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Expungement

photo_shutterstock52097314Expungement is a process where someone who has committed only one indictable offense in their lifetime can have their record cleared so that a criminal history does not show arrests or a conviction. An expungement can be obtained even if the defendant has a few prior disorderly person offenses. However, if there is more than one conviction on an indictable offense an expungement is not possible.

Expungement is not possible for certain types of crimes. We have listed below the New Jersey Statutes that apply to expungement. Please call us so we can discuss whether or not an expungement is available in your case. Sam Sachs is a practicing New Jersey Lawyer and can help you with this matter.

Also, please note that even is you were found not guilty of an offense, or received Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), although there is no record of conviction, there is a record of arrest. Such arrest records are subject to expungement.

2C:52-1. Definition of expungement
a. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, expungement shall mean the extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person’s detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.

b. Expunged records shall include complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets” and judicial docket records.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 108, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-2 Indictable offenses
a. In all cases, except as herein provided, wherein a person has been convicted of a crime under the laws of this State and who has not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, and has not been convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense on more than two occasions may, after the expiration of a period of 10 years from the date of his most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration for that crime or for any disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, whichever is later, present an expungement application to the Superior Court in the county in which the conviction for the crime was adjudged, which contains a duly verified petition as provided in N.J.S.2C:52-7 for the criminal conviction sought to be expunged, and may also contain additional duly verified petitions for no more than two convictions for any disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses, praying that the conviction, or convictions if applicable, and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged. The petition for each conviction appended to an application shall comply with the requirements set forth in N.J.S.2C:52-1 et seq.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, a petition may be filed and presented, and the court may grant an expungement pursuant to this section, although less than 10 years has expired in accordance with the requirements of the preceding paragraph where the court finds:

  1. less than 10 years has expired from the satisfaction of a fine, but the ten-year time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered pursuant to N.J.S.2C:46-1 et seq., or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the fine; or
  2. at least five years has expired from the date of his conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; the person has not been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that expungement is in the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense, and the applicant’s character and conduct since conviction.

In determining whether compelling circumstances exist for the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, a court may consider the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person’s age at the time of the offense, the person’s financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the person’s ability to pay.

Although subsequent convictions for no more than two disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses shall not be an absolute bar to relief, the nature of those conviction or convictions and the circumstances surrounding them shall be considered by the court and may be a basis for denial of relief if they or either of them constitute a continuation of the type of unlawful activity embodied in the criminal conviction for which expungement is sought.

b. Records of conviction pursuant to statutes repealed by this Code for the crimes of murder, manslaughter, treason, anarchy, kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, arson, perjury, false swearing, robbery, embracery, or a conspiracy or any attempt to commit any of the foregoing, or aiding, assisting or concealing persons accused of the foregoing crimes, shall not be expunged.

Records of conviction for the following crimes specified in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice shall not be subject to expungement: N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq. (Criminal Homicide), except death by auto as specified in N.J.S.2C:11-5; N.J.S.2C:13-1 (Kidnapping); section 1 of P.L.1993, c.291 (C.2C:13-6) (Luring or Enticing); section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8) (Human Trafficking); N.J.S.2C:14-2 (Sexual Assault or Aggravated Sexual Assault); subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor, subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (Criminal Sexual Contact); if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim, N.J.S.2C:13-2 (Criminal Restraint) or N.J.S.2C:13-3 (False Imprisonment); N.J.S.2C:15-1 (Robbery); N.J.S.2C:17-1 (Arson and Related Offenses); subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, or causing the child other harm); paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Photographing or filming a child in a prohibited sexual act); paragraph (3) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act); subparagraph (a) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Distributing, possessing with intent to distribute or using a file-sharing program to store items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child); subparagraph (b) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 (Possessing or viewing items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child); N.J.S.2C:28-1 (Perjury); N.J.S.2C:28-2 (False Swearing); paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1 (Knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actor’s child); section 2 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-2) (Terrorism); subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-3) (Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices); and conspiracies or attempts to commit such crimes.

