Title 2C The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice - 2C:52-2, 2C:52-3, 2C:52-4, 2C:52-5 and 2C:52-6

NEW JERSEY EXPUNGEMENT LAW SUMMARY

New Jersey statutes allow expungement of indictable offenses and disorderly offenses, if the defendant does not have any prior or subsequent indictable offenses, less than 3 convicted disorderly offenses when expunging an indictable offense, and no more than 4 when expunging a disorderly offense. A waiting period that begins at the completion of the sentence must be met (5 years for disorderly offenses – 6 years for indictable offenses). Not all offenses are eligible.

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Full Title 2C The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice - 2C:52-2, 2C:52-3, 2C:52-4, 2C:52-5 and 2C:52-6

N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 (Indictable Offenses), 2C:52-3 (Disorderly Persons), 2C:52-4 (Municipal Ordinance Violations), 2C:52-5 (Young Drug Offenders) and 2C:52-6 (Arrests with no conviction)

2C:52-2. Indictable Offenses.

a. In all cases, except as herein provided, a person may present an expungement application to the Superior Court pursuant to this section if: the person has been convicted of one crime under the laws of this State, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction; or

the person has been convicted of one crime and less than four disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime, or any prior or subsequent conviction for another disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense such that the total number of convictions for disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses would exceed three, whether any such crime or offense conviction was within this State or any other jurisdiction; or the person has been convicted of multiple crimes or a combination of one or more crimes and one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, all of which are listed in a single judgment of conviction, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime or offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application, whether any such conviction was within this State or any other jurisdiction; or

the person has been convicted of multiple crimes or a combination of one or more crimes and one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, which crimes or combination of crimes and offenses were interdependent or closely related in circumstances and were committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a comparatively short period of time, regardless of the date of conviction or sentencing for each individual crime or offense, and the person does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime or offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application, whether any such conviction was within this State or any other jurisdiction.

The person, if eligible, may present the expungement application after the expiration of a period of six years from the date of his most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later. The term “fine” as used herein and throughout this section means and includes any fine, restitution, and other court-ordered financial assessment imposed by the court as part of the sentence for the conviction, for which payment of restitution takes precedence in accordance with chapter 46 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes. The person shall submit the expungement application to the Superior Court in the county in which the conviction for the crime was adjudged, which contains a separate, duly verified petition as provided in N.J.S.2C:52-7 for each conviction sought to be expunged, praying that the conviction, or convictions if applicable, and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged. The petition for each conviction appended to an application shall comply with the requirements set forth in N.J.S.2C:52-1 et seq.

Notwithstanding the provisions concerning the six-year time requirement, if a fine which is currently subject to collection under the comprehensive enforcement program established pursuant to P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-1 et al.) is not yet satisfied due to reasons other than willful noncompliance, but the time requirement of six years is otherwise satisfied, the person may submit the expungement application and the court may grant an expungement, provided, however, that if expungement is granted under this paragraph, the court shall provide for the continued collection of any outstanding amount owed that is necessary to satisfy the fine or the entry of civil judgment for the outstanding amount in accordance with section 8 of P.L.2017, c.244 (C.2C:52-23.1).

Additionally, an application may be filed and presented, and the court may grant an expungement pursuant to this section, although less than six years have expired in accordance with the time requirements when the court finds:

(1) the fine is satisfied but less than six years have expired from the date of satisfaction, and the time requirement of six years is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered pursuant to N.J.S.2C:46-1 et seq., or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the fine; or

(2) at least five but less than six years have expired from the date of the most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; and the person has not been otherwise convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the most recent conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that expungement is in the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense or offenses, and the applicant’s character and conduct since the conviction or convictions.

In determining whether compelling circumstances exist for the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, a court may consider the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person’s age at the time of the offense or offenses, the person’s financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the person’s ability to pay.

b. Records of conviction pursuant to statutes repealed by this Code for the crimes of murder, manslaughter, treason, anarchy, kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, arson, perjury, false swearing, robbery, embracery, or a conspiracy or any attempt to commit any of the foregoing, or aiding, assisting or concealing persons accused of the foregoing crimes, shall not be expunged.

