Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses in NJ

August 16, 2018

On October 1, 2018 the current law concerning this statue will change to make more Petitioner’s eligible to have their records expunged. This section of the new Expungement Statute deals only with persons who have never had a conviction for a crime, which in New Jersey is an  indictable (felony) offense. If you have had an indictable conviction you are not eligible under this section, but, you may be eligible under 2C:52-2.

The new statute permits expungement for 3 classes of people:

  1. The person has  been convicted under the laws of  New Jersey or any other State on the same or separate occasions of no more than four (4)  disorderly persons offenses, no more than four (4)  petty disorderly persons offenses, or a combination of no more than four (4) disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses. 
  2.   The person has been convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses or multiple petty disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey (or a combination of both), which convictions were entered on the same day, and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application. 
  3. The person has been convicted of multiple disorderly persons offenses or multiple petty disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey (or a combination of both) which were interdependent or closely related in circumstances and which were committed as part of a sequence of events that took place within a short period of time, regardless of the date of conviction or sentencing for each offense, and the person does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another offense in addition to those included in the expungement application (whether in New Jersey or another state).  

Part 1 of the new section allows a person can now have a total of four (4) disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons  offenses expunged. This is an expansion of the previously allowed three (3).

Part 2 of the section allows for the expungement of an unlimited number of offenses where the convictions were all entered on the same day.  The language is unclear as to whether the person cannot have any prior or subsequent offenses at all or whether other offenses simply cannot be included in the expungement application.  

Part 3 of the section breathes new life into the “Spree” doctrine.  This doctrine had long been permitted under New Jersey law under a case called In re Fontana, 146 NJ Super. 264 (App. Div. 1976) but was but was barred in a later case, State v. Ross, 400 NJ Super. 117 (App. Div. 2008).  The New Jersey Supreme Court in 2015 agreed with the decision is Ross and in, In re Expungement Application of J.S., 223 NJ 54 (2015) killed the doctrine once and for all. The Legislature has now restored the doctrine and permits expungement of an unlimited number of disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses that meet the “Spree” requirements as describe above.  

A petition for expungement under 2C:52-3 can be filed after five (5) years from the date of the most recent conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation, or release from incarceration, whichever is later.  The term “fine” is defined as including all court imposed financial penalties including fines, costs, assessments, and restitution. This effectively defeats an argument that had seen limited success – that unpaid restitution should not be considered in a calculating the five year period.  

There is are exceptions to the five year time requirement:

(1) The fine is satisfied but less than five years have expired from the date of satisfaction, and the five year time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds the person compliant with their payment plan or that they could not due so due to compelling circumstances. Compelling circumstances are determined by looking at  the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the person’s age at the time of conviction, the person’s financial condition, and other relevant information regarding the person’s ability to pay.

(2) At least three (3) but less than five (5) years have expired from the date of the most recent conviction, payment of fine, completion of probation or parole and the person has not been convicted of any disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses since the time of the most recent conviction. The court may in its discretion grant the expungement if it finds that the expungement is in the “public interest” giving due consideration to the nature of the offense or offenses, and the applicant’s character and conduct since the conviction(s).

Please contact the Law Office or Randolph H. Wolf if you have any questions concerning eligibility for an expungement under this section.   

Similar Posts:

By way of disclaimer, I must advise you that the purpose of this blog is not to provide legal advise and I am not doing so. I do not generally police this blog and I have no way of knowing whether the information that anyone else posts is accurate. Also keep in mind that laws and regulations change frequently and anything you read may be out of date.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. [ Sitemap ]