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Which Types of Criminal Records Can Be Expunged?


In New Jersey, felonies or criminal offenses, disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses, which are like misdemeanors, and almost all ordinance violations can be expunged. New Jersey has a list of felonies that are not expungable and they include the most serious crimes like criminal homicide, death by auto, kidnapping, sexual assault and things of that nature because the legislature has determined that such serious crimes are too serious to be expungable.

If Arrested for a Charge that was Previously Expunged, Is It a Second Offense?

This is a phenomenally philosophical question, although it would not be in the eyes of the law because the previous record had been expunged, which is almost like it never happened. That said, for sentencing purposes, the New Jersey statute says, “(E)xpunged records or sealed records under prior law of prior arrests or convictions shall be provided to any judge, County prosecutor, probation department, or the attorney general when pre-sentence reports for purposes of sentencing arise.” A prosecutor will argue that they had a prior conviction, even though it was expunged, so the person is a second offender, but the defense attorney will argue that the charge had been expunged so the previous incident never happened. I don’t think there are any reported cases on it, but the judge will probably find that the person is a second offender, since the expungement statute specifically says that expungements are revealed for the purposes of sentencing.

Does An Expungement Remove The Arrest Record If The Case Never Went To Trial?

There will be a record of the person being arrested and the record of an arrest for a non-serious crime stays with the police department and the municipal court, including fingerprint information, which will also go into the “National Criminal Information Center” or NCIC, where the arrest can also be seen, even if the charges are dismissed the next day.

Can Someone Have Multiple Arrests Or Charges Expunged?

Someone can be arrested 100 times and, as long as they are found not guilty, they can get all of those arrests expunged; they can either expunge them all at once, or each time they were found not guilty. Any arrests that did not result in a conviction can be expunged, with no limit.

Are Certain Types Of Convictions Easier To Have Expunged Than Others?

It’s not a matter of ease, but whether or not the person was statutorily barred from doing so, usually  meaning someone with too many felony convictions or too many disorderly person convictions won’t be able to get them expunged and they must also abide by the waiting periods before they can file for an expungement. However, when it comes to ease, a low level offense like harassment is just as easy to expunge as an aggravated assault for punching someone in the face, because the statue is not set up to differentiate between the levels. There is a timeframe difference, so they will have to wait 10 years from completion of their sentence before they can file to have a felony expunged, although that can be reduced to five years if the petitioner can prove it’s in the public interest to do so.

That is called early pathway expungement and for disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses people have to wait five years from the date they completed their sentence to do an expungement while those with local ordinance convictions have to wait for two years.  On the other hand, there is no waiting period if a case had a not guilty verdict or outright dismissal, so the expungement can be filed right away. If they went into a course of supervisory treatment like the pre-trial intervention program in superior court, or a conditional discharge for drugs in municipal court or a conditional dismissal for other offenses in municipal court, once they completed that program, they can file for an expungement after six months.

Someone dealing with a pending criminal matter can’t have anything expunged; they have to wait until their current case was complete, and the petitioner will have to sign a verification stating they did not have any pending criminal charges when they were filling for the expungement.

For more information on What Can Be Expunged, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (856) 861-6355 today.

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