EXPUNGEMENT OF INDICTABLE CONVICTIONS

Time Period for Expungement of Indictable Convictions

Under N.J.S.A. 2c:52-2 Expungements of Indictable offenses (also referred to as Felonies or Crimes) is generally permitted after six (6) years have passed since the later of the date of your conviction, payment of all fines and restitution, release from jail, or completion of parole or probation.  This time period may be relaxed if you qualify for the Early Pathways described below.

  • Disqualification from Expungement.  There is a list of crimes that are never eligible for expungement.  Click here for a detailed list. These offenses include any First or Second Degree drug conviction.  In addition, convictions for possession with intent to distribute or distribution of certain types or amounts of drugs (which are Third and Fourth Degree offenses) may require a Public Interest Expungement as described below.  In addition, if you have a total of four (4) Disorderly Persons and Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses, you are not eligible to have your Indictable conviction expunged. If you have more than one Indictable conviction you cannot obtain an expungement of any of them unless they qualify under the Single Judgement of Conviction or Spree exceptions described below.  Completion of Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) no longer bars the expungement of a later Indictable Offense conviction.
  • Early Pathways for Non-Payment of Fines.  If the fine has been paid, but, less than 6 years have expired from the date of satisfaction, and the time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the petitioner complied with the payment plan or could not due so to compelling circumstances,  then the Court can grant the expungement even though the 6 years have not run. Compelling circumstances are determined by considering 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. What this means is that if you otherwise meet the time requirements (you were sentenced, completed jail, probation and/or parole more than 6 years ago) but you simply did not pay your fine, you may still be eligible for Expungement.
  • Early Pathways in the Public Interest.  If you have a felony conviction and at least 5 years have expired from the date of your conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; and you have 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 your character and conduct since conviction, an early expungement may be granted. This is of limited benefit since it only reduces the time period from six (6) years down to five (5) years but is available  in the appropriate circumstances.
  • Public Interest Expungements for Certain Drug Offenses.   If you have a conviction for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession with intent to sell, expungement shall be permitted where the conviction is of the third or fourth degree and where the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense and your character and conduct since conviction. This section applies to most possession with intent and distribution charges for small amounts (under ½ ounce) of cocaine and heroin as well as small amounts of pills such as oxycodone, ecstasy, or xanax.  These types of charges are not expungeable under the normal expungement rules, but, a Court does have the discretion to grant them. Possession with intent to distribute and distribution charges involving less than a half an ounce (½ oz.) of Marijuana (a fourth degree offense) is expungeable under the standard expungement statute and do not require a Public Interest Expungement.
  • GRANTING OF PUBLIC INTEREST EXPUNGEMENTS.  Expungement applications under the Public Interest standard are more difficult to obtain than if you qualify under the normal statute. We will have to supply documentary evidence to the court of your character and what you have accomplished in terms of education, employment, family responsibilities, and community involvement, since the date of your conviction. We always have to file a written Legal Brief with the Court explaining how the law applies to your particular circumstances and telling the Court why it should grant the expungement.  The court may in rare cases require you to appear for a hearing if it feels it necessary.
  • Expunging Disorderly Persons Offenses Along With An Indictable (Felony) Conviction.   If you have Disorderly Persons Offenses or Petty Disorderly Persons convictions along with your Indictable conviction, you cannot expunge them under the Disorderly Persons section of the Expungement Statute.  They can only be expunged under the Indictable section. This section permits the Expungement of One (1) Indictable offense and up to three (3) additional Disorderly Persons and/or Petty Disorderly Persons offenses.  If you have a total of four (4) Disorderly Persons and Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses, you cannot obtain any expungement of any of them and cannot obtain an Expungement of your Indictable Conviction either.
  • Expunging Multiple Indictables under the Single Judgement of Conviction Exception.  You can have more than one Indictable (Felony) offenses expunged.  The statute permits an expungement for a person who has been convicted of multiple crimes or a combination of one or more crimes and one or more disorderly persons offenses and/or petty disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey all of which are listed in a single judgment of conviction and does not otherwise have any prior or subsequent conviction for another crime or offense in addition to those convictions included in the expungement application.  If you were sentenced for multiple crimes on the same date, regardless of the dates the offenses took place, you may be eligible under this exception.
  • The “Spree” Exception for Multiple Indictable Convictions.  The person has been convicted of multiple crimes or a combination of one or more crimes and/or 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 crime or offense in addition to those included in the expungement application.  An example of this exception would be if you committed several burglaries in a short period of time but were convicted under separate indictments and sentenced on different dates.
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