There are certain factors that must be considered when determining whether or not you qualify for an Expungement of your New Jersey Criminal Record. First is the nature of the offense you seek to have expunged. Second, is the number of convictions (not arrests) Add a quick link which scrolls down. Third, is the time since the last violation occurred.
If you have been charged with any of the following crimes, then you will not be eligible for an expungement.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Criminal Restraint
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Death by Auto
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- False Swearing
- Forcible Sodomy
This chart will help show you what types and number of offenses can be expunged in New Jersey.
|Offense||Number of offenses||Waiting Period|
|Arrest not resulting in conviction||Unlimited||Immediately|
|Disorderly persons offenses w/no felony convictions||4||3 years|
|Disorderly Persons and felony conviction||No more than 3 DP, and 1 Felony||5 Years or 3 with “early pathway expungement.”|
|Criminal/Felony (not including crime spree)||1 and no more than 3 DP’s.||5 Years or 3 with “early pathway expungement.”|
|Municipal Ordinance||If no felony convictions, and no more than two DP’s, then unlimited.||2 years|
|Completion of PTI, Conditional Discharge, Conditional Dismissal||One||6 months after completion of sentence.|
Expungement of Municipal Court Violations
There are two types of Municipal Court offenses that can be expunged, disorderly persons offenses and municipal ordinances. Disorderly Persons (DP) is New Jersey’s equivalent to a misdemeanor. It is minor in that it is not a criminal conviction, but it does create a permanent entry on a on a criminal record, even if it’s only an arrest. A person may have no more than four disorderly person’s offenses expunged, as long as there are no criminal/felony convictions. If you have a criminal conviction, you may have three DP’s expunged as well as the criminal charge. Finally, you may expunge one Conditional Discharge for drugs or a Conditional Dismissal along with your other expungeable violations.
Municipal Ordinances are rules, regulations, and codes which are enacted by the local township governing body. They cover building standards and quality of life standards like noise and disruptive behavior standards. Violation of these ordinances is neither a felony nor disorderly persons violation. A person may expunge an unlimited number of Ordinance violations unless they have more than one criminal conviction or two disorderly persons violations. You must wait five years after the date of the completion of any municipal court ordered sentence (three years if applying for “early pathway”) before you may apply for the expungement.
Expungement of Felony Violations
Felony or Criminal offenses are violations of New Jersey criminal code and are heard in the Superior Court. Felonies/Crimes are graded from First (the most serious) to Fourth Degree (the least serious). In New Jersey, a person may have his or her criminal record expunged if they only have one criminal conviction or they have multiple criminal convictions, but the offenses occurred over a short time (crime spree exception). You must wait six years after the date of the completion of any criminal sentence (five years if applying for “early pathway”) before you may apply for the expungement. In addition, along with any single felony, you may expunge up to three disorderly persons offenses.
Crime Spree Expungements
Generally speaking you can only expunge one criminal/felony charge ever. However, there is one exception that may allow you to expunge more than one felony or more than 4 disorderly persons offenses (3 if done with expunged with a felony). Under the “crime spree exception, a person can expunge an unlimited number of qualifying violations if the violations where resolved in a single judgement of conviction OR they were so closely related in time and circumstances that would show it was really one continuous act of bad conduct.
Some people resolve their criminal cases by entering into Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). Th PTI program allows for a person to have their criminal case put on hold while they serve a term of probation. Once that term probation is successfully completed, the charges are dismissed…but not expunged. This means that you will still have an arrest record to deal with. This arrest record can be expunged along with any other violations.
EARLY PATHWAY EXPUNGEMENT
In 2018, New Jersey reduced the waiting period for an expungement for felony from ten-years to six-years and for a disorderly persons offense to five years. However, you may be eligible to have that time reduced under New Jersey’s Early Pathway Expungement law. The “early pathway expungement law will allow a person to reduce the waiting period for a felony to five years after completing the sentence, and three years for disorderly persons violations, if the person meets the following additional requirements:
- It has been at least five years since you completed your sentence for the most recent offense (including DP’s);
- You have not been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the conviction for your most recent offense; and
- The court finds that expungement is in the public interest.
An “Early Pathway” Expungement is not guaranteed. The court must be convinced that you are not only eligible, but that you have truly learned from your mistake and bettered yourself. The more serious the crime, the more convincing it will take to convince the court that you charges should be expunged early.
Steven W. Hernandez, Esq., is an experienced criminal defense lawyer and has successfully helped many clients clear their criminal record. Contact Steven W. Hernandez for a FREE CONSULTATION at 732-286-2700.