Governor Chris Christie recently signed into law a measure designed to ease the path toward expungement of certain criminal records. The new law shortens the waiting periods for expungement of criminal records and makes various changes to other expungement procedures and requirements.
Under the new law, a person convicted of a crime is permitted to file an expungement petition, which may include additional, separate petitions seeking to expunge up to two other convictions for disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses. The application can be filed after the expiration of 5 years from the date of the person’s most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration. Previously the waiting period to file an expungement petition with respect to a crime was 10 years.
A person convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, but not convicted of a crime, may apply for expungement after the expiration of 3 years from the date of the person’s most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration. Previously the waiting period to file an expungement petition with respect to disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offense was 5 years.
A person arrested or charged with a crime, disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense but not convicted may have all records and information relating to the arrest or charge expunged immediately by the Superior Court. A person seeking expungement of Municipal Court charges is not required to pay a fee for the expungement application.
A person who is, or was prior to the effective date of this new law, sentenced to the State’s Drug Court Probation Program and who successfully completes the Program may have all records and information relating to prior arrests, detentions, convictions, and proceedings for any offense set forth in the Criminal Code, Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes expunged.
This legislative update is only meant to summarize this new law. There are many nuances and details within the new law that are not identified or described within this update. If you have ever been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, if you’ve been successfully discharged from the State’s Drug Court Probation Program, or if you have ever been arrested or charged with an offense that did not result in a conviction or finding of guilt, contact this office for a free consultation regarding the expungement of your records.
by Ryan S. Malc
Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf