New Jersey Expungements: Frequently Asked Questions

When facing a criminal charge, many people don't think of the long-term consequence beyond the sentence. But a criminal record can follow you for the rest of your life, limiting options for college, financial aid, loans, housing, and employment. Fortunately, New Jersey understands the importance of giving people second chances. Under New Jersey law, you can use the legal process to clear a criminal conviction or arrest from your record through expungement in some cases.

In December of 2019, the New Jersey legislature instituted major revisions to New Jersey's expungement law. Lawmakers intended to make the expungement process more accessible and more flexible. Currently, only 6% of those eligible for expungements petition the courts. However, expunging past arrests and criminal convictions from your record is an excellent way to open up more educational and employment opportunities for people who are unlikely to commit another crime.

New Jersey Expungements: Frequently Asked Questions

 
  1. What is an expungement?
  2. What crimes can I have expunged in New Jersey?
  3. What if I have multiple convictions for the same incident?
  4. Can I have a New Jersey drunk driving offense expunged?
  5. Can I have drug offenses expunged in New Jersey?
  6. How do I know what's on my criminal record?
  7. How much does it cost to have your record expunged in New Jersey?
  8. How many expungements can you get in New Jersey?
  9. Am I eligible to have my record expunged in New Jersey?
  10. Do I have to wait for an expungement? How long?
  11. What are the benefits of expungement?
  12. When can my expunged record still be used?
  13. How do I expunge my New Jersey criminal record?
  14. What records do I need to collect for an expungement?
  15. What forms do I need to fill out for an expungement?
  16. How do I file and serve the expungement forms?
  17. What happens after I file an expungement package?
  18. Do I have to have a hearing for an expungement?
  19. What happens in an expungement hearing?
  20. What do I do after the judge signs the expungement order?
  21. Why would a judge deny my expungement petition?
  22. Can I expunge a juvenile record?
  23. How long does an expungement take?
  24. What is an “early pathway” expungement?
  25. What is a “compelling circumstances” analysis?
  26. How can I speed up my expungement?
  27. After I've expunged my record, do I have to tell prospective employers?
  28. Can anyone access my expunged records?
  29. What can I do if my expunged record shows up in a background check?
  30. Can immigration access my expunged record?
  31. Will an expunged record show up on a background check?
  32. I want to join the military. Do I need to tell the military about my expunged record?
  33. I'd like to work in finance. Will I need to tell my employer about my expunged records?
  34. I'd like to become a nurse. Do I have to disclose my expunged record?
  35. I want to become a teacher. Do I have to disclose my expunged record?
  36. I want to become a law enforcement officer. Will my expunged record still be an issue?
  37. I heard that New Jersey recently revamped its expungement laws. What changed?
  38. Do I need a lawyer for an expungement?

What is an expungement?

Expungement is the legal process used to clear an arrest or criminal conviction from your record. Title 2C of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice contains New Jersey's expungement laws.

New Jersey law defines expungement as the “extraction, sealing, impounding, or isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person's detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.” While expungement removes records from public view, they do still exist.

Expunged records include “complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets,” and judicial docket records.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 , (2019). Because many agencies hold these records, including police, courts, and more, expungement can be a time consuming and detail-oriented process. While you have to have a lawyer for an expungement, an attorney experienced in expungements can make the process faster and more efficient.

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What crimes can I have expunged in New Jersey?

Under New Jersey law, if you've only committed one indictable offense – the equivalent of a felony in other states – in your lifetime, you are eligible for an expungement in five years. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 (2019). If a court convicted you of two or more indictable offenses, you are only eligible for an expungement under limited circumstances or after a longer waiting period.

For disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses – the equivalent of a misdemeanor in other states – you may have up to five offenses expunged if you don't have any prior criminal history. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3 (2019). If you have an indictable offense as well, you may have up to three disorderly persons offenses expunged under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2.

  1. Clean Slate

Under a new “clean slate” provision, you may be eligible to have your entire arrest and convictions ten years after completion of supervision. Even if you were previously unable to expunge an offense because of an earlier expungement or multiple indictable offenses, you can now expunge your entire record. However, serious indictable offenses like murder and sexual assault are still ineligible.

Eventually, the court will have an automated system, and petitions will no longer be accepted. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-5.3, -5.4 (2019). Once automatic procedures are in place, the New Jersey courts will automatically expunge an entire record of arrests and convictions after ten years of living a crime-free life.

  1. Indictable Offenses

You can have one indictable offense, plus up to three disorderly persons offenses, expunged five years after completion of supervision. There is an “early pathway” for the expungement of indictable offenses. In these cases, the court may grant an expungement less than five years from completing supervision or payment of a fine if:

· The court finds you've substantially complied with a court-ordered payment plan, or couldn't do so because of compelling circumstances; or

· At least four years have passed, you have had no further convictions for an indictable or disorderly persons offense, and the court finds compelling circumstances to grant an expungement.

See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2, 52-3 (2019). Compelling circumstances typically include opportunities for job training, education, employment, community involvement, or sports participation.

  1. Disorderly Persons Offenses

You can have up to five disorderly persons offenses, including petty disorderly offenses, expunged five years after completing supervision, provided you have no prior criminal history. If you have an indictable offense, the limit is three disorderly persons offenses. The new early pathway option discussed above requires only a three-year waiting period. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3 (2019).

  1. Ordinance Violations

There is no limit on how many ordinance violations you can have expunged. You must wait two years after completion of supervision. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4 (2019).

  1. Juvenile Delinquency

You can have all juvenile records expunged except those ineligible for expungement if committed by an adult. There is a three year waiting period after completing supervision. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1 (2019).

  1. Young Drug Offenders

There is no limit on expungement for the possession or use of controlled dangerous substance charges. You must wait one year after completion of supervision. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-5 (2019).

  1. Arrest Without Conviction

There is no limit on expungements for arrests that didn't result in a conviction. However, there is a six month waiting period for charges dismissed due to a diversion program.

