As stated by the New Jersey Supreme Court, millions of adults nationwide have criminal records that impact their reentry into society, often for many years after their sentence is complete. Criminal records present barriers to employment, licensing, housing, and school applications, among other things. In re Kollman, 210 N.J. 557 (N.J. 2012)
The New Jersey State legislature in an effort to afford a second chance to certain offenders enacted a law, allowing for the expungement of criminal records from public record. N.J.S.A. 2C:52–2(a) Under the revised expungement law the New Jersey legislature slashed the time extent for defendants to apply for expungement from at least ten years after completion of a sentence to five years, under what is referred to as the “early pathway to expungement.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52–2(a)(2).
The new expungement statute states that if at least five years has expired from the date of conviction, fine, completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, an individual may then petition the court for record expungement. The New Jersey expungement statute adds that in order to be eligible, the individual must not have been convicted of a crime, nor received a disorderly person’s offense, nor petty disorderly person’s offense, since the time of the conviction. According to the statute, your record will be expunged only if the court finds that expungement is in the public interest—taking into account the nature of the offense, as well as the individual’s character and conduct since conviction.