Records of conviction for the following crimes specified in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice shall not be subject to expungement: N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq. (Criminal Homicide), except death by auto as specified in N.J.S.2C:11-5 and strict liability vehicular homicide as specified in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.165 (C.2C:11-5.3); N.J.S.2C:13-1 (Kidnapping); section 1 of P.L.1993, c.291 (C.2C:13-6) (Luring or Enticing); section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8) (Human Trafficking); N.J.S.2C:14-2 (Sexual Assault or Aggravated Sexual Assault); subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor, subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (Criminal Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim, N.J.S.2C:13-2 (Criminal Restraint) or N.J.S.2C:13-3 (False Imprisonment); N.J.S.2C:15-1 (Robbery); N.J.S.2C:17-1 (Arson and Related Offenses); subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, or causing the child other harm); paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Photographing or filming a child in a prohibited sexual act or for portrayal in a sexually suggestive manner); paragraph (3) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act or the simulation of an act, or to be portrayed in a sexually suggestive manner); subparagraph (a) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Distributing, possessing with intent to distribute or using a file-sharing program to store items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child); subparagraph (b) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Possessing or viewing items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child); section 8 of P.L.2017, c.141 (C.2C:24-4.1) (Leader of a child pornography network); N.J.S.2C:28-1 (Perjury); N.J.S.2C:28-2 (False Swearing); paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1 (Knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actor’s child); section 2 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-2) (Terrorism); subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-3) (Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices); and conspiracies or attempts to commit such crimes.

Records of conviction for any crime committed by a person holding any public office, position or employment, elective or appointive, under the government of this State or any agency or political subdivision thereof and any conspiracy or attempt to commit such a crime shall not be subject to expungement if the crime involved or touched such office, position or employment.

c. In the case of conviction for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession thereof with intent to sell, expungement shall be denied except where the crimes involve:

(1) Marijuana, where the total quantity sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than one ounce;

(2) Hashish, where the total quantity sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than five grams; or

(3) Any controlled dangerous substance provided that the conviction is of the third or fourth degree, where the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense and the petitioner’s character and conduct since conviction.

d. In the case of a State licensed physician or podiatrist convicted of an offense involving drugs or alcohol or pursuant to section 14 or 15 of P.L.1989, c.300 (C.2C:21-20 or 2C:21-4.1), the court shall notify the State Board of Medical Examiners upon receipt of a petition for expungement of the conviction and records and information pertaining thereto.

Effective October 1, 2018

2C:52-3. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses

a. Any person who has been convicted of one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State who has not been convicted of any crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, may present an expungement application to the Superior Court pursuant to this section. Any person who has been convicted of one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State who has also been convicted of one or more crimes shall not be eligible to apply for an expungement pursuant to this section, but may present an expungement application to the Superior Court pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-2.

b. Any person who has been convicted of one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State who has not been convicted of any crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, may present an expungement application to the Superior Court pursuant to this section if:

the person has been convicted, under the laws of this State, on the same or separate occasions of no more than four disorderly persons offenses, no more than four petty disorderly persons offenses, or a combination of no more than four disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, and the person does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, such that the total number of convictions for disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses would exceed four; or

the person has been convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses or multiple petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, or a combination of multiple disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, which convictions were entered on the same day, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application, whether any such conviction was within this State or any other jurisdiction; or

the person has been convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses or multiple petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, or a combination of multiple disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses under the laws of this State, which offenses or combination of offenses were interdependent or closely related in circumstances and were committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a comparatively short period of time, regardless of the date of conviction or sentencing for each individual offense, and the person does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction.

The person, if eligible, may present the expungement application after the expiration of a period of five years from the date of his most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later. The term “fine” as used herein and throughout this section means and includes any fine, restitution, and other court-ordered financial assessment imposed by the court as part of the sentence for the conviction, for which payment of restitution takes precedence in accordance with chapter 46 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes. The person shall submit the expungement application to the Superior Court in the county in which the most recent conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense was adjudged, which contains a separate, duly verified petition as provided in N.J.S.2C:52-7 for each conviction sought to be expunged, praying that the conviction, or convictions if applicable, and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged. The petition for each conviction appended to an application shall comply with the requirements of N.J.S.2C:52-1 et seq.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the five-year time requirement, an application may be filed and presented, and the court may grant an expungement pursuant to this section, when the court finds:

(1) the fine is satisfied but less than five years have expired from the date of satisfaction, and the five-year time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered pursuant to N.J.S.2C:46-1 et seq., or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the fine; or

(2) at least three but less than five years have expired from the date of the most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; and

the person has not been otherwise convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the most recent conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that expungement is in the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense or offenses, and the applicant’s character and conduct since the conviction or convictions.

In determining whether compelling circumstances exist for the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, a court may consider the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person’s age at the time of the offense or offenses, the person’s financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the person’s ability to pay.

Effective October 1, 2018

2C:52-4. Ordinances

In all cases wherein a person has been found guilty of violating a municipal ordinance of any governmental entity of this State and who has not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, and who has not been adjudged a disorderly person or petty disorderly person on more than two occasions, may, after the expiration of a period of 2 years from the date of his conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later, present a duly verified petition as provided in section 2C:52-7 herein to the Superior Court in the county in which the violation occurred praying that such conviction and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged.