Records of conviction for any crime committed by a person holding any public office, position or employment, elective or appointive, under the government of this State or any agency or political subdivision thereof and any conspiracy or attempt to commit such a crime shall not be subject to expungement if the crime involved or touched such office, position or employment.

c. In the case of conviction for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession thereof with intent to sell, expungement shall be denied except where the crimes involve:

  1. Marijuana, where the total quantity sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was 25 grams or less;
  2. Hashish, where the total quantity sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was five grams or less; or
  3. Any controlled dangerous substance provided that the conviction is of the third or fourth degree, where the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense and the petitioner’s character and conduct since conviction.

d. In the case of a State licensed physician or podiatrist convicted of an offense involving drugs or alcohol or pursuant to section 14 or 15 of P.L.1989, c.300 (C.2C:21-20 or 2C:21-4.1), the court shall notify the State Board of Medical Examiners upon receipt of a petition for expungement of the conviction and records and information pertaining thereto.

Amended 1989, c.300, s.23; 1993, c.301; 1994, c.133, s.6; 2009, c.188, s.1; 2013, c.136, s.3; 2015, c.261, s.2.

2C:52-3 Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses.
a. Any person convicted of a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under the laws of this State who has not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, may present an expungement application to the Superior Court pursuant to this section. Any person convicted of a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under the laws of this State who has also been convicted of a prior or subsequent crime shall not be eligible to apply for an expungement pursuant to this section, but may present an expungement application to the Superior Court pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-2.

b. Any person convicted of a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under the laws of this State who has not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, or who has not been convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense on more than two other occasions, may, after the expiration of a period of five years from the date of his most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration for any disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, whichever is later, present an expungement application to the Superior Court in the county in which the conviction for the most recent disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense was adjudged, which contains a duly verified petition as provided in N.J.S.2C:52-7 for the disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons conviction sought to be expunged, and which may also contain additional duly verified petitions for no more than two other convictions for disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses, praying that the conviction, or convictions if applicable, and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged. The petition for each conviction appended to an application shall comply with the requirements of N.J.S.2C:52-1 et seq.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, a petition may be filed and presented, and the court may grant an expungement pursuant to this section, when the court finds:

  1. less than five years has expired from the satisfaction of a fine, but the five-year time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered pursuant to N.J.S.2C:46-1 et seq., or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the fine; or
  2. at least three years have expired from the date of his conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; the person has not been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that expungement is in the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense, and the applicant’s character and conduct since conviction.

In determining whether compelling circumstances exist for the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, a court may consider the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person’s age at the time of the offense, the person’s financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the person’s ability to pay.

Amended 1981, c.290, s.43; 2015, c.261, s.3.

2C:52-4. Ordinances
In all cases wherein a person has been found guilty of violating a municipal ordinance of any governmental entity of this State and who has not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, and who has not been adjudged a disorderly person or petty disorderly person on more than two occasions, may, after the expiration of a period of 2 years from the date of his conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later, present a duly verified petition as provided in section 2C:52-7 herein to the Superior Court in the county in which the violation occurred praying that such conviction and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 111, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-4.1 Juvenile delinquent; expungement of adjudications and charges.
1. a. Any person adjudged a juvenile delinquent may have such adjudication expunged as follows:

  1. Pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-2, if the act committed by the juvenile would have constituted a crime if committed by an adult;
  2. Pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-3, if the act committed by the juvenile would have constituted a disorderly or petty disorderly persons offense if committed by an adult; or
  3. Pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-4, if the act committed by the juvenile would have constituted an ordinance violation if committed by an adult.

For purposes of expungement, any act which resulted in a juvenile being adjudged a delinquent shall be classified as if that act had been committed by an adult.

b. Additionally, any person who has been adjudged a juvenile delinquent may have his entire record of delinquency adjudications expunged if:

  1. Five years have elapsed since the final discharge of the person from legal custody or supervision or 5 years have elapsed after the entry of any other court order not involving custody or supervision, except that periods of post-incarceration supervision pursuant to section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44), shall not be considered in calculating the five-year period for purposes of this paragraph;
  2. He has not been convicted of a crime, or a disorderly or petty disorderly persons offense, or adjudged a delinquent, or in need of supervision, during the 5 years prior to the filing of the petition, and no proceeding or complaint is pending seeking such a conviction or adjudication, except that periods of post-incarceration supervision pursuant to section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44), shall not be considered in calculating the five-year period for purposes of this paragraph;
  3. He was never adjudged a juvenile delinquent on the basis of an act which if committed by an adult would constitute a crime not subject to expungement under N.J.S.2C:52-2;
  4. He has never had an adult conviction expunged; and
  5. He has never had adult criminal charges dismissed following completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversion program.

c. Any person who has been charged with an act of delinquency and against whom proceedings were dismissed may have the filing of those charges expunged pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:52-6.

