Changes to Criminal Expungement Process in New Jersey

New Jersey has passed a new law that makes it easier for some people that have criminal records expunge their history. An expungement serves to wipe an arrest, conviction, or any other related proceedings from an individual’s record. Legally speaking, after an expungement, it is as though the incident had never occurred. This comes with some limitations such as employment applications or in subsequent criminal charges.

For the most serious crimes or most persistent offenders, expungement is still not available. However, for those looking to put a mistake far into their past, the new law, signed in by Governor Christie on January 19, 2016, implements new changes to the expungement process in New Jersey.

Shorter Waiting Periods

Previously, the waiting period to have an offense expunged from a record was 10 years in criminal cases or 5 years for less serious disorderly persons offenses. In the new law, a criminal offender can petition a court for expungement 5 years after the date of conviction, payment of fine, end of probation, or their release from incarceration, whichever is the latest date. For the smaller crimes, the wait time is now only 3 years. To be granted the new waited period, it must be proven to the court that the expungement is in the public interest and gives proper consideration to the nature of the crime, along with the person’s character and conduct since the charges.

Drug Court Graduates

There is now a term of special probation through New Jersey’s Drug Court program. Expungement can be achieved by completing a course though this program.

Arrest Records

Even if the person is was charged with a crime but was never convicted, there may still be a record of the arrest when a background check or public record search is completed. The new law has a process that ensures this information cannot be found during these searches when the person was never convicted.

If you have a past crime haunting your records, contact us today. At Erik B. Jensen, our attorneys know the best defense for expungement. Our team will help allow you to move forward with your life.