Important changes in New Jersey’s expungement statute went into effect as of October 1, 2018, which dramatically increase the number of people who are eligible for an expungement. Here are the highlights worth noting:
- You used to have to wait 10 years from the date you completed your sentence to expunge a felony conviction; now you only have to wait 6 years. Note, though, that you still have the same option for an “early pathway” expungement in 5 years, provided you can show that your early expungement is in the “public interest.”
The amended expungement statute also reduces the waiting period for expungement of juvenile convictions from 4 years to 3 years.
- Importantly, the clock did not start to run on your eligibility for expungement until the last day you completed your sentence, including payment of fines and restitution. This was a huge problem for many, as the ability to get a job to repay those fines was often limited by the inability to present a clean criminal record. Now, you are eligible for expungement EVEN IF you still owe fines or restitution! However, do note that the expungement will NOT alleviate you of your obligation to pay off any remaining balance you still owe.
- Previously, if you had been convicted of a felony, you could only seek an expungement if you had no more than two disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons (“DP/PDP”) convictions on your record. Now, you can have up to 3 DP/PDP convictions and still be eligible for expungement.
- Previously, if you had not been convicted of a felony, you could expunge up to 3 DP/PDP convictions; now you can expunge up to 4 DP/PDP convictions.
- Previously, if you were charged with a felony that was dismissed pursuant to the County’s Pre-Trial Intervention (“PTI”) program, you were not eligible to expunge any prior or subsequent convictions. Under the amended expungement statute, you are now eligible for expungement even if you previously had the benefit of PTI.
- Prior to October 1st, you were eligible to expunge only one felony conviction. Under the amended expungement statute, you may expunge more than one felony conviction under the following circumstances:
- Where the felony convictions are listed in a single judgment of conviction; or
- Where the felony convictions were interdependent or closely related in circumstances and were committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a comparatively short period of time.
Obviously, there are many people who are now eligible for expungements who were ineligible before October 1st. If you have any questions and/or would like to discuss your eligibility for an expungement, call the experienced attorneys at Attorneys Hartman for advice and assistance.