Amended 1981, c.290, s.44; 2009, c.188, s.2.

2C:52-5. Expungement of records of young drug offenders 
Expungement of Records of Young Drug Offenders. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 2C:52-2 and 2C:52-3, after a period of not less than one year following conviction, termination of probation or parole or discharge from custody, whichever is later, any person convicted of an offense under chapters 35 or 36 of this title for the possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance, convicted of violating P.L. 1955, c. 277, s. 3 (C. 2A:170-77.5), or convicted of violating P.L. 1962, c. 113, s. 1 (C. 2A:170-77.8), and who at the time of the offense was 21 years of age or younger, may apply to the Superior Court in the county wherein the matter was disposed of for the expungement of such person’s conviction and all records pertaining thereto. The relief of expungement under this section shall be granted only if said person has not, prior to the time of hearing, violated any of the conditions of his probation or parole, albeit subsequent to discharge from probation or parole, has not been convicted of any previous or subsequent criminal act or any subsequent or previous violation of chapters 35 or 36 of this title or of P.L. 1955, c. 277, s. 3 (C. 2A:170-77.5) or of P.L. 1962, c. 113, s. 1 (C. 2A:170-77.8), or who has not had a prior or subsequent criminal matter dismissed because of acceptance into a supervisory treatment or other diversion program.

This section shall not apply to any person who has been convicted of the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession with the intent to sell any controlled dangerous substance except:

  1. Marihuana, where the total sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was 25 grams or less, or
  2. Hashish, where the total amount sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was 5 grams or less.

L. 1979, c. 178, s. 112; Amended by L. 1987, c. 106, s. 16.

2C:52-6 Arrests not resulting in conviction.
a. When a person has been arrested or held to answer for a crime, disorderly persons offense, petty disorderly persons offense, or municipal ordinance violation under the laws of this State or of any governmental entity thereof and proceedings against the person were dismissed, the person was acquitted, or the person was discharged without a conviction or finding of guilt, the Superior Court shall, at the time of dismissal, acquittal, or discharge, or, in any case set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, upon receipt of an application from the person, order the expungement of all records and information relating to the arrest or charge.

  1. If proceedings took place in municipal court, the municipal court shall provide the person, upon request, with appropriate documentation to transmit to the Superior Court to request expungement pursuant to procedures developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Upon receipt of the documentation, the Superior Court shall enter an ex parte order expunging all records and information relating to the person’s arrest or charge.
  2. The provisions of N.J.S.2C:52-7 through N.J.S.2C:52-14 shall not apply to an expungement pursuant to this subsection and no fee shall be charged to the person making such application.
  3. An expungement under this subsection shall not be ordered where the dismissal, acquittal, or discharge resulted from a plea bargaining agreement involving the conviction of other charges. This bar, however, shall not apply once the conviction is itself expunged.
  4. The Superior Court shall forward a copy of the expungement order to the appropriate court and to the prosecutor. The prosecutor shall promptly distribute copies of the expungement order to appropriate law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions who have custody and control of the records specified in the order so that they may comply with the requirements of N.J.S.2C:52-15.
  5. An expungement related to a dismissal, acquittal, or discharge ordered pursuant to this subsection shall not bar any future expungement.

b. When a person did not apply for an expungement of an arrest or charge not resulting in a conviction pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the person may at any time following the disposition of proceedings, present a duly verified petition as provided in N.J.S.2C:52-7 to the Superior Court in the county in which the disposition occurred praying that records of such arrest and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged. No fee shall be charged to the person for applying for an expungement of an arrest or charge not resulting in a conviction pursuant to this subsection.

c. Any person who has had charges dismissed against him pursuant to a program of supervisory treatment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-12, or conditional discharge pursuant to N.J.S.2C:36A-1, or conditional dismissal pursuant to P.L.2013, c.158 (C.2C:43-13.1 et al.), shall be barred from the relief provided in this section until six months after the entry of the order of dismissal.

d. Any person who has been arrested or held to answer for a crime shall be barred from the relief provided in this section where the dismissal, discharge, or acquittal resulted from a determination that the person was insane or lacked the mental capacity to commit the crime charged.

