Amendments to 2C:52-2 continued as follows:
Additionally, an application may be filed and presented, and the court may grant an expungement pursuant to this section, although less than five years have expired in accordance with the time requirements when the court finds:
- the court-ordered financial assessment is satisfied but less than five years have expired from the date of satisfaction, and the time requirement of five years is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered pursuant to N.J.S.2C:46-1 et seq., or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the assessment; or
- at least four but less than five years have expired from the date of the most recent conviction, payment of any court-ordered financial assessment, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; and
the person has not been otherwise convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the most recent conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that compelling circumstances exist to grant the expungement. The prosecutor may object pursuant to section
11 of P.L., c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), N.J.S.2C:52-11, N.J.S.2C:52-14, or N.J.S.2C:52-24.
In determining whether compelling circumstances exist for the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, a court may consider the amount of any court-ordered financial assessment imposed, the person’s age at the time of the offense or offenses, the person’s financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the person’s ability to pay.
Additional changes to the above-quoted language include decreasing the expungement petition waiting period from six years to four years. This decreased waiting period applies to “public interest” applications for the expungement of felony convictions. The “public interest” applications put a higher burden on the applicant to obtain an expungement. Otherwise, there is a lower standard to overcome with the five-year waiting period. The term “public interest” was also changed to “compelling circumstances.”