the County Prosecutor Offices to decide whether or not to object to an expungement so it permits the Expungement Attorney to properly address all issues in advance.

There are two ways that you can request a copy of your record through the FBI, both of which include fingerprinting as part of the process.

1. Requesting your record directly from the FBI.

You can request a copy of your criminal record directly from the FBI through their website. In order to do so, you must follow the instructions on the website, which require that you be fingerprinted by a law enforcement entity and then submit your fingerprint card to the FBI, along with a completed application and payment of an $18.00 fee by money order or bank check.  According to the FBI’s website, current processing time for a background check is 13-15 weeks.  Unfortunately, when you request your criminal record yourself directly from the FBI, there is no way to expedite the process.

2. Requesting your record through Wolf Law.

You can also contact the expungement attorneys at Wolf Law to obtain a copy of your criminal record.  The expungement lawyers at Wolf Law work with authorized FBI channelers to obtain your criminal record information.  A channeler is an FBI approved private entity that collects your personal information and fingerprints and submits this information to the FBI on your behalf.  The benefit of submitting your request in this manner is that the processing time is able to be expedited.  Rather than waiting 13-15 weeks to obtain the information yourself from the FBI, the channelers we work with are usually able to obtain this information within 7-10 days.   If you would like us to assist you in obtaining your record, we would provide you with fingerprint cards and an application.  You would simply need to go to your local police agency and have your fingerprints taken and return them to us along with the completed application. We will obtain a copy of your complete criminal record, review it thoroughly, and provide you with a written opinion as to whether your offenses are eligible for expungement.   Our fee for this service is $195.00 which includes all costs.

Alternatively, if  you reside in New Jersey and wish to obtain a copy of your New Jersey record alone, you can also obtain a background check from the New Jersey State Police (“NJSP”) by completing an application and then going in person to a NJSP fingerprint site and getting fingerprinted.  The processing time to receive a copy of your New Jersey record through the NJSP is usually a few weeks.  As explained above, your New Jersey record will be included if you get your criminal history through the FBI.   The criminal record provided through the NJSP, however, will be limited to your New Jersey record alone, thus, the information provided by the NJSP may not be complete.  You may be required to request additional records through the courts where your convictions took place for any matters not reflected on the records your receive from the NJSP.  We therefore recommend that you obtain a copy of your full criminal record through the FBI.

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