Type of Offense

Number of Expungements

Waiting Period

Clean Slate

1 indictable offense and 3 disorderly persons offenses

10 years

Indictable Offense (felony)

1

5 years

Early Pathway: 4 years

Disorderly Person's Offense (misdemeanor)

5 or 3 with an indictable offense

5 years

Early Pathway: 3 years

Municipal Ordinance Violations

Unlimited

2 years

Juvenile Delinquency

Entire record unless it is a crime that could not be expunged as an adult

3 years

Young Drug Offenders

Unlimited for possession or use of CDS

1 year

Arrest Without Conviction

Unlimited

No waiting period;

6 months if result of a diversion program

There are some crimes, including attempting or assisting the crime, that are ineligible for expungement in New Jersey:

  • Criminal homicide, except death by auto
  • Kidnapping
  • Human trafficking
  • Criminal restraint
  • Luring or enticing
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault
  • Criminal sexual contact with a minor
  • Robbery
  • Endangering the welfare of a child if based on sexual contact
  • Perjury
  • False swearing
  • Arson and related offenses
  • Treason
  • Producing or possessing chemical weapons, biological agents, or nuclear or radiological devices
  • Photographing or filming a child in a prohibited sexual act or for portrayal in a sexually suggestive manner
  • Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act or the simulation of an act, or to be portrayed in a sexually suggestive manner
  • Distributing, possessing with the intent to distribute, or using a file-sharing program to store items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child
  • Possessing or viewing items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child
  • Leader of a child pornography network

See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2. Conspiracies to commit these crimes are also ineligible for expungement. Title 39 motor vehicle-related violations are also ineligible for expungement. This includes speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

You can't expunge some crimes committed before September 1, 1979:

  • Manslaughter
  • Treason
  • Anarchy
  • Rape or forcible sodomy
  • Embracery
  • Conspiracies or attempts to commit any of the foregoing; or aiding, assisting, or concealing persons accused of the foregoing crimes.
  • Abuse of Public Office

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What if I have multiple convictions for the same incident?

In many cases, individuals may face multiple charges from one incident or multiple incidents that happened the same day. If your criminal record contains multiple disorderly persons convictions during one, uninterrupted criminal act, the court may treat these convictions as one disorderly persons offense during expungement. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(a) (2019).

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Can I have a New Jersey drunk driving offense expunged?

No, you cannot have any motor vehicle offenses expunged from your record in New Jersey. Expungements are limited to criminal records, and a DUI is a traffic offense. New Jersey law states, “[n]othing contained in this chapter shall apply to arrests or conviction for motor vehicle offenses contained in Title 39.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-28 , (2019).

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Can I have drug offenses expunged in New Jersey?

New Jersey law does permit the expungement of drug offenses for young offenders. You may be able to have a drug offense expunged if:

  • The drug offense was for possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS);
  • It has been at least one year since the end of your conviction, termination of probation or parole or discharge from custody, whichever is later;
  • You've met all the conditions of your parole or probation;
  • You haven't had any additional convictions;
  • You didn't have any previous charges dismissed because of a diversion program; and
  • You were 21 or younger at the time of the offense.

This expungement exception doesn't apply to convictions for sale or distribution of a CDS or possession with intent to sell. Exceptions include marijuana (where the total amount was less than one ounce) and hashish (where the amount is less than five grams.) See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-5 (2019).

Some drug offenses are now eligible for expungement immediately after you've completed your sentence, paid your fine, or completed supervision, including:

  • Distribution or possession or having under control with intent to distribute less than one ounce of marijuana or less than five grams of hashish in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(12) or such violation and a “school zone” or “public housing” violation under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7a or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1a (i.e., distributing, or possessing or having under control with intent to distribute, on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or within 500 feet of public housing facility, public park or public building); or
  • Obtaining, possessing, using, being under the influence of, failing to make lawful disposition of, marijuana or hashish in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(3), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(4) or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10b or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10c; or
  • A violation involving marijuana or hashish as above and using or possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2.

If you had a conviction before this New Jersey legal provision went into effect on June 15, 2020, you can petition the court for expungement. For anyone convicted of these offenses after the provision went into effect, the court will automatically issue an “order of nondisclosure” covering relevant court, probation, and law enforcement records. This seal will have a similar effect to expungement.

For offenses involving distribution of marijuana (one ounce or more, but less than five pounds) or hashish (over five grams but less than one pound) in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(11), the court will not issue an order of nondisclosure. You may, however, have this offense expunged after three years.

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How do I know what's on my criminal record?

When completing your expungement petition, you must include your entire criminal history. If you don't, an agency will object to your expungement. That means it's probably a good idea to request your complete arrest record to ensure you know what's on there. You can do this through:

  • New Jersey State Police: If you only have a New Jersey record, you should request it from the New Jersey State Police. You will need to complete an application, schedule a fingerprinting appointment, and pay a fee. You can find instructions on the New Jersey State Police website.
  • FBI: A request with the FBI will return nationwide records. You will need to submit an application, fee, and fingerprints, which local law enforcement can typically take for you. You can find instructions on the FBI’s website as well as processing time. Be aware that it can take several weeks to get mailed results, but electronic copies are much faster.
  • Your attorney: If you are using an attorney for your expungement, they can help. You'll need to fill out the application and provide your fingerprints.

If the police did not fingerprint you, but only signed a complaint against you, you won't have an arrest sheet with the New Jersey State Police. In that case, the police department or court that handled the case will have a copy of the record.

If you have a juvenile or municipal record, you can get your record from the court that handled your case. Even if these don't appear on state police or FBI records, the court could deny your expungement if you leave them off.

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How much does it cost to have your record expunged in New Jersey?

As of December 2019, there are no expungement filing fees in New Jersey. However, you should also be prepared to pay to get copies of your record and distribute copies of your petition and, later, the order to all involved agencies.

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How many expungements can you get in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you may have one indictable offense or felony expunged. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 (2019). For disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses – the equivalent of a misdemeanor in other states – you may have up to two offenses expunged if you don't have any prior criminal history. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3 (2019).

Type of Offense

Number of Allowable Expungements

Indictable Offense (felony)

1

Disorderly Person's Offense (misdemeanor)

5 or 3 with an indictable offense

Municipal Ordinance Violations

Unlimited

Juvenile Delinquency

Entire record unless it is a crime that could not be expunged as an adult

Young Drug Offenders

Unlimited for possession or use of CDS

Arrest Without Conviction

Unlimited

Under the new clean slate option, you may expunge additional eligible offenses after ten years.

