The Expungement statute codified by N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1, et al., previously required a mandatory ten year waiting period prior to filing an Expungement Petition for an indictable offense. Recently, however, the Expungement statute has been amended to permit an Expungement after five years has expired from the date of the conviction, payment of fine(s), satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from being incarcerated, whichever is later. The new statute also requires that the person has not been convicted of any crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the conviction and the Court must find in its discretion that it is in the public’s interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense and the applicants character and conduct since the date of conviction that the Expungement is appropriate.


In determining whether compelling circumstances exist in order to grant an Expungement, the Court may consider the amount of fine(s) imposed, the applicant’s age at the time of the offense, the applicant’s financial situation and other relevant circumstances regarding the person’s ability to pay. This new section of the Expungement statute allows individuals who previously had to wait ten years to apply for an Expungement to now be able to file after only five years. This statute is relatively new, and thus, the Court typically holds hearings on these applications after a thorough review of the applicant’s history. Judges are inclined to grant the Expungement unless there are extenuating circumstances which show that it would not be in the public’s interest to grant the Expungement.


It is important that an applicant review their paperwork thoroughly to determine if they meet this new five year statute. This amendment is certainly good news for many people who may have made an error at some time in their life and are now dealing with the consequences of same.