The first step in successfully filing a petition for expungement is confirming that your record is statutorily eligible for expungement. A felony or indictable conviction in New Jersey can be expunged as long as the person has not been convicted of any other crime or more than two misdemeanor offenses (petty disorderly persons offenses or disorderly persons offenses), and ten (10) years has passed since the conviction and completion of any sentence, i.e. parole, probation, or payment of fine. A recent modification to the law permits expungement after five (5) years from completion of sentence within the court’s discretion if it is within the public’s interest. Certain violent offenses and other serious offenses are not eligible for expungement. Up to three (3) Misdemeanor convictions (petty disorderly persons offenses or disorderly persons offenses) may be expunged after five (5) years from completion of sentence, as long as the person has no felony convictions. Local Ordinance convictions may be expunged after the expiration of (2) years from the completion of sentence. Lastly, dismissed charges may be expunged at any time, except for those dismissed as a result of a diversion program, which require a six (6) month passage of time.
Once eligibility is determined, the rest of the process requires careful drafting and filing of documents. As long as that is done correctly, the petition for expungment will be granted, and the order requiring expungement of the records will be forwarded to the New Jersey State Police. In the end, the most difficult part tends to be successfully obtaining and interpreting records and serving the correct parties. Without an experienced attorney, that is where expungement petitions most commonly get denied.