Application to Expunge Juvenile History Records in New Jersey
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The process for expunging juvenile records is the same as that for expunging adult criminal records. In fact, if you have both adult and juvenile records to expunge, you should consider whether to include all such matters in your expungement petition.
In New Jersey the expungement of juvenile records involves the following seven (7) steps:
Step 1: Locate your juvenile history record (referred to as your "rap sheet"). To do so, you will need to get certain information, such as: the date you were taken into custody; the offense(s) for which you were you were taken into custody or adjudicated delinquent; the summons, docket, warrant or complaint number; the date of disposition (i.e., date juvenile adjudicated or date of dismissal); the punishment imposed or other disposition.
Your attorney, if you had an attorney, will have this information. If not, you will have to contact the Superior Court Family Division Office in the county where: (a) you were taken into custody as a juvenile; (b) where charges were filed; or (c) where the adjudication occurred. Court officials will advise you as to how copies of records are obtained.
If you were taken into custody as a juvenile, with no charges filed against, you must contact the appropriate law enforcement agency for information related to that incident. You may be able to find information you need by contacting the arresting police department. Finally, you can obtain your juvenile history record from the New Jersey State Police. To do this, you will start by having your fingerprints taken. The State Police can explain all steps necessary for you to do this. You can find their contact information at http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/about/serv_chrc.html.
Note: NJ State Police will have a juvenile history record if you were fingerprinted when taken into custody. If you were not fingerprinted, you will still have a record with the local police department and the court, but you will probably not have a record sheet within the Division of State Police, State Bureau of Investigation.
Someone adjudged a juvenile delinquent can seek an expungement if that juvenile act would have been a(n): crime, petty disorderly offense, ordinance violation if committed by an adult. Additionally, anyone adjudged a juvenile delinquent may have their entire record of delinquency expunged if:
- It has been 5 or more years since their final discharge from custody/supervision, OR it has been at least 5 years after the entry of any other court order, not involving custody/supervision; and,
- The person has not been convicted of: (a) a crime, a disorderly (petty disorderly) persons offense, OR (b) adjudged a delinquent, OR (c) in need of supervision, during the previous 5 years, AND no criminal proceeding or complaint is pending seeking a conviction or adjudication; and,
- They have never been adjudged a juvenile delinquent on the basis of an act which, if committed by an adult, would be ineligible for expungement (listed at N.J.S. 2C:52-2); and,
- The person has never had an adult conviction expunged; and,
- The person has never had adult criminal charges dismissed, following completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversionary program.
Finally, anyone charged with an act of delinquency but having had the proceedings dismissed, may then have the charges expunged (N.J.S. 2C:52-6).
Step 2: Complete all required forms. The first of these is a "Petition for Expungement". This Petition will state the reason for which you are requesting that the court issue an "Order of Expungement". You must have the petition notarized. You will also need to fill out the "Order for Hearing" (which will be used by the judge assigned to your case to schedule a hearing).
Step 3: File all required forms. The "Petition for Expungement", "Order for Hearing", etc. will be filed with the court. You must file the petition and related documents in the county where you were taken into custody. A "Cover Letter" should also be included. A Cover Letter describes the contents of your package. Once all forms have been completed, you need to mail or file the forms to the Criminal Case Management Office in the county where you were taken into custody OR where the adjudication occurred. If you prefer, you may file this package in person. Ask the clerk about any fees involved. Copies of the filed documents will be returned to you.
Note: If you were taken into custody in more than one county, contact the Criminal Case Management Office in both counties and ask whether they will allow you to file for expungement of your entire record in that county.
Step 4: Distribute copies of all filed forms. You will receive copies of the documents submitted marked "Filed". The Order for Hearing will also state the time and the date for your hearing (typically 35 to 60 days after your petition is received).
Within 5 days of receiving the filed copies from the court (Petition for Expungement, Order for Hearing, and proposed Expungement Order), you should mail a copy of each returned document, certified mail – return receipt requested, to each of the following government agencies:
- The Attorney General of New Jersey.
- The Superintendent of State Police, Expungement Unit.
- The Clerk of the municipal court (even if the matter was transferred over to juvenile court).
- The Chief of Police or other police department heads where the offense was committed or where you were taken into custody.
- The chief law enforcement officer of any other law enforcement agency of the state that participated in your being taken into custody.
- The director/superintendent of any juvenile detention center (or similar facility) in which you were detained.
- The County Probation Division, if you were granted a deferred disposition or diversion.
- The County Family Division.
Step 5: Contact the Criminal Case Management Office and ask the clerk whether the court requires that the proof of mailing be submitted at or prior to the hearing.
Step 6: Go to any required hearing. If appearing in person is not mandatory (not all counties require you to appear), you must mail the proof of mailing to the Criminal Case Management office where you filed your petition at least one week before the scheduled hearing.
If you are required to appear, take your copies of the filed Petition for Expungement, the Expungement Order, and proof of mailing with you to the hearing. At the hearing, any law enforcement officers objecting to expungement will tell the judge the reason. The judge may ask you some questions and will decide whether to grant or deny you an expungement. Typically if no law enforcement officers object to the expungement, the judge will grant your expungement. If granted, you will receive a signed and filed Expungement Order in the mail.
Step 7: Distribute the finalized Expungement Order. After you receive a copy of the Expungement Order signed by the judge and stamped "Filed" by the court, mail copies, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each of the agencies/entities listed in Step 3, as well as to:
- The Records Division of any institution where you were detained.
- The County Identification Bureau where you were taken into custody.
Copies of all needed forms (with complete step-by-step instructions) can be found at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/prose/10557_expunge_kit.pdf
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