Amendments to the Expungement Statutes (Part 9)

by | Mar 26, 2018 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14 is amended to read as follows:

2C:52-14. A petition for expungement filed pursuant to this chapter shall be denied when:

a. Any statutory prerequisite, including any provision of this chapter, is not fulfilled or there is any other statutory basis for denying relief.

b. The need for the availability of the records outweighs the desirability of having a person freed from any disabilities as otherwise provided in this chapter. An application may be denied under this subsection only following objection of a party given notice pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-10 and the burden of asserting such grounds shall be on the objector, except that in regard to expungement sought for third or fourth degree drug offenses pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:52-2, the court shall consider whether this factor applies regardless of whether any party objects on this basis.

c. In connection with a petition under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-6, the acquittal, discharge or dismissal of charges resulted from a plea-bargaining agreement involving the conviction of other charges. This bar, however, shall not apply once the conviction is itself expunged.

d. The arrest or conviction sought to be expunged is, at the time of hearing, the subject matter of civil litigation between the petitioner or his legal representative and the State, any governmental entity thereof or any State agency and the representatives or employees of any such body.

e. A person has had a previous criminal conviction expunged regardless of the lapse of time between the prior expungement, or sealing under prior law, and the present petition. This provision shall not apply:

(1) When the person is seeking the expungement of a municipal ordinance violation or,

(2) When the person is seeking the expungement of records pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-6.

This amended sub-section deleted language that barred expungements when the applicant seeking the expungement of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense had previously been granted a dismissal of a separate charge through a diversionary program. Once again, we see an amendment consistent with the Legislature’s intent to broaden expungement eligibility.