Jersey City, New Jersey – The State of New Jersey recently amended the expungement laws to make more people eligible for expungements. The law is known as the Clean Slate Law and is already in effect. This is a brief summary of some of the most significant changes.

  1. A person may now expunged both one indictable crime (felony) convictions and up to three disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors) convictions. Previously, a person convicted of a crime and three disorderly persons offenses could only expunge the indictable conviction.
  2. A person may now expunge disorderly persons offenses even if the person has previously been granted an expungement. Previously, a person was only eligible for one expungement of crimes and offenses, and could only benefit from a second expungement for non-convictions and municipal ordinance violations.
  3. A person may now expunge all convictions contained in one judgment of conviction, even if those crimes are not part of one course of criminal activity. Previously, if a person was subject to multiple charges that were resolved in one judgment of conviction, if those charges were not part of one continuous criminal activity, nothing could be expunged.
  4. A person may now pursue an expungement after one conviction for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, even within a park zone, school zone, or public housing facility. Previously, such convictions would bar any expungement or require special showings of eligibility.
  5. A person may now seek an expungement for an indictable crime conviction after five years from the completion of all penalties. Previously, a person had to wait six years after completion of all penalties to pursue an expungement.
  6. The failure to pay all financial assessments will no longer bar an expungement unless the failure to pay was willful. For example, if a person is ordered to pay $100,000 of restitution at $500 per month while on probation, that person will not have paid all restitution by the end of probation. Such a circumstance will no longer bar expungement so long as the person made the required payments or failed to make them due to circumstances that are something other than willful non-payment, such as unemployment or substantial medical expenses.
  7. A person may now seek an expungement for an indictable crime conviction four years after completion of all non-financial penalties based upon a showing of compelling circumstances to grant the expungement. Previously, a person had to wait at least five years to apply for such an expungement.
  8. A person may now seek an expungement for a conviction for distribution of controlled dangerous substances upon a showing of compelling reasons for the expungement. Previously, such convictions were ineligible for expungement.
  9. A person may now seek an expungement of up to five disorderly persons offenses if s/he has not been convicted of an indictable crime. Previously, a person could only seek expungement of up to four disorderly persons convictions.
  10. For all proceedings, in any court, not resulting in a conviction, a person is now entitled to automatic and mandatory expungement of the records at the time of dismissal. Previously, such dismissals at the Superior Court required a formal expungement petition and proceeding.
  11. Many, though not all, convictions not eligible for expungement are subject to sealing after ten years from completion of penalties so the records will not be available for public consumption, but would still be available and subject to consideration by the courts if the person is later convicted of another crime.
  12. Expungements must now be filed electronically once the courts establish a procedure for doing so.
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