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Am I eligible to have my record expunged in New Jersey?

You are generally presumptively entitled to an expungement if:

  • Your crime is eligible for an expungement,
  • You meet the required waiting period, and
  • You have not committed any more crimes.

However, certain crimes are ineligible for expungement in New Jersey:

"Records of conviction for the following crimes specified in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice shall not be subject to expungement:

  • Section 2C:11-1 et seq. (Criminal Homicide), except death by auto as specified in section 2C:11-5;
  • Section 2C:13-1 (Kidnapping);
  • Section 2C:13-6 (Luring or Enticing);
  • Section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8) (Human Trafficking);
  • Section 2C:14-2 (Aggravated Sexual Assault);
  • Section 2C:14-3a (Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact);
  • If the victim is a minor, section 2C:14-3b (Criminal Sexual Contact);
  • If the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim, section 2C:13-2 (Criminal Restraint) or section 2C:13-3 (False Imprisonment);
  • Section 2C:15-1 (Robbery);
  • Section 2C:17-1 (Arson and Related Offenses);
  • Section 2C:24-4a. (Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child);
  • Section 2C:24-4b(4) (Endangering the welfare of a child);
  • Section 2C:24-4b(3) (Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act);
  • Section 2C:24-4b.(5)(a) (Selling or manufacturing child pornography);
  • Section 2C:28-1 (Perjury);
  • Section 2C:28-2 (False Swearing);
  • Section 2C:34-1b.(4) (Knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actor's child);
  • Section 2 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-2) (Terrorism);
  • Subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-3) (Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices); and
  • Conspiracies or attempts to commit such crimes.

Records of conviction for any crime committed by a person holding any public office, position or employment, elective or appointive, under the government of this State or any agency or political subdivision thereof and any conspiracy or attempt to commit such a crime shall not be subject to expungement if the crime involved or touched such office, position or employment." N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2.

Conspiracies to commit these crimes, assisting, and attempting these crimes are also ineligible for expungement. Similarly, Title 39 motor vehicle-related violations are ineligible for expungement, including speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Some crimes aren't eligible for expungement if committed before September 1, 1979, including:

  • Manslaughter
  • Treason
  • Anarchy
  • Rape or forcible sodomy
  • Embracery
  • Conspiracies or attempts to commit any of the foregoing; or aiding, assisting, or concealing persons accused of the foregoing crimes.
  • Abuse of Public Office

If your crime is eligible for expungement, you may be eligible for an “early pathway” expungement if you:

  1. Meet the waiting period

Type of Offense

Standard Waiting Period

Early Pathway

Clean Slate

10 years

n/a

Indictable Offense (felony)

5 years

4 years

Disorderly Person's Offense (misdemeanor)

5 years

3 years

Municipal Ordinance Violations

2 years

n/a

Juvenile Delinquency

3 years

n/a

Young Drug Offenders

1 year for possession or use of CDS

n/a

Arrest Without Conviction

No waiting period;

6 months if result of a diversion program

n/a

Certain Drug Offenses

No waiting period

 
  1. Have not been convicted of another crime or disorderly person's offense; and
  2. Can show that there are compelling circumstances to grant the expungement.

As part of an early pathway expungement, you will need to show the court that there are compelling circumstances to grant the early expungement. Proof of compelling circumstances is one of the most significant aspects of the early expungement pathway. Essentially, you need to show that your character, behavior, accomplishments, and decisions since your conviction show that you are not likely to re-offend in the future.

The judge will also look at why expungement will be beneficial to you and society. These benefits might include opportunities for education, job training, employment or advancement, sports participation, or community involvement. The court will also examine your obligations such as your family, child support, traffic violations, your attempt to separate yourself from people with criminal backgrounds, and whether your crimes had any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

You will need to provide evidence that the conviction has impeded your ability to better yourself and lead a law-abiding life. For example, if you can't obtain a specific job or do certain volunteer work in the community because of your conviction.

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Do I have to wait for an expungement? How long?

Yes, you do need to wait until the payment of your fine or the completion of supervision at the end of your sentence, whichever is later, plus:

  • Ten years for an indictable offense, or five years through the early pathway option. Indictable offenses are the equivalent of a felony in other states.
  • Five years for a disorderly person's offense, including petty disorderly persons offenses, or three years for the early pathway option. Disorderly persons offenses are equivalent to misdemeanors in other states.
  • Two years for ordinance violations
  • Five years for juvenile delinquency
  • One year for young drug offender controlled dangerous substance (CDS) offenses
  • Six months for an arrest without conviction if the non-conviction is the result of a diversion program

There is no waiting period for an expungement for an arrest without conviction if the dismissal wasn't the result of a diversion program.

Type of Offense

Standard Waiting Period

Early Pathway

Clean Slate

10 years

n/a

Indictable Offense (felony)

5 years

4 years

Disorderly Person's Offense (misdemeanor)

5 years

3 years

Municipal Ordinance Violations

2 years

n/a

Juvenile Delinquency

3 years

n/a

Young Drug Offenders

1 year for possession or use of CDS

n/a

Certain Drug Offenses

No waiting period

n/a

Arrest Without Conviction

No waiting period;

6 months if result of a diversion program

n/a

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What are the benefits of expungement?

An arrest record can affect your life well beyond serving a sentence or paying a fine. Even misdemeanors can often affect your ability to get a job, college admission, financial aid, loans, renting an apartment, professional licensing, and insurance. You may also be unable to own, possess, or buy a firearm if convicted of:

  • An indictable offense or felony;
  • A disorderly person's offense or misdemeanor involving domestic violence; and
  • Some juvenile offenses.

Once agencies expunge your record in New Jersey, it's “deemed not to have occurred,”

"Unless otherwise provided by law, if an order of expungement is granted, the arrest, conviction and any proceedings related thereto shall be deemed not to have occurred, and the petitioner may answer any questions relating to their occurrence accordingly, except as follows:

a. The fact of an expungement, sealing or similar relief shall be disclosed as provided in section 2C:52-8b.

b. The fact of an expungement of prior charges which were dismissed because of the person's acceptance into and successful completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversion program shall be disclosed by said person to any judge who is determining the propriety of accepting said person into a supervisory treatment or other diversion program for subsequent criminal charges; and

c. Information divulged on expunged records shall be revealed by a petitioner seeking employment within the judicial branch or with a law enforcement or corrections agency and such information shall continue to provide a disability as otherwise provided by law." N.J.S.A. 2C:52-27.

