The Effect of Pennsylvania Criminal Convictions on Obtaining an Expungement in New Jersey

Our office has recently received many inquiries from individuals seeking an expungement of their New Jersey criminal record where the Petitioner also has a criminal record in the state of Pennsylvania. We have been fortunate to develop a working relationship with Attorney David B. Mueller, Esq. of Colgan & Associates of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania who has helped us determine if these out of State convictions bar a New Jersey Expungement.

In order to determine whether a New Jersey Indictable Conviction is eligible for expungement it is necessary to determine the type and number of other convictions that individual has had. If there are too many indictable or disorderly persons offenses, a person is not eligible.  The New Jersey Expungement State (N.J.S.A.2C:52-2) refers to other convictions “within this State or any other jurisdiction.” Generally, the term “any other jurisdiction” refers to other States or Territories of the United States. What this means is that New Jersey will count the individual’s out of State convictions in a manner similarly to if the conviction had taken place in New Jersey.  It should be noted that a Verified Petition for Expungement must include the Petitioner’s complete criminal history (N.J.S.A.2C:52-7).

In determining a client’s eligibility for expungement, our office must determine how the charge from Pennsylvania will translate back to New Jersey. The out of state convictions will be included in the total number of disorderly persons offenses or indictable offenses the person has.  In determining the grading of an out of State offense, New Jersey will consider any charge in which the maximum punishment exceeds six months in jail as if it is an Indictable offense. If it is less then that it will be considered as if it is a Disorderly Persons offense.

Just like New Jersey, Pennsylvania has its own way of categorizing criminal offenses. In New Jersey we have Borough Ordinances, Disorderly Person and Petty Disorderly Persons offenses, and Indictable Criminal offenses (degrees 1-4).  Pennsylvania has Citations (S), Misdemeanors (degree 1-3), and Felonies (degree 1-3). As in New Jersey each category has it’s minimum/maximum jail time or fines associated with it.

Pennsylvania Criminal Category Maximum Jail Sentence
F1 20 Years
F2 10 Years
F3 7 Years
M1 5 Years
M2 2 Years
M3 1 Year
S 90 Days

If a Pennsylvania offense is a “Citation”, it would be considered a Disorderly Persons Offense for purposes of determining eligibility for a New Jersey expungement.  If it is an M3 or higher offense, New Jersey would consider it an Indictable offense. If you have any questions concerning your eligibility for a New Jersey expungement because of your other Pennsylvania offense(s), please contact our office either by phone at 732-741-4448   and will be pleased to assist you in making that determination.   Please note that as a New Jersey firm we cannot expunge your conviction from Pennsylvania nor are we offering any legal advise with respect to Pennsylvania law as we are not admitted to practice in PA. In order to find out your eligibility for a Pennsylvania expungement, you can feel free to contact David Mueller directly at 717-502-5000.