CREDIT(S)

L.1979, c. 178, § 111, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-5. Expungement of records of young drug offenders

Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:52-2 and N.J.S.2C:52-3, after a period of not less than one year following conviction, termination of probation or parole or discharge from custody, whichever is later, any person convicted of an offense under chapter 35 or 36 of this title for the possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance, convicted of violating P.L.1955, c.77, s.3 (C.2A:170-77.5), or convicted of violating P.L.1962, c.113, s.1 (C.2A:170-77.8), and who at the time of the offense was 21 years of age or younger, may apply to the Superior Court in the county wherein the matter was disposed of for the expungement of such person’s conviction and all records pertaining thereto. The relief of expungement under this section shall be granted only if said person has not, prior to the time of hearing, violated any of the conditions of his probation or parole, albeit subsequent to discharge from probation or parole, has not been convicted of any previous or subsequent criminal act or any subsequent or previous violation of chapter 35 or 36 of this title or of P.L.1955, c.277, s.3 (C.2A:170-77.5) or of P.L.1962, c.113, s.1 (C.2A:170-77.8), or who has not had a prior or subsequent criminal matter dismissed because of acceptance into a supervisory treatment or other diversion program.

This section shall not apply to any person who has been convicted of the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession with the intent to sell any controlled dangerous substance except:

(1) Marihuana, where the total sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than one ounce, or

(2) Hashish, where the total amount sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than five grams.

Effective October 1, 2018

2C:52-6. Arrests not resulting in conviction

a. When a person has been arrested or held to answer for a crime, disorderly persons offense, petty disorderly persons offense, or municipal ordinance violation under the laws of this State or of any governmental entity thereof and proceedings against the person were dismissed, the person was acquitted, or the person was discharged without a conviction or finding of guilt, the Superior Court shall, at the time of dismissal, acquittal, or discharge, or, in any case set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, upon receipt of an application from the person, order the expungement of all records and information relating to the arrest or charge.

(1) If proceedings took place in municipal court, the municipal court shall provide the person, upon request, with appropriate documentation to transmit to the Superior Court to request expungement pursuant to procedures developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Upon receipt of the documentation, the Superior Court shall enter an ex parte order expunging all records and information relating to the person’s arrest or charge.

(2) The provisions of N.J.S.2C:52-7 through N.J.S.2C:52-14 shall not apply to an expungement pursuant to this subsection and no fee shall be charged to the person making such application.

(3) An expungement under this subsection shall not be ordered where the dismissal, acquittal, or discharge resulted from a plea bargaining agreement involving the conviction of other charges. This bar, however, shall not apply once the conviction is itself expunged.

(4) The Superior Court shall forward a copy of the expungement order to the appropriate court and to the prosecutor. The prosecutor shall promptly distribute copies of the expungement order to appropriate law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions who have custody and control of the records specified in the order so that they may comply with the requirements of N.J.S.2C:52-15.

(5) An expungement related to a dismissal, acquittal, or discharge ordered pursuant to this subsection shall not bar any future expungement.

(6) Where a dismissal of an offense is based on an eligible servicemember’s successful participation in a Veterans Diversion Program pursuant to P.L.2017, c.42 (C.2C:43-23 et al.), the county prosecutor, on behalf of the eligible servicemember, may move before the court for the expungement of all records and information relating to the arrest or charge, and the diversion at the time of dismissal pursuant to this section.

b. When a person did not apply or a prosecutor did not move on behalf of an eligible servicemember for an expungement of an arrest or charge not resulting in a conviction pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the person may at any time following the disposition of proceedings, present a duly verified petition as provided in N.J.S.2C:52-7 to the Superior Court in the county in which the disposition occurred praying that records of such arrest and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged. No fee shall be charged to the person for applying for an expungement of an arrest or charge not resulting in a conviction pursuant to this subsection.

c. (1) Any person who has had charges dismissed against him pursuant to a program of supervisory treatment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-12, or conditional discharge pursuant to N.J.S.2C:36A-1, or conditional dismissal pursuant to P.L.2013, c.158 (C.2C:43-13.1 et al.), shall be barred from the relief provided in this section until six months after the entry of the order of dismissal.

(2) A servicemember who has successfully participated in a Veterans Diversion Program pursuant to P.L.2017, c.42 (C.2C:43-23 et al.) may apply for expungement pursuant to this section at any time following the order of dismissal if an expungement was not granted at the time of dismissal.

d. Any person who has been arrested or held to answer for a crime shall be barred from the relief provided in this section where the dismissal, discharge, or acquittal resulted from a determination that the person was insane or lacked the mental capacity to commit the crime charged.

Effective December 1, 2017

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