In most cases, you can legally deny that the arrest and conviction occurred. Your record should no longer appear in background checks by the New Jersey State Police or the FBI. You should also be able to own or carry a firearm once again.

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When can my expunged record still be used?

Although an expungement removes your records from many state and federal databases, the agencies don't destroy your records. In some limited circumstances, some agencies and courts will still consider your expunged records.

Legal proceedings

If the polices arrest you again, the court can still use your record when determining bail, admission to supervised treatment or diversion programs, pretrial release, sentencing reports, and sentencing. If a victim files a claim with the Victims of Crime Compensation Office, the agency may consider your expunged record. If you are in prison, the prison can consider your expunged record when determining parole eligibility and to classify and assign you to prison.

Immigration matters

Non-citizens can also have records expunged in New Jersey regardless of citizenship status. However, immigration officials will consider all criminal records, even expunged records. You will need to disclose any arrest or conviction in your immigration applications.

Law-related jobs

Once agencies expunge your record in New Jersey, you don't have to disclose your conviction on most job applications. However, if you apply for specific law-related jobs, including those in law enforcement, state and local correctional facilities, and the judicial system, you will need to disclose your entire record, including expunged arrests and convictions. You will also need to disclose expunged records if you apply for a license to practice law.

Military jobs

When you join the military, you will also need to disclose any arrests or convictions regardless of whether you had them expunged. You will undergo a rigorous review of your criminal and credit history. In many cases, those in the military must be eligible for security clearances. Military officials want to ensure that you don't create a security or disciplinary risk.

Even if your criminal record might initially result in rejection for military service, you may be eligible for a waiver based on the severity of the offense and your age at the time. The military will also consider how long it's been since your conviction and your conduct and behavior since the arrest.

Additional agencies

Only certain agencies must expunge your record under New Jersey law, including courts, detention, and correctional facilities, law enforcement, and criminal agencies, and juvenile justice agencies. Under federal law, the FBI must also follow state expungement orders. Other federal agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement may still use your expunged records.

While most background check companies get their information from public databases, there are also countless private database companies. If your record is still in a private database or website, a letter from your attorney can be very effective. Under New Jersey law, someone can be fined if they know about your expungement and still disclose the expunged records' existence. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-30 (2009).

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How do I expunge my New Jersey criminal record?

Expunging a record in New Jersey is a multi-step process. You'll need to ensure that you follow each step carefully to ensure that your application succeeds and that all of the correct agencies receive notice of the expungement.

Expungement Petition

The expungement process begins with the expungement petition. You or your attorney will also need to submit the required documentation with your petition in the county. You will file your petition in the Superior Court of the county where your arrest or conviction happened.

Order for Hearing

Once you file your expungement petition, the court will assign a judge to your case. The judge will set a hearing date for your petition by signing an “Order for Hearing,” typically two months from your filing.

Service of Agencies

When the judge issues an Order for Hearing, you will need to serve copies of your expungement application and the order for hearing to all the agencies involved:

  • Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Expungement Unit
  • Attorney General of New Jersey
  • County prosecutor where your arrest or conviction occurred
  • Head of the police department where your arrest occurred
  • The chief law enforcement officer of any other law enforcement agency involved in the arrest
  • The warden or superintendent of any facility where you were incarcerated
  • If heard by a municipal court, the magistrate of the municipal court that heard the offense
  • County probation division if you had a conditional discharge, were enrolled in a diversion program, were granted a deferred disposition, owed fines, or served probation
  • County Family Division if you are seeking to expunge a juvenile record

Each of these parties will have the opportunity to object to your expungement. Reasons they might object include:

  • Failing to disclose your whole criminal record
  • Incomplete or incorrect information
  • Too many convictions
  • The offense isn't eligible for expungement
  • You haven't waited long enough
  • You have a new pending criminal charge

If someone objects, you will receive written notice of their objection, and they may also appear at the hearing. You must respond to the objection.

  1. Hearing

At the hearing, the agencies involved will have an opportunity to object to the expungement, and you will have an opportunity to respond. Just because someone objected doesn't mean the court will deny your expungement, but you need to respond. Whether the objection is successful will depend on the specific objection and whether it is factually or legally accurate.

  1. Expungement Order

If no agency objects, the judge will probably grant your expungement. In some cases, they may grant your objection without a hearing. If the judge grants your expungement, they will sign an Expungement Order.

  1. Service of Agencies

Once you have the signed Expungement Order, you will need to serve all involved agencies again. Once received, the agencies should remove your expunged records from their databases. Expunged records include “complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, 'rap sheets,' and judicial docket records.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1.

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What records do I need to collect for an expungement?

To complete your Expungement Petition, you'll need to get copies of your complete arrest and criminal records. To prepare your petition, you will need the following information about the offense you want to expunge:

  • The date of your arrest or the date you were taken into custody as a juvenile;
  • The statute and offense you were arrested for or convicted of;
  • The original indictment, summons, or complaint number;
  • The date of conviction or disposition;
  • The court's disposition and any punishment imposed;
  • The dates you paid your fines and the date you completed parole or probation if applicable.

The court will use this information to determine if your offense is eligible for expungement. You should also include your entire criminal record in your petition.

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What forms do I need to fill out for an expungement?

For an expungement, you'll need to complete:

  • Expungement Petition
  • Proposed Order for Hearing: The judge will use this order to schedule your hearing.
  • Expungement Order: If the judge grants your expungement order, they will sign this. The order should direct all New Jersey criminal and law enforcement agencies to “remove and isolate” your record.
  • Compelling Circumstances Certification: You should include this if applying for the early pathway to expungement or expunge a conviction for the sale or distribution of CDS or possession with intent to sell in the third or fourth degree. This certification explains why you want an expungement and why there are compelling circumstances to grant it. You will also attach any evidence to support this certification.
  • Modified Payment of Fine Certification
  • Proof of Notice: This document will certify that you sent your expungement petition package to all of the required agencies.

