A criminal conviction may be expunged under some circumstances in New Jersey. Once a conviction is expunged it may not be accessed by the general public and may only be used for extremely limited purposes, such as a future criminal investigation.
Expungement is available for a defendant if:
The defendant was not convicted of the charges that were brought against them
It has been 2, 5, or 10 years (depending on the type and seriousness of the offense) since a sentence has been completed, and the defendant was not convicted of any other crimes during that time period
The person is seeking to expunge a juvenile record
The charges were for a first-time minor drug offense and the defendant was given a conditional discharge; also a year must have passed since probation was terminated
Expungement is not available in New Jersey under the following circumstances:
Certain types of serious offenses are not expungeable, such as aggravated assault, robbery, arson, etc.
If the state has a special interest in retaining the conviction records, a court may exercise its discretion and refuse to expunge them
New Jersey expungement statutes state that courts must hear expungement requests within 35-60 days from the date of filing. However, the entire process typically takes a few months due to scheduling and caseload issues. Also, failure to provide sufficient documentation may result in incomplete records which could lead to further delay.
Unlike other states, New Jersey generally does not place a limit on the number of times a person may file for expungement.