Application Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in New Jersey

To expunge an adult criminal record in New Jersey, there are several steps to follow:

  • To obtain a copy of your criminal record, have as much as you can on: when you were arrested, what you were arrested for or convicted of, docket number, warrant or complaint, when found guilty or not guilty or the charges dismissed, and whatever sentence was imposed. If you had a lawyer during the case, she will probably have this information. Otherwise, you can contacting the Superior Court Criminal Case Management office of the municipal court where the arrest/conviction took place; contacting the prosecutor or the New Jersey State Police Department
  • Complete required forms for expungement, including an official "Petition for Expungement" with an Order for a Hearing. On the Petition, you need to list the reasons why you believe your record should be expunged. The order for a hearing is used by the judge to schedule the time when your arguments for expungement will be heard. The forms should be filled out in full and the Petition notarized.
  • Mail or file forms: go to the court in the county where you were arrested. Typically, you should also include a cover letter when mailing the forms that lists the information enclosed in the packet. If the arrest took place in multiple counties, you may be able to file the petition in only one, but call first to ask what court has jurisdiction over your expungement.
  • Within five days, you will get copies of the forms you filled out, returned, and labeled as filed. The returned forms will specify when and where your hearing is scheduled. You must mail copies of the forms by certified mail, within 5 days of their receipt, to several parties. You may need to submit proof of mailing at your expungement hearing. Parties who must receive a copy include:
    • The New Jersey Attorney General.
    • The State Police, Expungement Unit Superintendent; the head of the police department where the arrest occurred; the head law enforcement official in any state that participated in the arrest.
    • The Prosecutor of the county of your arrest.
    • The Clerk of the court that heard the matter.
    • The Warden or superintendent of any institution of your incarceration.
    • The County Probation Division if you: were granted conditional discharge, enrolled in Pretrial Intervention Program, granted deferred disposition, performed community service, owed fines or restitution or served probation.
    • The Division of Criminal Justice, Records and Identification Unit, if your case was processed through New Jersey's Grand Jury.
  • Make an appearance at the expungement hearing, if required to do so. Provide proof of mailing the forms (either in person or by mail if you do not have to appear at the hearing). Any objections by law enforcement officials to the expungement will be presented to the court. The judge may also question you. She will then determine whether to grant your expungement.
  • Distribute your expungement order. You may be given a copy of the expungement order at a hearing (if one is held and you appeal) or it may be mailed to you. To ensure your records are properly expunged at all agencies, you must send copies to each of the law enforcement agencies listed in step 4, as well as to the records division of any institution of incarceration and the identification bureau where you were arrested or incarcerated.

Copies of all applicable forms (with step-by-step instructions) are at: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/prose/10557_expunge_kit.pdf

For more advice on New Jersey expungements, click on the following:

Overview of New Jersey Criminal Record Expungements

Eligibility for Expungement of Adult Criminal Records in New Jersey

Application to Expunge Juvenile History Records in New Jersey

Certificate of Rehabilitation in New Jersey

Do I Need an Attorney to File for an Expungement in New Jersey?