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How do I file and serve the expungement forms?

After completing your expungement package, you will need to sign your Expungement Petition in front of a notary public, who will notarize and stamp your petition. You should make three copies of your package and keep one copy for yourself. Your package should include:

  • A cover letter explaining the contents of the package;
  • The original documents and two copies;
  • Two large self-addressed stamped envelopes that the court will use to mail the filed copies of your documents back.

You will file your package in the county or court where the arrest or conviction occurred. You can mail it or file it in person. If you have arrests in more than one location, you can file in the court that handled your last case.

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What happens after I file an expungement package?

After the court received your package, it will assign a judge to your case. The judge will sign the Order of Hearing and schedule a date for your hearing. When you receive the filed documents back from the court, you will need to serve or distribute them to all of the agencies involved in your case.

Under New Jersey law, you must mail the documents within five days after the judge signs the Order of Hearing. You should send the copies via certified mail, return receipt requested:

  • Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Expungement Unit
  • Attorney General of New Jersey
  • County prosecutor where your arrest or conviction occurred
  • Head of the police department where your arrest occurred
  • The chief law enforcement officer of any other law enforcement agency involved in the arrest
  • The warden or superintendent of any facility where you were incarcerated
  • If heard by a municipal court, the magistrate of the municipal court that heard the offense
  • County probation division if you had a conditional discharge, were enrolled in a diversion program, were granted a deferred disposition, owed fines, or served probation
  • Division of Criminal Justice, Records and Identification Unit if the State Grand Jury processed your case
  • County Family Division if you are seeking to expunge a juvenile record

After receiving all of the return receipts, contact the court and ask if you should file them with the court before your expungement hearing or bring them with you to the hearing.

Each of these parties will have the opportunity to object to your expungement. Reasons they might object include:

  • Failing to disclose your whole criminal record
  • Incomplete or incorrect information
  • Too many convictions
  • The offense isn't eligible for expungement
  • You haven't waited long enough
  • You have a new pending criminal charge

If someone objects, you will receive written notice of their objection, and they may also appear at the hearing.

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Do I have to have a hearing for an expungement?

If no agency objects to your expungement, the judge may grant your expungement without a hearing:

"If, prior to the hearing, there is no objection from those law enforcement agencies notified or from those offices or agencies which are required to be served under 2C:52-10, and no reason, as provided in section 2C:52-14, appears to the contrary, the court may, without a hearing, grant an order directing the clerk of the court and all relevant criminal justice and law enforcement agencies to expunge records of said disposition including evidence of arrest, detention, conviction and proceedings related thereto."

N.J.S.A. 2C:52-11 (2009).

But, if the judge sets a hearing for your expungement and doesn't grant your request in advance, you must appear at the hearing. Failure to do so will result in the expungement denial.

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What happens in an expungement hearing?

If no one objects to your expungement, the hearing will typically be brief. You should be dressed professionally and bring a copy of your entire expungement package, including the draft Order of Hearing. If anyone is at the hearing to object, the judge will give them a chance to state their objections, and then you will have a chance to respond. The judge will then decide whether or not to grant your expungement.

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What do I do after the judge signs the expungement order?

Once you have the signed expungement order, you will need to send copies to all of the agencies you served with the Notice of Hearing:

  • Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Expungement Unit
  • Attorney General of New Jersey
  • County prosecutor where your arrest or conviction occurred
  • Head of the police department where your arrest occurred
  • The chief law enforcement officer of any other law enforcement agency involved in the arrest
  • The warden or superintendent of any facility where you were incarcerated
  • If heard by a municipal court, the magistrate of the municipal court that heard the offense
  • County probation division if you had a conditional discharge, were enrolled in a diversion program, were granted a deferred disposition, owed fines, or served probation
  • Division of Criminal Justice, Records and Identification Unit if the State Grand Jury processed your case
  • County Family Division if you are seeking to expunge a juvenile record

Receiving the signed Expungement Order will inform them that they should remove your records from their database. Remember, while an expungement will remover your records from these databases, the records still exist and can be accessed in some limited circumstances.

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Why would a judge deny my expungement petition?

While the courts grant many requests for expungement, in some cases, the court may deny your request if an agency objects. If they do object and your petition is not an “early pathway” petition, the objector has the burden to show why the court should deny your expungement.

"A petition for expungement filed pursuant to this chapter shall be denied when:

a. Any statutory prerequisite, including any provision of this chapter, is not fulfilled or there is any other statutory basis for denying relief.

b. The need for the availability of the records outweighs the desirability of having a person freed from any disabilities as otherwise provided in this chapter. An application may be denied under this subsection only following objection of a party given notice pursuant to 2C:52-10 and the burden of asserting such grounds shall be on the objector.

c. In connection with a petition under section 2C:52-6, the acquittal, discharge or dismissal of charges resulted from a plea bargaining agreement involving the conviction of other charges. This bar, however, shall not apply once the conviction is itself expunged.

d. The arrest or conviction sought to be expunged is, at the time of hearing, the subject matter of civil litigation between the petitioner or his legal representative and the State, any governmental entity thereof or any State agency and the representatives or employees of any such body.

e. Except as set forth in subsection a. of section 7 of P.L.2019, c.269 (C.2C:52-5.3) concerning a “clean slate” expungement petition, the person has had a previous criminal conviction expunged regardless of the lapse of time between the prior expungement, or sealing under prior law, and the present petition. This provision shall not apply:

(1) When the person is seeking the expungement of a municipal ordinance violation or,

(2) When the person is seeking the expungement of records pursuant to section 2C:52-6."

N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14 (2009).

The judge may deny a petition on statutory grounds, as listed above. For example, if you have not met the five-year waiting period for a standard Petition for Expungement for an indictable offense. Or the judge may deny your petition if there are no compelling circumstances for granting the expungement, the crime was too dangerous, or your behavior and conduct in the interim have not demonstrated rehabilitation.

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Can I expunge a juvenile record?

You can expunge some juvenile criminal records three years after completing sentencing, paying fines, or completing supervision, whichever is later. The process generally takes eight to ten months.

