Expungement of Indictable Convictions
- Time Period. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 Expungements of Indictable offenses (also referred to as Felonies or Crimes) is generally permitted after five (5) years have passed since the later of the date of your conviction, payment of all court ordered financial assessments, release from jail, or completion of parole or probation. This time period may be relaxed slightly if you qualify for the Early Pathways described below.
- Crimes not Eligible for Expungement. There is a list of crimes that are never eligible for expungement. Click here for a detailed list. These include crimes such as murder, sexual assault, arson and First or Second Degree drug convictions. In addition, convictions for possession with intent to distribute or distribution of certain types or amounts of drugs (which are Third and Fourth Degree offenses) may require Compelling Circumstances. [Click to see Expungement of Indictable Drug Charges]. Completion of Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) no longer bars the expungement of a later Indictable Offense conviction.
- You have more then one indictable (felony) conviction. Multiple indictable convictions and Disorderly Persons Offenses that are listed in a single Judgement of Conviction can be expunged so long as you do not have a subsequent conviction for a crime or criminal offense not included in the present expungement application. If they are listed in separate Judgements of Conviction then you can only expunge the last indictable conviction and then only if you have just one prior indictable conviction. If you have more than one prior crime you cannot expunge any of them. Exceptions apply with the “Spree” Doctrine and the “Clean Slate Expungement.”
- Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses Along With An Indictable (Felony) Conviction. If you have Disorderly Persons Offenses or Petty Disorderly Persons convictions along with your Indictable conviction, you cannot expunge them under the Disorderly Persons section of the Expungement Statute (2C:52-3). They can only be expunged under the Indictable section. This section permits the Expungement of one (1) Indictable offense and up to three (3) additional Disorderly Persons and/or Petty Disorderly Persons offenses. If you have another crime or more then three (3) Disorderly Persons and/or Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses that took place after the offenses you are seeking to have expunged, you cannot obtain any expungement of any of them and cannot obtain an Expungement of your Indictable Conviction either. A prior conviction of another Crime or Disorderly Persons Offense does not bar the expungement of the one Crime and up to three Disorderly Persons Offenses which are the subject of the expungement application.
- You have multiple Crimes and/or Disorderly Persons/Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses listed in the same Judgement of Conviction. All of the convictions and charges that were dismissed listed in a single Judgement of Conviction can be expunged regardless of whether the offenses were committed on different days. If you have any subsequent crimes of offenses not included in the expungement application then you are barred from the expungement. A prior conviction for another Crime of Disorderly Persons/Petty Disorderly Persons Offense does not bar the expungement of the listed offenses.
- The “Spree” Exception for Multiple Indictable Convictions. The person has been convicted of multiple crimes or a combination of one or more crimes and/or disorderly persons offenses or multiple petty disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey (or a combination of both) which were interdependent or closely related in circumstances and which were committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a short period of time, regardless of the date of conviction or sentencing for each offense, and the person does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime or offense in addition to those included in the expungement application. An example of this exception might be if you committed several burglaries in a short period of time and were sentenced under separate Judgements of Conviction.
- Relief for Non-Payment of Fines with Civil Judgement. If you have met the five (5) year requirement for everything other then paying your court ordered financial assessments and the court finds that the reason for the non-payment was something other then willful non-compliance, then the Court will grant the expungement, but, will enter a civil judgment against you in favor of the New Jersey Department of the Treasury.
- Relief for Non-Payment of Fines without Civil Judgement. If you have met the five (5) year requirement for everything other then paying your court ordered financial assessments and the Court finds you substantially complied with the court ordered payment of financial assessments or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting your ability to pay (defined as considering the amount of the financial assessments imposed, your age at the time of conviction, your financial condition, and other relevant information regarding your ability to pay), then the Court will grant the expungement without entering a Civil Judgement against you.
- Early Pathways Expungement in four (4) years instead of five (5). If you have a felony conviction and at least four (4) years have passed from the later of the date of your conviction, payment of financial assessments, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration and you have not been 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 compelling circumstances exist to grant the expungement, then the court may grant an early expungement. This is of limited benefit since it only reduces the time period from five (5) years down to four (4), but, is available in the appropriate circumstances.