New Jersey Expungement Law. 2C:52-2.
The New Jersey law in regard to the expungement of indictable offenses or criminal convictions is covered under New Jersey statute 2C:52-2. The law specifically states:
- In all cases, except as herein provided, a person may present an expungement application to the Superior Court pursuant to this section if:
the person has been convicted of one crime under the laws of this State, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction; or
the person has been convicted of one crime and less than four disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime, or any prior or subsequent conviction for another disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense such that the total number of convictions for disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses would exceed three, whether any such crime or offense conviction was within this State or any other jurisdiction; or
the person has been convicted of multiple crimes or a combination of one or more crimes and one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, all of which are listed in a single judgment of conviction, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime or offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application, whether any such conviction was within this State or any other jurisdiction; or
the person has been convicted of multiple crimes or a combination of one or more crimes and one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, which crimes or combination of crimes and offenses were interdependent or closely related in circumstances and were committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a comparatively short period of time, regardless of the date of conviction or sentencing for each individual crime or offense, and the person does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime or offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application, whether any such conviction was within this State or any other jurisdiction.
The person, if eligible, may present the expungement application after the expiration of a period of six years from the date of his most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later. The term “fine” as used herein and throughout this section means and includes any fine, restitution, and other court-ordered financial assessment imposed by the court as part of the sentence for the conviction, for which payment of restitution takes precedence in accordance with chapter 46 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes. The person shall submit the expungement application to the Superior Court in the county in which the conviction for the crime was adjudged, which contains a separate, duly verified petition as provided in N.J.S.2C:52-7 for each conviction sought to be expunged, praying that the conviction, or convictions if applicable, and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged. The petition for each conviction appended to an application shall comply with the requirements set forth in N.J.S.2C:52-1 et seq.
Notwithstanding the provisions concerning the six-year time requirement, if a fine which is currently subject to collection under the comprehensive enforcement program established pursuant to P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-1 et al.) is not yet satisfied due to reasons other than willful noncompliance, but the time requirement of six years is otherwise satisfied, the person may submit the expungement application and the court may grant an expungement, provided, however, that if expungement is granted under this paragraph, the court shall provide for the continued collection of any outstanding amount owed that is necessary to satisfy the fine or the entry of civil judgment for the outstanding amount in accordance with section 8 of P.L.2017, c.244 (C.2C:52-23.1).
Additionally, an application may be filed and presented, and the court may grant an expungement pursuant to this section, although less than six years have expired in accordance with the time requirements when the court finds:
(1) the fine is satisfied but less than six years have expired from the date of satisfaction, and the time requirement of six years is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered pursuant to N.J.S.2C:46-1 et seq., or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the fine; or
(2) at least five but less than six years have expired from the date of the most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; and
the person has not been otherwise convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the most recent conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that expungement is in the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense or offenses, and the applicant’s character and conduct since the conviction or convictions.
In determining whether compelling circumstances exist for the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, a court may consider the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person’s age at the time of the offense or offenses, the person’s financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the person’s ability to pay.
- Records of conviction pursuant to statutes repealed by this Code for the crimes of murder, manslaughter, treason, anarchy, kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, arson, perjury, false swearing, robbery, embracery, or a conspiracy or any attempt to commit any of the foregoing, or aiding, assisting or concealing persons accused of the foregoing crimes, shall not be expunged.
Records of conviction for the following crimes specified in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice shall not be subject to expungement: N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq. (Criminal Homicide), except death by auto as specified in N.J.S.2C:11-5 and strict liability vehicular homicide as specified in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.165 (C.2C:11-5.3); N.J.S.2C:13-1 (Kidnapping); section 1 of P.L.1993, c.291 (C.2C:13-6) (Luring or Enticing); section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8) (Human Trafficking); N.J.S.2C:14-2 (Sexual Assault or Aggravated Sexual Assault); subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor, subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (Criminal Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim, N.J.S.2C:13-2 (Criminal Restraint) or N.J.S.2C:13-3 (False Imprisonment); N.J.S.2C:15-1 (Robbery); N.J.S.2C:17-1 (Arson and Related Offenses); subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, or causing the child other harm); paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Photographing or filming a child in a prohibited sexual act or for portrayal in a sexually suggestive manner); paragraph (3) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (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); subparagraph (a) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Distributing, possessing with intent to distribute or using a file-sharing program to store items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child); subparagraph (b) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Possessing or viewing items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child); section 8 of P.L.2017, c.141 (C.2C:24-4.1) (Leader of a child pornography network); N.J.S.2C:28-1 (Perjury); N.J.S.2C:28-2 (False Swearing); paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1 (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.
- In the case of conviction for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession thereof with intent to sell, expungement shall be denied except where the crimes involve:
(1) Marijuana, where the total quantity sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than one ounce;
(2) Hashish, where the total quantity sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than five grams; or
(3) Any controlled dangerous substance provided that the conviction is of the third or fourth degree, where the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense and the petitioner’s character and conduct since conviction.
- In the case of a State licensed physician or podiatrist convicted of an offense involving drugs or alcohol or pursuant to section 14 or 15 of P.L.1989, c.300 (C.2C:21-20 or 2C:21-4.1), the court shall notify the State Board of Medical Examiners upon receipt of a petition for expungement of the conviction and records and information pertaining thereto.
As set forth above, an individual will be eligible for an expungement if at least six years has expired from the completion of their sentence and they have not been convicted of more than three disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses as well as another criminal conviction. If this is the case, the person will be eligible for an expungement.
An expungement means that the individual’s conviction will be deemed sealed and to have not legally occurred. The records that pertain to the offense will be sealed from the general public and will not be available for review except in very limited and specific circumstances. There are obvious benefits to having a record expunged which can include increased access to jobs, housing and other opportunities.
An expungement is completed by the filing of an expungement petition in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Once the expungement is filed, the court will set down a hearing date. The county prosecutors, police, state police and sheriff will all receive notice of the hearing date. They will have an opportunity to object to the expungement. If they do not object, the expungement will likely be granted if it meets all of the legal requirements. If the expungement is granted, a Superior Court Judge will sign the expungement order. Once the order is signed, it must be served on all parties who have records or evidence that relate to the offense. The state police will verify that the statewide records have been expunged by sending a letter at the end of the process.
If you or someone you know would like to speak with one of our attorneys about an expungement, call our attorneys or click on the contact us tab. One of our lawyers will set up a time to meet with you and discuss your options.