You are typically eligible to have a juvenile criminal record expunged if:

  • The juvenile court did not adjudicate you as a juvenile delinquent;
  • No court convicted you of a crime as an adult;
  • You don't have any pending criminal charges;
  • You haven't had an adult criminal record expunged;
  • You haven't committed a criminal offense that is ineligible for expungement.

Crimes that are ineligible for expungement include serious crimes such as:

  • Homicide
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • False swearing
  • Manslaughter

Juvenile crimes that are typically eligible for expungement include:

  • Drug possession
  • Burglary
  • Criminal mischief
  • Shoplifting
  • Identity theft
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Simple assault

To expunge a juvenile record, you follow the same procedure as expungement from an adult record. You will need to:

  • Obtain your complete criminal record as both a juvenile and an adult;
  • Complete a Petition for Expungement;
  • File forms in the county where you were convicted;
  • Obtain a Notice of Hearing from the judge assigned to your case;
  • Serve your expungement packed at the notice of hearing on all the agencies involved in your case;
  • Attend the Expungement Hearing; and
  • If granted, serve the Order of Expungement on all the agencies involved.

Once all agencies expunge your juvenile record, you can legally deny the conviction ever happened in most cases, including on applications and in job interviews. If, however, you apply for a job in law enforcement, with the judiciary, the military, you will need to disclose your expunged juvenile record. Keep in mind that if the police arrest you again, the court can consider your expunged records as well.

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How long does an expungement take?

Expungement in New Jersey can take six to ten months:

  • 1-6 weeks: You and your attorney get copies of your criminal records and prepare and file the Petition for Expungement.
  • 2-10 weeks: The court will assign a judge and set a hearing date. You and your attorney serve the Order of Hearing on the involved agencies. Then, the agencies review your file and prepare and file and objections.
  • 11-18 weeks: The judge decides the Petition for Expungement. If granted, you and your attorney will serve all of the involved agencies with the Expungement Order.
  • 12-28 weeks: The agencies expunge your records from their databases.
  • 24-28 weeks: The New Jersey State Police confirms they expunged your records.

It's essential to ensure that your initial application is complete, and you properly serve all the relevant parties. If not, the court may dismiss your petition, and you may have to start over. The case may also take longer is:

  • Any involved agencies ask for additional time to review your case;
  • The court has a backlog;
  • An agency objects to your petition; or
  • The court needs to perform a “compelling circumstances analysis” for your case.

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What is an “early pathway” expungement?

In New Jersey, after a waiting period, anyone convicted of less than two indictable offenses (felonies) is presumptively entitled to an expungement as long as their crime is eligible for expungement. For an indictable offense, the waiting period is five years, and for a disorderly person's offense (misdemeanor), the waiting period is five years. You may also use the “clean slate” provision to clear an indictable offense and three disorderly persons offenses after ten years. When you are presumptively entitled to expungement, the judge typically won't consider additional factors like personal character and the crime's circumstances or severity. Absent compelling circumstances, the court will probably grant your expungement.

An early pathway expungement allows someone to isolate and remove part of their record more quickly, but it has stricter guidelines. To receive an early pathway expungement, you must show “compelling circumstances” to grant the expungement. Essentially, the judge will typically look to your character, behavior, and decisions since your conviction determine whether you are likely to commit another crime in the future. Moreover, you may need to show that your conviction has limited your opportunities for things like job training, employment, community involvement, or participation in sports.

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What is a “compelling circumstances” analysis?

To grant an early pathway expungement, the court will need proof that compelling circumstances exist to grant an expungement. In the past, courts performed a “public interest” analysis, looking at your behavior, character, and the decisions you've made since your conviction to determine if you're unlikely to re-offend. Additionally, you needed need to show that your criminal record limited your opportunities to better your life and your community by preventing you from receiving certain jobs or volunteering in your community. While no one is entirely sure precisely how New Jersey courts will determine whether “compelling circumstances” exist to grant an expungement, the court will probably look for much of the same evidence.

With your expungement package, you will need to include evidence supporting your claims of compelling circumstances. You can include any diplomas or certificates you've earned, character references, proof of volunteer or charity work, rejection letters from prospective employers, rejection letters from prospective volunteer organizations, etc. The judge may also want to review transcripts from any plea deals or sentencing hearings.

Unlike standard expungement proceedings, you are not presumptively entitled to an early pathway expungement. The agencies involved in your case are much more likely to object to your expungement. The court will expect you to respond to their objections. The judge will also look closely at your crimes to determine if there were mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The judge may also expect you to testify at the hearing, although your attorney can typically argue the rest of your case.

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How can I speed up my expungement?

Aside from an “early pathway” expungement, there is no formal process for speeding up an expungement in New Jersey. An early pathway expungement allows you to apply before the standard waiting period if there are compelling circumstances. The process itself, however, is still lengthy. But there are a few ways to navigate the process as efficiently as possible:

Hire an attorney.

A lawyer experienced in expungements can ensure that the process is as fast as possible. They are familiar with the documents you need and the individual procedures at various courts, which vary across the state.

Gather your criminal records in person.

While you can request a copy of your disposition for each criminal case by mail, it can take weeks or even months to receive a reply by mail. Instead, go to the court that handled your offense in person to request your records. In many instances, you can get the records you need the same day.

Provide an accurate and complete criminal history.

With your expungement petition, you also need to provide a complete criminal history, including all arrests. You must also include arrests and convictions in other states, even if the offense isn't a crime in New Jersey. If you fail to include an accurate history, the New Jersey State Police or the county prosecutor will object. You will then have to amend your petition and serve each agency all over again.

Pay attention to details.

Review your petition carefully to ensure it is accurate. Even if your attorney prepares your petition, you should review it carefully.

Respond to requests for more information as quickly as possible.

If using an attorney, make sure you respond to their requests for more information as quickly as possible.

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After I've expunged my record, do I have to tell prospective employers?

Once agencies expunge your record, you do not have to admit that either the crime or the conviction occurred legally. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you apply for a job with law enforcement or the judicial system or enlist in the military, you will need to disclose your expunged record.

