Eligibility for Expungement of Adult Criminal Records in New Jersey

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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In New Jersey certain convictions, including some felonies, cannot be expunged.

There are important limits as to what convictions can be expunged. Records regarding convictions of the following seventeen crimes are ineligible:

  1. Criminal Homicide (Except Death by Auto);
  2. Kidnapping;
  3. Luring or Enticing;
  4. Aggravated Sexual Assault;
  5. Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact;
  6. Criminal Sexual Contact (if victim is a minor);
  7. Criminal Restraint;
  8. Robbery ;
  9. Endangering the Welfare of a Child (if based on sexual contact);
  10. Perjury;
  11. False Swearing or perjury;
  12. Human Trafficking;
  13. Causing or Permitting a Child to Engage in a Prohibited Sexual Act;
  14. Selling or Manufacturing Child Pornography;
  15. Knowingly Promoting the Prostitution of the Actor’s Child;
  16. Terrorism; and
  17. Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices.

Motor vehicle records: Additionally, motor vehicle offenses cannot be expunged.

Waiting period: To be eligible for expungement, there are three tests: (1) the offense; (2) the number and nature of offenses; (3) how long ago the offense occurred. The following chart summarizes what and when criminal records can be expunged:

Waiting Period
Indictable Offenses 1 conviction, plus up to 2 Disorderly Persons convictions 10/5 years from date supervision completed*
Disorderly Persons Offenses (includes Petty DO Offenses) Up to 2 offenses, provided no criminal convictions 5 years from date supervision complete
Municipal Ordinance Violations No limit, provided no crminal record and no more than 2 Disorderly Persons convictions 2 years from date supervision completed
Juvenile Delinquency Offenses All records, except those that are of the 17 ineligible offenses committed by an adult 5 years from date supervision completed
Young Drug Offender Records No limit if for possession or use of CDS 1 year from date supervision completed
Arrests – No Conviction No Limit No waiting period generally; for Dismissal as a result of a Diversion – 6 months**

* Certain indictable convictions are eligible for consideration after 5 years (versus 10 years) if: (a) less than 10 years has expired from the satisfaction of a fine but the 10-year time requirement is otherwise met and payment plans have been largely met); OR (b) At least 5 years has expired from conviction, payment of a fine, satisfactory completion of probation/parole, or release from incarceration, AND the person has not since been convicted of a crime AND giving consideration to the nature of the offense AND the applicant’s character/conduct..
**If an acquittal resulted from a finding of either insanity or lack of mental capacity, the offense cannot be expunged.

Eligibility rules for expungement of Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) convictions: For distribution or sale of controlled dangerous substance or possession of CDS with intent to distribute or sell may be expunged only if they are Third or Fourth degree convictions. These convictions can be expunged after giving consideration to the nature of the offense and the applicant’s character/conduct since conviction.

New Jersey statutes are NJ Stat. 2C:52-1 through 2C:52-3.

For more articles on New Jersey expungements, click on the following:

Overview of New Jersey Criminal Record Expungements

Application Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in New Jersey

Application to Expunge Juvenile History Records in New Jersey

Certificate of Rehabilitation in New Jersey

Do I Need an Attorney to File for an Expungement in New Jersey?

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