As with most expungement in New Jersey, there is a waiting period before you are eligible. When it comes to crimes (what the most states would be referred to as felonies) that period is 10 years. But 10 years can be a long time to wait, especially when it is interfering with your ability to get a job (or a better one) or get on with other aspects of your life.

On top of that, this is not just 10 years from the date of conviction, or the date you get out of jail and complete probation or parole. It is 10 years from the date that you fully completed all the terms of your sentence, including the payment of fines and restitution. This can be a real problem if you haven't been able to afford to do that, or have a long payment plan. The 10 years would run from the last payment.

Isn't there a way to shorten that time period?

Will That Be a 5 or 10 Year Expungement?

Fortunately, there is! The New Jersey legislature has created a fast track expungement procedure for crimes! You can take advantage of it in two ways.

10 Years, But Money Not Paid

First, if the 10 years has passed from the completion of jail time, probation, or parole, you can still apply for an expungement even if the fines are not fully paid under certain circumstances:

  • You have substantially paid fines on the court schedule; and
  • Have a substantial financial inability to pay

This has to be proven by "compelling circumstances." What are compelling circumstances? Well, courts may look at

  • The amount of the fines imposed;
  • Your age at the time of the offense;
  • Your financial condition; or
  • Other relevant circumstances regarding your ability to pay.

5 Years and Money Paid

Second, if it has been at least five years since your date of conviction, payment of fines, satisfactory completion of probation and parole, and release from jail, which ever is later, you can apply for an expungement. However:

  • you must not have been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense since the conviction, and
  • the court must find that an expungement is "in the public interest."

Determination of "public interest" is not that simple or straightforward, and prosecutors are more likely to object to these expungement petitions than they are those made after 10 years, and may even appeal the decision of the court should you win.

Take Action Now!

But this should not dissuade you from trying to get a fast track expungement. If the 10 years have past and you can show compelling circumstances for a financial inability to pay, or you have paid all of your fines and complied with your sentence, it has been five years, and you have not gotten into any further trouble, you should certainly pursue it!

If you are looking to expunge some arrests and/or convictions in your past that occurred in the Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, area, have decided that you need an expungement and are ready to take action, then click on this link to schedule a call with me. Don’t let your past hold you back from a better future!

If you are not sure you are ready to hire a lawyer, but want more information, then download my free book, What Everyone Should Know About Getting a NJ Expungement to get the answers you're looking for!

Want to see if you are even eligible for an expungement? Take the quiz to the right and see!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.