Moreover, some professional licensing applications, including applications for a license to practice law, also require that you reveal any arrest or conviction, regardless of expungement or dismissal. Similarly, if your job requires a security clearance, you must disclose your entire record, including any arrests that don't result in a conviction. Low-level offenses that occurred a long time ago, like marijuana possession or disorderly conduct, may not be disqualifying for a security clearance or employment. But you will still need to disclose everything.

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Can anyone access my expunged records?

No, not just anyone can access your expunged records. New Jersey law enforcement cannot use your expunged records unless you apply for a law enforcement job. Under federal law, the FBI must also remove your records from their database. New Jersey courts cannot release your expunged records to anyone, not even you, without a court order. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-19 (2009). Anyone who wishes to access your expunged records will need to show a “compelling need” and “good cause” to access them, receive the records, and use them:

Inspection of the files and records, or release of the information contained therein, which are the subject of an order of expungement, or sealing under prior law, may be permitted by the Superior Court upon motion for good cause shown and compelling need based on specific facts. The motion or any order granted pursuant thereto shall specify the person or persons to whom the records and information are to be shown and the purpose for which they are to be utilized. Leave to inspect shall be granted by the court only in those instances where the subject matter of the records of arrest or conviction is the object of litigation or judicial proceedings. Such records may not be inspected or utilized in any subsequent civil or criminal proceeding for the purposes of impeachment or otherwise but may be used for purposes of sentencing on a subsequent offense after guilt has been established.

There are some cases where you do need to reveal your expunged records. If you apply for a job in law enforcement, with the judicial system, or enlist in the military, you will need to disclose your record. You also need to include your expunged records in applications for some professional licenses or an application for a security clearance.

While New Jersey State Police and FBI background checks will not reveal your expunged records, you should also be aware that there are hundreds if not thousands of private databases. Your expunged records may appear in a background check if the company uses a private database rather than an official database.

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What can I do if my expunged record shows up in a background check?

First, you should make every effort to find out what company ran the background check. While official New Jersey State Police and FBI databases should not contain your expunged records, any of the thousands of private databases across the country may still contain your information.

Under New Jersey law, someone can be charged and fined if they know about your expungement and still disclose the expunged records' existence. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-30 (2009).

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person who reveals to another the existence of an arrest, conviction or related legal proceeding with knowledge that the records and information pertaining thereto have been expunged or sealed is a disorderly person. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2C:43-3, the maximum fine which can be imposed for violation of this section is $200.00.

An attorney can be incredibly helpful in notifying databases and requesting that they remove your expunged record.

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Can immigration access my expunged record?

Yes, immigration officials will consider all criminal records, even expunged records. You will need to disclose any arrest or conviction in your immigration applications. Some convictions will render you “inadmissible” to the U.S. even if expunged. In some cases, you may apply for a waiver of inadmissibility. You must be:

  • The immediate family member of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who will face extreme hardship if you leave the U.S.;
  • A Violence Against Women Act self-petitioner;
  • Inadmissible because of prostitution alone; or
  • Inadmissible because of a conviction that took place more than 15 years before your waiver application.

Criminal convictions eligible for an inadmissibility waiver include:

  • Crimes of moral turpitude, except murder or torture;
  • Prostitution or other illegal commercialized vices;
  • Involvement in serious criminal activity where you received immunity from prosecution;
  • Simple marijuana possession or being under the influence of less than 30g of marijuana or an equivalent amount of hashish;
  • Multiple convictions with a sentence of five years or less.

Waivers are discretionary, and immigration officials do not have to grant them. You will need to show that you have rehabilitated, and getting an expungement can help your admission case or help prevent your removal.

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Will an expunged record show up on a background check?

An expunged record should not show up on background checks by the New Jersey State Police or the FBI. However, only certain agencies must expunge your record under New Jersey law, including courts, detention, and correctional facilities, law enforcement, and criminal agencies, and juvenile justice agencies. Under federal law, the FBI must also follow state expungement orders.

While most background check companies get their information from public databases, there are countless private database companies. If your record is still on a private database or website, you should let them know and ask them to remove it. An attorney can be helpful in this process. Under New Jersey law, someone can be fined if they know about your expungement and still disclose the existence of the expunged records. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-30 (2009).

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I want to join the military. Do I need to tell the military about my expunged record?

Yes, you do need to disclose your entire criminal record when you enlist in the military. When you enlist in any of the military branches, they perform a moral character screening process that involves both a criminal background check and a check of your credit. The purpose of the screening is to reveal recruits who may become disciplinary problems or harm the military's mission. If you fail to disclose your entire record, you might fly under the radar temporarily. But you could later face a dishonorable discharge or even charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Failure to reveal any arrest or conviction is a violation of federal law.

A record will initially disqualify you for military service, but you may get a waiver. Showing that you had your record expunged and that you've led an exemplary life since your conviction can undoubtedly help.

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I'd like to work in finance. Will I need to tell my employer about my expunged records?

In the banking and financial services industry, government regulations prevent some people with criminal convictions from being hired. This is particularly true if the crime is related to the job. In effect, any conviction or pre-trial diversion for a crime of dishonesty or a breach of trust can prevent you from getting the job.

If you have your record expunged, you should be able to deny that the crime or conviction even occurred. However, sometimes private databases contain outdated information, and your conviction might still appear on a private background search.

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I'd like to become a nurse. Do I have to disclose my expunged record?

All registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in New Jersey must undergo a criminal background check as part of the licensing process. As part of the application, you will need to answer these questions:

  • Have you ever been summoned; arrested; taken into custody; indicted; tried; charged with; admitted into pre-trial intervention (P.T.I.); or pled guilty to any violation of law, ordinance, felony, misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense, in New Jersey, any other state, the District of Columbia or in any other jurisdiction? (Parking or speeding violations need not be disclosed, but motor vehicle violations such as driving while impaired or intoxicated must be.)
  • Have you ever been convicted of any crime or offense under any circumstances? This includes, but is not limited to, a plea of guilty, non vult, nolo contendere, no contest, or a finding of guilt by a judge or jury.
  • Are there any criminal charges now pending against you in New Jersey, any other state, the District of Columbia or in any other jurisdiction?

If you fail to disclose an arrest or conviction to the New Jersey Board of Nursing, you could face disciplinary charges and fail to receive a license.