Amended 2013, c.158, s.13; 2015, c.261, s.4.

2C:52-7. Petition for expungement
2C:52-7 Petition for expungement. Every petition for expungement filed pursuant to this chapter shall be verified and include:

a. Petitioner’s date of birth.
b. Petitioner’s date of arrest.
c. The statute or statutes and offense or offenses for which petitioner was arrested and of which petitioner was convicted.
d. The original indictment, summons or complaint number.
e. Petitioner’s date of conviction, or date of disposition of the matter if no conviction resulted.
f. The court’s disposition of the matter and the punishment imposed, if any.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 114, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-8. Statements to accompany petition
There shall be attached to a petition for expungement:

a. A statement with the affidavit or verification that there are no disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons or criminal charges pending against the petitioner at the time of filing of the petition for expungement.

b. In those instances where the petitioner is seeking the expungement of a criminal conviction, a statement with affidavit or verification that he has never been granted expungement, sealing or similar relief regarding a criminal conviction by any court in this State or other state or by any Federal court. “Sealing” refers to the relief previously granted pursuant to P.L.1973, c. 191 (C. 2A:85-15 et seq.).

c. In those instances where a person has received a dismissal of a criminal charge because of acceptance into a supervisory treatment or any other diversion program, a statement with affidavit or verification setting forth the nature of the original charge, the court of disposition and date of disposition.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 115, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-9. Order fixing time for hearing
Upon the filing of a petition for relief pursuant to this chapter, the court shall, by order, fix a time not less than 35 nor more than 60 days thereafter for hearing of the matter.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 116, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-10. Service of petition and documents
A copy of each petition, together with a copy of all supporting documents, shall be served pursuant to the rules of court upon the Superintendent of State Police; the Attorney General; the county prosecutor of the county wherein the court is located; the chief of police or other executive head of the police department of the municipality wherein the offense was committed; the chief law enforcement officer of any other law enforcement agency of this State which participated in the arrest of the individual; the superintendent or warden of any institution in which the petitioner was confined; and, if a disposition was made by a municipal court, upon the magistrate of that court. Service shall be made within 5 days from the date of the order setting the date for the hearing upon the matter.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 117, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-11. Order expungement where no objection prior to hearing
If, prior to the hearing, there is no objection from those law enforcement agencies notified or from those offices or agencies which are required to be served under 2C:52-10, and no reason, as provided in section 2C:52-14, appears to the contrary, the court may, without a hearing, grant an order directing the clerk of the court and all relevant criminal justice and law enforcement agencies to expunge records of said disposition including evidence of arrest, detention, conviction and proceedings related thereto.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 118, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-12. Denial of relief although no objection entered
In the event that none of the persons or agencies required to be noticed under 2C:52-10 has entered any objection to the relief being sought, the court may nevertheless deny the relief sought if it concludes that petitioner is not entitled to relief for the reasons provided in section 2C:52-14.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 119, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-13. When hearing on petition for expungement shall not be held
No petition for relief made pursuant to this section shall be heard by any court if the petitioner, at the time of filing or date of hearing, has a charge or charges pending against him which allege the commission of a crime, disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense. Such petition shall not be heard until such times as all pending criminal and or disorderly persons charges are adjudicated to finality.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 120, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-14 Grounds for denial of relief.
2C:52-14. A petition for expungement filed pursuant to this chapter shall be denied when:

a. Any statutory prerequisite, including any provision of this chapter, is not fulfilled or there is any other statutory basis for denying relief.

b. The need for the availability of the records outweighs the desirability of having a person freed from any disabilities as otherwise provided in this chapter. An application may be denied under this subsection only following objection of a party given notice pursuant to 2C:52-10 and the burden of asserting such grounds shall be on the objector, except that in regard to expungement sought for third or fourth degree drug offenses pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:52-2, the court shall consider whether this factor applies regardless of whether any party objects on this basis.

