About Drug Arrest Expungements
Whenever a person is charged with a crime, he or she will have a “criminal record.” Evidence of the criminal arrest will remain regardless of how the case is resolved. As such, it is important for anyone who has been charged with a crime to consult an experienced drug arrest expungement attorney to discuss the expungement process.
Even if a case is dismissed, the criminal record including any fingerprints, photographs and the record of the charge/arrest remain on their record forever. If a defendant is convicted of the crime, it is even more important to assess eligibility for expungement. An experienced drug arrest expungement lawyer can help. Criminal records can follow a defendant long beyond the day he or she left the courthouse. Prospective employers, colleges and universities, insurance companies, landlords, adoption agencies, banks, and mortgage lenders routinely check these records for evidence of a criminal past.
New Jersey Expungement Law
The right to have an arrest or conviction expunged is rooted in New Jersey statute. The law provides that “expungement shall mean the extraction and isolation of all records on file.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1(a). “If an order of expungement is granted, the arrest, conviction and any proceedings related thereto shall be deemed not to have occurred, and the petitioner may answer any questions relating to their occurrence accordingly.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1(a). The plain language of this statute reveals that, in nearly all instances, if you are questioned about the existence of an arrest or conviction you may legally deny that such an event ever took place.
The law also sets forth the public policy motivations behind the process: “This chapter shall be construed with the primary objective of providing relief to the one-time offender who has led a life of rectitude and disassociated himself with unlawful activity, but not to create a system whereby periodic violators of the law or those who associate themselves with criminal activity have a regular means of expunging their police records.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-52.
If the expungement is granted, “all records specified in the expungement order shall be removed from the files of the agencies…and shall be placed in the control of a person who has been designated by the head of each such agency.” This is designed to “ensure that such records or the information contained therein are not related for any reason and are not utilized or referred to for any purposes.” If someone were to make a request for information concerning your criminal record, “all noticed officers, departments and agencies shall reply, with respect to the arrest, conviction or related proceedings which are the subject of the order, that there is no record information.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-15. Any person who reveals to another the existence of an arrest, conviction or related legal proceedings may be charged with a criminal disorderly persons offense. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-30.
Waiting Time for New Jersey Expungements
The law creates waiting periods before an applicant can apply for an expungement. The amount of time necessary to wait before filing an expungement application depends upon the nature of the underlying offense:
|Type of Case||Waiting Period|
|Crime (Felony)||5-10 years|
|Disorderly Persons Offense (Misdemeanor)||5 years|
|Petty Disorderly Persons Offense (Misdemeanor)||5 years|
|Juvenile Charge||5 years or period for equivalent charge if committed by an adult, whichever is less|
|Municipal Ordinance||2 years|
|Young Drug Offender
(21 years of age or younger)
|PTI or Conditional Discharge||6 months from successful completion|
|Not guilty by reason of insanity, or not guilty for lack of mental capacity||Cannot be expunged|
|Dismissal||No waiting period|
New Jersey Expungement Process
The expungement process in New Jersey is somewhat complex. Necessary documents must be served on the Superior Court Judge, New Jersey Attorney General, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, County Prosecutor’s Office, Chief of Police Department, and sitting Municipal Court Judge.
All documents must be sent via Certified Mail with return receipt requested, proof of which must be included in the final application. In most cases, an expungement can be obtained without the need for the applicant to appear in Court.
The process starts by filing a Verified Petition, Verification signed by the applicant, Order Fixing Hearing Date and Order for Expungement of Records with the expungement clerk in the county in which the charge originated. Upon receipt of these documents, a New Jersey Superior Court Judge will sign the Order setting a hearing date. Once the applicant’s drug arrest expungement attorney has received this Order, it must be served on all necessary law enforcement agencies. This will give the agencies an opportunity to raise objection to the application. Absent objection, a Superior Court Judge will decide the petition on or around the hearing date. In the event objection is raised, the Court will entertain oral argument on the hearing date.
If the Order for Expungement is signed, it must then be served on all of the law enforcement agencies and the underlying court.
This law firm has experience helping clients obtain expungements in Drug arrest and throughout New Jersey. Al Mollo, Esq. recently in a television commercial explaining the benefits of a New Jersey expungement. Please contact our office at (732) 747-1844 or e-mail Al Mollo directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website at www.mollolawfirm.com for more information. Thank you.