Waiting Period to file Expungement
An expungement is a removal of a criminal charge from one’s record. Any person can file for expungement of a prior criminal offense in New Jersey, up to and including certain felony offenses, and the process typically takes 4-5 months.
However, there is a waiting period before you’re able to begin the process. The length of time one must wait to file for an expungement varies with the severity of the crime, the court sentence, and other circumstances. The different levels of offenses are as follows: indictable offenses (felony), disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors), municipal ordinances, juvenile delinquents, youth drug offenders, and arrests not resulting in conviction.
Waiting times are calculated from the date a sentence is completed. Usually this is the last event to occur of the following: date of conviction, payment of fine, completion of probation or parole, and release from incarceration. Watch the video below to learn when the clock starts ticking.
Indictable Offenses – Felony
Indictable offenses, or felonies are the most serious of the list. The standard waiting period for offenses of this level is ten years from completion of the sentence. There are two exceptions to this rule that may reduce the waiting period to five years. Learn more about waiting times for indictable offenses.
Disorderly Persons Offenses – Misdemeanor
The waiting period for a disorderly persons offense is only half that of indictable offenses, at five years from completion of the sentence. Expungement Law Amended on April 18 2016 (Waiting period reduced to 3 years but considered an Early Pathway case when filing petition). However, to be eligible for an expungement of this offense, one must never have been convicted of more than 3 disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses. Learn more about disorderly persons expungement.
Municipal Ordinance Violations
Someone convicted of a violation of a municipal ordinance need only wait two years from completion of the sentence. In addition, the person must not have been convicted of any prior or subsequent indictable offenses, or more than two disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses. Learn more about municipal ordinance expungement.
For the purpose of expungement, whatever act the juvenile is convicted for would be classified as if the juvenile were an adult. Therefore, the same waiting period applies. For example, if a person was found juvenile delinquent of shoplifting $400 worth of merchandise, an indictable offense of the forth degree, the person would probably have to wait 10 years from completing the court’s sentence before applying for an expungement.
However, there is one exception that allows a juvenile delinquent to have his or her entire delinquent record expunged if five years have passed since the person was released from legal custody or supervision, or five years have passed from the entry of any court order not involving legal custody. Post-incarceration supervision is not included in the calculation of the five year period. There are other requirements as well. Learn more about juvenile record expungement.
Youth Drug Offenses
Any person convicted for the possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance while 21 years of age or younger may file for an expungement after one year has passed from the date of sentence completion. The person must not have violated any terms of his probation or parole, may not have been convicted of any previous or subsequent criminal act or for the sale or use of a controlled dangerous substance, and must not have had any criminal matter dismissed because of acceptance into supervisory treatment. The one year waiting period does not apply to sale, distribution, or possession with intent to sell, unless only a small amount of marijuana (under 25 grams) or hashish (under 5 grams) was invovled. Learn more about youth drug offense expungement.
Arrests Not Resulting in Conviction
A person may immediately file for expungement if he is acquitted, the proceedings are dismissed, or he is discharged without conviction. However, if the person’s charges were dismissed because of a diversionary program, such as Pretrial Intervention or Conditional Discharge, the person must wait six months from the completion of such program. A person whose acquittal, discharge, or dismissal was because the person was ruled to be insane or lacking the mental capacity to commit a crime may not file for an expungement. Learn more about arrest not resulting in a conviction expungement.