Leading Causes of Expungement Denial and Objection in New Jersey

Why do Expungements Get Denied in NJ?

Causes of Expungement Denial in New Jersey An expungement is the name for removing or otherwise making unavailable to the public all court, prison, jail, detention, law enforcement, or criminal justice records. Such records include arrests, court proceedings, and case dispositions, such as dismissals, convictions, or juvenile adjudications. An expungement requires a waiting period, application, and court order in order to successfully go through in New Jersey. However, the expungement application may be rejected or objected to for several important reasons.

Here are the key questions to ask about your expungement petition if it gets denied or the prosecutor objects:

#1 Did You Include Your Entire Criminal Record?  

A court may not approve your application because of a lack of completeness. A prosecutor may object to your request for an expungement, and one common reason is an incomplete disclosure. You must include the entire criminal history in your petition to avoid a prosecutor’s objection. Since prosecutors can access your records through the court’s computerized data systems, the one handling your expungement request can discover what is missing from your criminal record. Thus, your disclosure must include all violations, no matter how small, like dismissed charges, municipal ordinance violations, and out-of-state criminal offenses or traffic infractions that are considered crimes in other states, such as DWI charges.

You may not remember every incident, large or small, but you can copy your criminal record by requesting it from the New Jersey State Police or applying to the FBI for a complete national record before you apply to avoid omitting anything and the resulting delay. Things you should remember, like an arrest, must be included in your application, or you risk a court denying your expungement request. An experienced New Jersey expungement attorney can help you obtain your criminal record and amend your petition with the missing records and information.

#2 Was the Information Accurate and Complete? 

A complete and accurate petition is necessary to get a record expungement. Thus, a second reason for an objection to your petition is inaccuracy. As mentioned, you must include all information and records showing arrests, convictions, and proceedings, with proper dates and violation information. You may have inaccurate arrest dates, incorrect statutes, dates you paid your fines or completed probation, or other inaccuracies. You must be as detailed as possible when researching and recording your criminal history for expungement purposes.

#3 How Many Crimes and Offenses are You Trying to Expunge? 

Another objection to your petition may be ineligibility. You may be eligible for an expungement in New Jersey if you have one or more criminal convictions, regardless of prior expungements. You may also be eligible for the expungement of multiple criminal convictions or a combination of crimes and offenses in one judgment. In that same vein, you can delete a combination of crimes and disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses that arose from one incident or a series of incidences that are closely related in circumstances that occurred within a short time. Before recent changes that raised the cap on how many expungements, crimes, or offenses you could have, you were more limited by the number of convictions on your record. To be safe, check with an attorney to determine your specific eligibility based on the updated expungement laws.

#4 Are Any of Your Crimes Ineligible for Expungement? 

Some criminal convictions are not eligible for expungement, such as arson, robbery, kidnapping, homicide, sexual assault, perjury, bribery, and others. Records concerning these types of crimes may be eligible when a conviction did not result from the charges. You can check with an attorney to confirm whether you can delete records relating to these charges. Otherwise, your petition will not be successful in seeking expungement of ineligible criminal convictions.

#5 Have You Satisfied the Waiting Period Before Applying for an Expungement? 

Fortunately, New Jersey has a clean slate expungement law (N.J.S.A. 2C:52-5.3), that allows you to wipe out your criminal record of eligible convictions after ten years from the last conviction, as long as you completed all court-ordered sentences, probation, parole, and paid all fees, fines, and restitution. Otherwise, you must usually wait five years to request to expunge a conviction involving an indictable crime or disorderly persons offense. The five years starts after completing all terms of your sentence, including payment of fees, fines, and restitution. Some circumstances allow you to apply before five years and some records, like municipal court ordinance violations and juvenile records, are eligible for expungement sooner. A court may automatically expunge Drug Court and some marijuana convictions. However, failing to wait long enough before filing your expungement petition is an objectionable defect.

#6 Did You Follow the Right Process to Expunge Your Record? 

Even if you are eligible for an expungement and your application is complete, you still may need help getting your petition approved when you do not follow the right procedure to file your application. All expungement petitions are created and submitted electronically through the court’s computerized system. You must create a login identification and password before making sure to follow all of the directions accurately. The court’s computer system gives you options to file a regular, marijuana, or clean slate expungement. Once you submit your petition online, it goes to the prosecutor and other necessary parties. Improperly submitting your document may cause rejection and delay.

#7 Do You Have a Criminal Case Still Pending? 

Your petition may not go through when you have a pending criminal matter. Before you can delete your record, you must have a final resolution of your pending criminal case. The court must have your complete history of convictions to review to grant your petition. It is critical to know and understand that you must wait until the criminal matter is over before you can apply for an expungement.

Possible Next Steps after an Expungement Denial or Objection

When the prosecutor objects to your expungement petition or the judge denies it, you may have to amend your petition for incorrect information, or you may have to file a timely, formal answer to the prosecutor’s objections. You may have to argue in a written response to the prosecutor and judge and appear in court to defend your petition. Understanding the grounds for opposing the prosecutor’s objections is crucial. A quality expungement lawyer can write an effective opposition to a prosecutor’s objections to your petition and represent you in court if and when necessary. The judge can deny your petition when you do not adequately address the prosecutor’s objections, so it is highly advisable to have a skilled expungement attorney on your side.

How can an Expungement Lawyer Help Ensure that my Petition is Not Objected to or Denied?

No doubt, you save time and expense by getting your expungement petition right from the start. When a knowledgeable New Jersey expungement lawyer helps you throughout the process, you are likelier to get your petition through without objection. An attorney can advise you about whether you qualify to expunge your record and then correctly handle the process on your behalf step by step.

Avoid or Handle an Expungement Denial with our New Jersey Expungement Attorneys

When you are interested in expunging your criminal record in New Jersey, it is smart to hire an experienced expungement attorney. Travis J. Tormey and the seasoned team of New Jersey expungement lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm have literally handled thousands of expungements of all different kinds, including expungements restore gun rights, expungements of diversionary programs like Pre-Trial Intervention, misdemeanor expungements, and expungements involving felony crimes of varying degrees. We know that your case takes great care and careful attention to the procedural, eligibility, and fact-specific complexities involved in expungements in NJ. Contact us at (201)-556-2570 to explore your legal options for clearing your criminal record and find out how our attorneys can assist with your expungement to ensure the highest likelihood of success.


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