c. In connection with a petition under section 2C:52-6, the acquittal, discharge or dismissal of charges resulted from a plea bargaining agreement involving the conviction of other charges. This bar, however, shall not apply once the conviction is itself expunged.

d. The arrest or conviction sought to be expunged is, at the time of hearing, the subject matter of civil litigation between the petitioner or his legal representative and the State, any governmental entity thereof or any State agency and the representatives or employees of any such body.

e. A person has had a previous criminal conviction expunged regardless of the lapse of time between the prior expungement, or sealing under prior law, and the present petition. This provision shall not apply:

  1. When the person is seeking the expungement of a municipal ordinance violation or,
  2. When the person is seeking the expungement of records pursuant to section 2C:52-6.

f. The person seeking the relief of expungement of a conviction for a disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons, or criminal offense has prior to or subsequent to said conviction been granted the dismissal of criminal charges following completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversion program.

Amended 2009, c.188, s.3.

2C:52-15. Records to be removed; control
If an order of expungement of records of arrest or conviction under this chapter is granted by the court, all the records specified in said order shall be removed from the files of the agencies which have been noticed of the pendency of petitioner’s motion and which are, by the provisions of this chapter, entitled to notice, and shall be placed in the control of a person who has been designated by the head of each such agency which, at the time of the hearing, possesses said records. That designated person shall, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, insure that such records or the information contained therein are not released for any reason and are not utilized or referred to for any purpose. In response to requests for information or records of the person who was arrested or convicted, all noticed officers, departments and agencies shall reply, with respect to the arrest, conviction or related proceedings which are the subject of the order, that there is no record information.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 122, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-16. Expunged record including names of persons other than petitioner
Any record or file which is maintained by a judicial or law enforcement agency, or agency in the criminal justice system, which is the subject of an order of expungement which includes the name or names of persons other than that of the petitioner need not be isolated from the general files of the agency retaining same if the other persons named in said record or file have not been granted an order of expungement of said record, provided that a copy of the record shall be given to the person designated in 2C:52-15 and the original shall remain in the agency’s general files with the petitioner’s name and other personal identifiers obliterated and deleted.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 123, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-17. Use of expunged records by agencies on pending petition for expungement
Expunged records may be used by the agencies that possess same to ascertain whether a person has had prior conviction expunged, or sealed under prior law, when the agency possessing the record is noticed of a pending petition for the expungement of a conviction. Any such agency may supply information to the court wherein the motion is pending and to the other parties who are entitled to notice pursuant to 2C:52-10.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 124, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-18. Supplying information to violent crimes compensation board
Information contained in expunged records may be supplied to the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, in conjunction with any claim which has been filed with said board.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 125, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-19. Order of superior court permitting inspection of records or release of information; limitations
Inspection of the files and records, or release of the information contained therein, which are the subject of an order of expungement, or sealing under prior law, may be permitted by the Superior Court upon motion for good cause shown and compelling need based on specific facts. The motion or any order granted pursuant thereto shall specify the person or persons to whom the records and information are to be shown and the purpose for which they are to be utilized. Leave to inspect shall be granted by the court only in those instances where the subject matter of the records of arrest or conviction is the object of litigation or judicial proceedings. Such records may not be inspected or utilized in any subsequent civil or criminal proceeding for the purposes of impeachment or otherwise but may be used for purposes of sentencing on a subsequent offense after guilt has been established.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 126, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-20 Use of expunged records in conjunction with supervisory treatment or diversion programs.

Expunged records may be used by the court in determining whether to grant or deny the person’s application for acceptance into a supervisory treatment or diversion program for subsequent charges. Any expunged records which are possessed by any law enforcement agency may be supplied to the Attorney General, any county prosecutor, or court of this State when same are requested and are to be used for the purpose of determining whether or not to accept a person into a supervisory treatment or diversion program for subsequent charges.

Amended 2015, c.261, s.5.

2C:52-21 Use of expunged records in conjunction with setting bail or authorizing pretrial release, presentence report, or sentencing.
2C:52-21.Use of Expunged Records in Conjunction with Setting Bail or Authorizing Pretrial Release, Presentence Report, or Sentencing.

