F.A.Q. – Expungements


What type of crimes cannot be expunged?

The following is a list of crimes that cannot be expunged if you were CONVICTED for one of the listed offenses. If you were arrested for one of the offenses, but convicted of a different or lesser crime which is not on the list, the crime can be expunged.

Criminal convictions that cannot be expunged include:

(a) Homicide (except vehicular homicide)
(b) Kidnapping
(c) Luring or Enticing
(d) Human Trafficking
(e) Aggravated Sexual Assault
(f) Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
(g) Criminal Sexual Contact (if the victim is a minor and the actor is not a parent)
(h) Criminal Restraint
(i) False Imprisonment
(j) Robbery
(k) Arson and related crimes
(l) Endangering the Welfare of a Child (by sexual conduct)
(m) Endangering the Welfare of a Child (by causing child to engage in prohibited sexual act or by selling or manufacturing pornography)
(n) Perjury
(o) False Swearing
(p) Promoting Prostitution of the actor’s child
(q) Terrorism
(r) Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents, or Nuclear or Radiological devices
(s) Crimes committed by a person holding public office or employment if such crime touched on the public office or employment.

2. What is included in a criminal record?

(a) A criminal record includes arrests, dismissed charges, convictions, and PTI.

3. How long is a criminal record kept?

(a) Records, even if very old, do not “go away” by themselves.
(b) Even charges that are dismissed or never prosecuted remain on your record unless they are expunged.

4. What type of record can be expunged?

(a) A person may expunge only one indictable conviction.

(b) Two or more disorderly convictions may be expunged.

(c) One indictable conviction plus no more than two disorderly convictions may be expunged.

(d) Juvenile records can be expunged.

5. When can juvenile adjudications be expunged?

(a) Generally, there is a five year waiting period.

(b) In addition, the person must not have been convicted of a crime, or a disorderly offense, or adjudged a delinquent, or in need of supervision, during the five years prior to the filing of the petition for expungement.

(c) For information about juvenile expungements, please contact the Essex County Family Court Juvenile Services Unit at (973) 693-6775.

6. What is an indictable conviction?

(a) Generally, an “indictable” conviction follows a grand jury proceeding.

(b) The indictable conviction carries a possible prison sentence of at least 18 months in state prison, even if the actual sentence imposed was something less (like probation or 364 days in county jail).

(c) Indictable crimes must be prosecuted in Superior Court in the Newark courthouse.

7. What is a disorderly conviction?

(a) A disorderly person offense carries a possible sentence of no more than 6 months in jail.

(b) Disorderly offenses are generally handled in the town court, or in the Special Remand Court on the 5th floor of the Newark courthouse.

8. Can arrests be expunged?

(a) An arrest without a conviction can be expunged. If there has been a conviction, the rules listed above will apply to the expungement application.

9. Time Periods

(a) For indictable offenses, the waiting period is 10 years from the date of conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later.

(b) A person can file a petition to expunge an indictable offense after less than 10 years in one of two situations:

In some cases, a person will be allowed to expunge a record even if all fines were not satisfied. For this to happen, a court must find that all other conditions imposed at the time of sentencing were satisfied and that either the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered by the court or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting ability to pay.

The expungement laws were amended in 2010 to permit a shorter waiting period of 5 years if there have been no new convictions (indictable or disorderly) AND the court finds that expungement is in the public interest.

10. How can I get a copy of my record?

(a) You can get your own criminal history through the New Jersey State Police.

(b) To obtain your criminal history, you must complete certain forms. They are available on the State Police website.

You may also call 609 882-2000 ext. 2918.

(c) A fingerprinting scanning device operated by Morpho Trak will be used to locate your history.

(d) You scan schedule an appointment with Morpho Trak or you can call the toll-free telephone number, 1-877-503-5981 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon).

(e) Morpho Trak provides a toll-free TTY telephone number, 1-800-673-0353, for hearing-impaired applicants with a modem-equipped telephone. Spanish-speaking operators are available upon request.

The State of New Jersey Judiciary has prepared a detailed instruction “kit” for the expungement of an adult criminal record, including forms, and has posted them on its web site. See link below:

• N.J. Judiciary Expungement Instruction Kit

To contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office with a question regarding expungements, please e-mail your question to: expungements@njecpo.org