What type of criminal charge can be expunged in New Jersey?
New Jersey is slightly different than Pennsylvania when it comes to expungements. In New Jersey, a person can have their criminal record expunged if the charges were dismissed or withdrawn and did not result in a criminal conviction. A person is also eligible for an expungement if the charges were dismissed following the completion of a diversionary program, like a conditional discharge or pre-trial intervention, but this individual must wait 6 months from the dismissal date. Unlike Pennsylvania, a person convicted of a felony (indictable offense), may apply for an expungement 5 years after they have completed their sentence or term of probation. A New Jersey judge will order the expungement if the court finds that it is in the public’s best interest to grant it. A person can avoid the need to demonstrate public interest if he/she waits 10 years instead of 5 years. The following crimes are not eligible for expungement following a conviction in New Jersey:
- Criminal homicide
- Luring or enticing
- Human trafficking
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault
- Criminal sexual contact
- Criminal restraint
- False imprisonment
- Endangering the welfare of a child
Drugs Crimes & New Jersey Expungements
Previously, a conviction for distribution of drugs or narcotics was not eligible for an expungement in New Jersey, but that rule has now been modified. Person’s convicted of distribution of marijuana less than or equal to 25 grams, or any drug, if the conviction was a Third or Fourth degree offense, is eligible for expungement and one will be granted if the court finds that it is in the public’s best interest to do so.
Disorderly Person Offenses & New Jersey Expungements
Convictions for disorderly person’s offenses can be expunged after 5 years, provided that the person has not been convicted of a crime either before or after the disorderly offense conviction. Violations of local ordinances are also eligible for expungements as long as the person has never been convicted before or after of a crime or a disorderly person’s offense on two or more occasions.
Timing & New Jersey Expungements
After a petition to expunge a criminal record, a court must grant a hearing between 25-60 days after the filing. If the court grants an expungement order, the attorney must serve the order on the appropriate state agencies who may take several more weeks to expunge the record.