Expunged records, or sealed records under prior law, of prior arrests or convictions shall be provided to any court, county prosecutor, the Probation Division of the Superior Court, the pretrial services agency, or the Attorney General when same are requested for use in conjunction with a bail hearing, pretrial release determination pursuant to sections 1 through 11 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-15 et seq.), for the preparation of a presentence report, or for purpose of sentencing.

Amended 2015, c.261, s.6.

2C:52-22. Use of expunged records by parole board
Expunged records, or sealed records under prior law, of prior disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons and criminal convictions shall be provided to the Parole Board when same are requested for the purpose of evaluating the granting of parole to the person who is the subject of said records. Such sealed or expunged records may be used by the Parole Board in the same manner and given the same weight in its considerations as if the records had not been expunged or sealed.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 129, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-23. Use of expunged records by department of corrections
Expunged records, and records sealed under prior law, shall be provided to the Department of Corrections for its use solely in the classification, evaluation and assignment to correctional and penal institutions of persons placed in its custody.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 130, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-24 County prosecutor’s obligation to ascertain propriety of petition.

Notwithstanding the notice requirements provided herein, it shall be the obligation of the county prosecutor of the county wherein any petition for expungement is filed to verify the accuracy of the allegations contained in the petition for expungement and to bring to the court’s attention any facts which may be a bar to, or which may make inappropriate the granting of, such relief. If no disabling, adverse or relevant information is ascertained other than that as included in the petitioner’s affidavit, such facts shall be communicated by the prosecutor to the court.

Amended 2015, c.261, s.7.

2C:52-25. Retroactive application
This chapter shall apply to arrests and convictions which occurred prior to, and which occur subsequent to, the effective date of this act.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 132, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-26. Vacating of orders of sealing; time; basis
If, within 5 years of the entry of an expungement order, any party to whom notice is required to be given pursuant to section 2C:52-10 notifies the court which issued the order that at the time of the petition or hearing there were criminal, disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons charges pending against the person to whom the court granted such order, which charges were not revealed to the court at the time of hearing of the original motion or that there was some other statutory disqualification, said court shall vacate the expungement order in question and reconsider the original motion in conjunction with the previously undisclosed information.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 133, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-27 Effect of expungement.
Unless otherwise provided by law, if an order of expungement is granted, the arrest, conviction and any proceedings related thereto shall be deemed not to have occurred, and the petitioner may answer any questions relating to their occurrence accordingly, except as follows:

a. The fact of an expungement, sealing or similar relief shall be disclosed as provided in section 2C:52-8b.

b. The fact of an expungement of prior charges which were dismissed because of the person’s acceptance into and successful completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversion program shall be disclosed by said person to any court that is determining the propriety of accepting said person into a supervisory treatment or other diversion program for subsequent criminal charges; and

c. Information divulged on expunged records shall be revealed by a petitioner seeking employment within the judicial branch or with a law enforcement or corrections agency and such information shall continue to provide a disability as otherwise provided by law.

Amended 1981, c.290, s.45; 2015, c.261, s.8.

2C:52-27.1 Petition to rescind order of debarment for health care claims fraud; restoration.
5. a. If an order of expungement of records of conviction under the provisions of chapter 52 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes is granted by the court to a person convicted of health care claims fraud in which the court had ordered the offender’s professional license or certificate be forfeited and the person be forever barred from the practice of the profession, occupation, trade, vocation or business pursuant to subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.1997, c.353 (C.2C:51-5), the person may petition the court for an order to rescind the court’s order of debarment if the person can demonstrate that the person is sufficiently rehabilitated.

b. If an order to rescind the court’s order of debarment is granted, the person granted the order may apply to be licensed or certified to practice the profession, occupation, trade, vocation or business from which the offender was barred.

L.1997,c.353,s.5; Amended 2003, c.89, s.77.