If you have your record expunged, you may not be under a legal obligation to reveal your record. Under New Jersey law, once expunged, your record is “deemed not to have occurred, and the petitioner may answer any questions relating to their occurrence accordingly.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-27. However, it may be a good idea to disclose your record anyway. The Board of Nursing advises applicants to include all expunged arrests and convictions on their application. So, you should include it along with the circumstances, an explanation of the event, and proof of your expungement.

You may wonder why you should obtain an expungement if you'll need to disclose the record anyway. But many licensing boards, include the Board of Nursing, will deny your application if your conviction remains on your record. An expungement may be your best chance to enter the profession of your choice.

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I want to become a teacher. Do I have to disclose my expunged record??

As part of the certification process, the New Jersey Board of Licensing will conduct a criminal background check. The Criminal History Unit (CHU) conducts background checks for all teacher applicants, and all other school employees, in private and public schools throughout New Jersey. The CHU conducts criminal background checks through the New Jersey State Police and the FBI.

Under New Jersey law, the following offenses will permanently disqualify someone from working in a school:

  • First or second-degree crimes;
  • Sexual offenses;
  • Child abuse;
  • Sexual Offenses or child molestation under in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1 et seq.;
  • Endangering the welfare of a child or incompetent under N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4, -7;
  • An offense involving the manufacture, transportation, sale, possession, distribution or habitual use of a “controlled dangerous substance” as defined in the “Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1987,” N.J.S.A. 2C:35-1, et seq. or “drug paraphernalia” as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1 et seq.; or
  • A crime involving the use of force or the threat of force to or upon a person or property including, but not limited to, robbery, aggravated assault, stalking, kidnapping, arson, manslaughter and murder;
  • A weapons crime under Chapter 39 of Title 2C;
  • A third-degree theft crime under Chapter 20 of Title 2C;
  • Recklessly endangering another person under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-2;
  • Terroristic threats under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3;
  • Criminal restraint under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2;
  • Luring, enticing child into a motor vehicle, structure or isolated area under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6;
  • Causing or risking widespread injury or damage under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-2;
  • Criminal mischief under N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3;
  • Burglary under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2;
  • Usury under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-19;
  • Threats and other improper influence under N.J.S.A. 2C:27-3;
  • Perjury and false swearing under N.J.S.A. 2C:28-3;
  • Resisting arrest under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2;
  • Escape under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-5; and
  • Conspiracy to commit or an attempt to commit any of the crimes above.

See N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1 (2011). Anyone convicted of any of these crimes will not obtain certification through the New Jersey Department of Education. However, once you obtain an expungement, you are no longer required to disclose a crime. Moreover, if the background check run by the CHU turns up any crimes that are not on this list, they may not reveal them to a school district or school.

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I want to become a law enforcement officer. Will my expunged record still be an issue?

Yes, it can be. Under New Jersey law, expunged records are accessed if you apply for a job in law enforcement or the judicial system.

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I heard that New Jersey recently revamped its expungement laws. What changed?

As a result of legislative changes made in December of 2019, many New Jersey's expungement law provisions changed. The New Jersey legislature intended to make second chances simpler to obtain. Most of these changes went into effect as of June 15, 2020.

These changes make expungement easier and more accessible, adding automated expungements, updated procedures, new standards for early pathway expungements, and more drug offenders' options.

  1. Clean Slate Provisions

The new clean slate provisions will allow more people to expunge their records under New Jersey law. Individuals can clear an entire record of arrests and convictions ten years after their most recent conviction even if they were statutorily unable to pursue expungement because of an earlier expungement or multiple indictable offenses. Once automatic procedures are in place, the New Jersey courts will automatically expunge an entire record of arrests and convictions after ten years of living a crime-free life.

  1. E-filing

Within a year, New Jersey courts must develop and maintain an electronic system for petitioners to file expungement applications. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-10.1 (2019). This system will electronically notice and serve the petition and supporting documents on the Superintendent of State Police, the Attorney General, and the county prosecutor. The system will also compile a list of all possible relevant judiciary records for the petitioner and all parties. The parties served will then have 60 days to verify the information and note any objections. After signing an expungement order, the court will then send copies to all of the parties electronically.

  1. Automated Expungement Provisions

The revisions require the creation of a task force to develop automated processes for expungement. After implementation, the courts will automatically handle clean slate expungements for those eligible, eliminating the need to file petitions manually.

  1. New Waiting Periods

The revisions also reduce the waiting period for expungement of indictable offenses from six years to five years. Moreover, arrests that don't lead to convictions will no longer need to file a petition. The Administrative Office of the Courts will develop new procedures.

  1. Expedited Expungement of Marijuana Convictions

Now, those convicted of certain lesser marijuana-related offenses will be eligible for expungement of their records immediately after completing their sentence, paying fines, or completing supervision. The new law also regrades many drug offenses from indictable offenses (felonies) to disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors). Because individuals can expunge up to five disorderly persons offenses but only one indictable offense, more drug offenders will be eligible to have their record expunged.

  1. Traditional Eligibility Revised

Under the traditional expungement path, a previous conviction won't bar you from obtaining an expungement. You may still seek expungement of the later crime even if the earlier crime isn't eligible for expungement.

  1. Public Interest or “Early Pathway” Applications

In previous years, “early pathway” expungements had to undergo a “public interest analysis.” This analysis was needed to show that granting an early expungement was in the public interest. The burden on the petitioner was strict and required a great deal of documentation. The revisions change that standard to “compelling circumstances” and relieve some of the burdens on expungement petitioners.

  1. Simplified Filing

You must now file expungement applications in the latest case location. This eliminates the additional burden of getting permission from one court to file an expungement petition with cases in multiple locations.

  1. No More Expungement Application Fees

As of December of 2019, New Jersey no longer has a $75 expungement application fee.

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Do I need a lawyer for an expungement?

The court will not require you to retain a lawyer for an expungement. However, navigating the applications, required documentation, and determining whether you are eligible for an expungement can be complicated and overwhelming. An experienced expungement attorney can be your best chance to clean up your record. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are here to assist you. Call 888-535-3686, or reach out through our online form.

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​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website.  In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County.  In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County,  In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties.  Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law.  The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship.  The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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