Interviewer: How does expungement work with juveniles? Are they also eligible for expungement or does it work a different way?
Lauren Scardella: They are also eligible for expungements. Juvenile records are not really available to anybody except for prosecutors or police departments. If you get arrested again as an adult and the prosecutor or the police department runs your criminal history; it’s going to show up. In the instance where you’re applying for a job with the state police or another law enforcement agency, if you get it expunged, they can find out. Yes, you can have your juvenile record expunged but in most cases, I’m not really sure why you would want to. We have done some juvenile expungements though for people who really insisted they wanted them done.
Notable Case Studies of Expungement in New Jersey
Interviewer: Are there any particular cases that you can give me an example of?
Lauren Scardella: We had one client recently who was granted what’s called the conditional discharge, which is a first offenders’ program that is usually granted in Municipal Court for drug offenses. Originally, this client had been charged with an indictable offense that was being handled in Superior Court. They just agreed in Superior Court to amend it to a disorderly persons offense and then put him in the conditional discharge program. That was supposed to last for a year, and as long as he completed the terms of his probation, it was to be dismissed. When he came to us for an expungement, more than a year later after his probation ended, we got everything together. It was all going very smoothly and after reviewing the paperwork, I realized that we didn’t have an order of dismissal or a certified disposition saying that his charge had been dismissed.
The Probation Department Had Closed the Case But It was Never Dismissed
After doing a fair amount of digging, it turned out that it hadn’t been dismissed. The Probation Department had closed the case but had never submitted an order for dismissal to the judge. It took some maneuvering, but ultimately we got the order of dismissal for him. The snag was that once something is dismissed, you have to wait for six months before you’re eligible for expungement. He was a senior in college and he wanted to start applying for internships and they were going to do background checks. He was very worried and here we are with this brand new order of dismissal for something that should have been dismissed over a year ago. We’re being told that he’s got to wait six months for that. The prosecutor’s office said that they wouldn’t have an objection to waiving the six month requirement. There is no provision in any of the statutes for waiving the six months period but we figured that as long as the prosecutor’s office is going along with it, if we can convince the judge that we could hopefully just get it granted. Who is going to appeal if everybody agreed even if it was technically not within the confines of the statute?
There Is No Provision For Waiving the Six Month Period in Any of the Statutes
The prosecutor’s office agreed. At first, it seemed as if the judge wasn’t going to be willing to do it because he saw no authority for doing so in the statutes. Ultimately he changed his mind and he agreed to issue the expungement. So he signed the order even though the six months hadn’t passed basically because it was not this kid’s fault. It was completely an oversight on the part of the probation office and so he was able to get the expungement in the time period that he wanted, although the whole process did take significantly longer because of the problem with probation. In the end, we got what we wanted, and more importantly what the client needed.