2C:52-28. Motor vehicle offenses
Nothing contained in this chapter shall apply to arrests or conviction for motor vehicle offenses contained in Title 39.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 135, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-29. Fee
Any person who files an application pursuant to this chapter shall pay to the State Treasurer a fee of $30.00 to defer administrative costs in processing an application hereunder.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 136, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-30. Disclosure of expungement order
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person who reveals to another the existence of an arrest, conviction or related legal proceeding with knowledge that the records and information pertaining thereto have been expunged or sealed is a disorderly person. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2C:43-3, the maximum fine which can be imposed for violation of this section is $200.00.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 137, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-31. Limitation
Nothing provided in this chapter shall be interpreted to permit the expungement of records contained in the Controlled Dangerous Substances Registry created pursuant to P.L.1970, c. 227 (C. 26:2G-17 et seq.), or the registry created by the Administrative Office of the Courts pursuant to section 2C:43-21.

L.1979, c. 178, s. 138, eff. Sept. 1, 1979.

2C:52-32 Construction.
This chapter shall be construed with the primary objective of providing relief to the reformed offender who has led a life of rectitude and disassociated himself with unlawful activity, but not to create a system whereby persistent violators of the law or those who associate themselves with continuing criminal activity have a regular means of expunging their police and criminal records.

Amended 2015, c.261, s.9.

2C:52-32.1 Petition for judicial determination of factual innocence for certain victims of identity theft.
1. a. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person who reasonably believes that he is the victim of identity theft based on the commission of an offense under N.J.S.2C:21-1, section 1 of P.L.1983, c.565 (C.2C:21-2.1), N.J.S.2C:21-17, or section 5 or 6 of P.L.2003, c.184 (C.2C:21-17.2 or C.2C:21-17.3) may petition the court where the charge is pending or where the conviction was entered for a judicial determination of the victim’s factual innocence, when:

  1. the perpetrator of the identity theft was arrested for, cited for, or convicted of a crime, offense, or violation of law under the victim’s identity;
  2. a complaint for a crime, offense, or violation has been filed against the perpetrator in the victim’s name; or
  3. the victim’s identity has been mistakenly associated with a record of conviction.

If a charge is pending, the prosecutor may petition the court for a determination of factual innocence on behalf of the victim. Any judicial determination of factual innocence made pursuant to this section may be determined, with or without a hearing, upon declarations, affidavits, police reports, or other material, relevant, and reliable information submitted by the parties or ordered to be part of the record by the court. Where the court determines that the petition is meritorious and that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the victim committed the crime, offense, or violation for which the perpetrator of the identity theft was arrested, cited, convicted, or subject to a complaint for a crime, offense, or violation in the victim’s name, or that the victim’s identity has been mistakenly associated with a record of conviction, the court shall order that the victim’s name and associated personal identifying information contained in the records, files, and indexes of relevant courts, law enforcement agencies, correctional institutions, and administrative agencies which are accessible to the public be deleted, sealed, labeled to show that such data is impersonated and does not reflect the defendant’s identity, or corrected by inserting in the records the name of the perpetrator, if known or ascertainable, in lieu of the victim’s name.

The court shall distribute such order or other appropriate notice to the prosecutor and administrative agencies to which a record of conviction may have been transmitted. The prosecutor shall distribute the order or notice to the relevant law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions so that they may comply with its provisions. The court shall provide the victim with a copy of the order or other appropriate documentation to aid in the resolution of any disabilities that may result from the arrest, charge, or conviction.

b. A victim seeking relief under this section shall not be required to comply with the requirements of chapter 52 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, but shall proceed in accordance with the rules and procedures promulgated by the Supreme Court.

c. A court that determines a victim’s factual innocence pursuant to this section may at any time vacate that determination if the petition, or information submitted in support of the petition, contains material misrepresentation or fraud. If the court vacates such a determination, it shall issue an order rescinding any orders made pursuant to this section.

d. Any relief granted pursuant to this section shall not affect a victim’s eligibility to apply for an expungement for any other offense pursuant to chapter 52 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

e. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a petition for relief made pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not require the payment of any fee by the victim.

f. The Supreme Court may adopt rules and the Administrative Director of the Courts may issue directives to effectuate the purposes of this act.

g. The Attorney General may issue guidelines which may be necessary concerning procedures for law enforcement agencies or any other agencies in the criminal justice system to effectuate the purposes of this act.

L.2015, c.126, s.1.

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