The New Jersey Division of State Police Criminal Information Unit provides fingerprint-based criminal history background checks to anyone who requests a copy of his or her record. In March this year, the New Jersey State Police began using the independent live scan fingerprinting services of Sagem Morpho, Inc., a private company under contract with the State of New Jersey. This changes the way you get a copy of your criminal history record.
Why do I need a copy of my record?
You may need a copy of your personal criminal history record for many reasons, including:
- Immigration applications,
- Naturalization applications,
- Visa applications,
- Personal records,
- Expungement (clearing) of your criminal record, or
- To demonstrate good conduct.
Note: Before you begin the process of requesting your criminal history record, check to see if you have any outstanding warrants for your arrest. Currently, the New Jersey State Police Criminal Information Unit does not report outstanding bench warrants to municipalities. However, to be safe, you should satisfy all outstanding warrants before you begin this process.
How do I get a copy of my record?
In order to be fingerprinted for one of the purposes listed above, you must download Form A (Personal Records Request) of the Universal Fingerprint Form from the New Jersey State Police website. The form outlines the purpose of your fingerprinting and tells you where to mail the criminal history record request.
If you need to be fingerprinted for any other reason not included in the list above, you must download the appropriate form on the New Jersey State Police website. If you do not have access to the Internet, call the New Jersey State Police Criminal Information Unit at (609) 882-2000, ext. 2918 and ask them to mail you the appropriate form.
Where do I go to get fingerprinted?
After you have completed the form, contact Sagem Morpho to schedule a time and place to have your fingerprints recorded at one of their approved sites. The quickest and easiest way to schedule your appointment is on their website.
If you do not have Web access, call Sagem Morpho, toll-free, at 1-877-503-5981 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon). A toll-free TTY number, 1-800-673-0353, is available for hearing-impaired applicants with a modem- equipped telephone. Spanish-speaking operators are available upon request.
What do I have to bring to my fingerprint appointment?
You must bring all of the following to your appointment:
- Your completed Universal Fingerprint Form (NJAPS2 Version 3.0). The home address that you enter on the form must be identical to the home address printed on the identification that you provide. Your address must be complete and accurate in order for Sagem Morpho to mail back the results of your criminal history background check.
- Identification. Your ID must be issued by a federal, state, county, or municipal body for identification purposes. It must include your photograph, name, home address, and date of birth. Acceptable identification includes a passport or a valid photo driver’s license or photo ID issued by New Jersey’s or any state’s MVC or DMV.
- The required fee. The fee is $41.00. You may pay by credit card, electronic debt check, or money order. Payment will be charged to your account when you schedule your appointment. If you scheduled your appointment on the telephone and agreed to pay by money order, you will need to bring to your appointment your money order for the exact amount, made payable to Sagem Morpho, Inc. Sagem Morpho will give you an Applicant ID number when you schedule your appointment. This number must be included on your money order. No other form of payment is accepted at the fingerprint site. If you made a payment on the Internet, you must bring the payment confirmation with you.
Note! If you do not present all of the above information, you will be turned away from the fingerprint site and you will have to pay an additional fee to reschedule your appointment. Also, if you appear for fingerprinting at a site where you are not scheduled or on a different date and time, you will be turned away and not fingerprinted. You may also have to pay the $11 appointment fee.
What happens after I have been fingerprinted?
Your scanned fingerprints are sent electronically to the New Jersey State Police Criminal Information Unit for processing. You should receive a response within 10 business days. If you do not receive a response after 10 business days, contact the New Jersey State Police Criminal Information Unit at (609) 882-2000, ext. 2918.
If you discover an error on your criminal history record after you receive it, or if you need more information, please contact Legal Services of New Jersey’s Prisoner Reentry Project by calling LSNJ-LAW™, LSNJ’s statewide, toll-free legal hotline, at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529). Outside of New Jersey, please call (732) 572-9100 and ask to be transferred to the hotline. You can also write to:
Prisoner Reentry Project
Legal Services of New Jersey
P.O. Box 1357
Edison, NJ 08818-1357
This article appeared in the October 2008 edition of Looking Out for Your Legal Rights®.