Do you have questions about applying for multiple expungements in New Jersey? If you are wondering how many times you can apply for an expungement in New Jersey, you are not alone. There are many misconceptions, even among New Jersey expungement lawyers themselves, surrounding this question. Some attorneys will incorrectly advise you that you can only apply for an expungement once. This advice, however, is incorrect.
There is simply no limit to the number of expungement petitions an individual may file, so long as the number and type of offenses requested to be expunged are not statutorily prohibited. Thus, when you apply for a second or subsequent expungement, the court will take into consideration those offenses that you have had expunged in the past in determining your current eligibility.
So, for example, if you applied for and were granted the expungement of a disorderly persons offense (or misdemeanor) in 2005, and you were subsequently convicted of another disorderly persons offense in 2010, the court would take into consideration the disorderly persons conviction that you had previously expunged in 2005. You would nonetheless still be eligible to expunge the 2010 disorderly persons offense, however. This is because, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3, the New Jersey expungement statute relating to disorderly persons offenses, for an individual who has not been convicted of an indictable offense (felony), you are eligible to expunge up to three disorderly persons offenses. Thus, taking into consideration your previous expungement, because you have been convicted of a disorderly persons offense on a total of two occasions, you would be eligible to expunge your second conviction in a subsequent expungement proceeding.
If, however, you applied for and were granted the expungement of an indictable offense (also known as a crime or a felony) in 2005, and you were subsequently convicted of another indictable offense in 2010, which you would now like to expunge, you would not be eligible to do so. This is because, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2, the New Jersey expungement statute dealing with indictable offenses, an individual is only eligible to expunge an indictable offense if they have no prior or subsequent indictable convictions. In other words, you are only eligible to expunge one indictable offense. Taking into consideration the indictable offense that was expunged in 2005, therefore, your subsequent indictable conviction would not be eligible for expungement.
If you were told by another attorney that you are only permitted to receive an expungement only once, you might be wondering why there is so much disagreement on this topic. The experienced expungement attorneys at Katherine O’Brien Law believe that this is due to the language contained within N.J.S.A. 2C:52-8 and N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14.
N.J.S.A. 2C:52-8(b) directs that “[t]here shall be attached to a petition for expungement:”
b. In those instances where the petitioner is seeking the expungement of a criminal conviction, a statement with affidavit or verification that he has never been granted expungement, sealing or similar relief regarding a criminal conviction by any court in this State or other state or by any Federal court.
[N.J.S.A. 2C:52-8(b) (emphasis added.)]
Moreover, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14(e):
e. A person has had a previous criminal conviction expunged regardless of the lapse of time between the prior expungement, or sealing under prior law, and the present petition. This provision shall not apply:
(1) When the person is seeking the expungement of a municipal ordinance violation or,
(2) When the person is seeking the expungement of records pursuant to section 2C:52-6.
[N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14(e) (emphasis added.)]
In State v. A.N.J., 192 N.J. Super. 350 (App. Div. 1983), the New Jersey Appellate Division interpreted this language. There the defendant was convicted of three disorderly persons offenses. Two of those offenses were expunged on July 30, 1982. The defendant thereafter applied to expunge the third disorderly persons conviction. The prosecutor objected to the second expungement application, arguing that the expungement statute “would militate against two expungements . . . .” In concluding that the defendant’s third disorderly persons conviction was eligible for expungement, however, the Appellate Division analyzed the language set forth in these two statutes and stated that, “[s]ince disorderly persons offenses are not crimes, N.J.S.A. 2C:1-4(b), the inference to be drawn is that a petitioner seeking expungement of a disorderly persons offense need not establish that he has never been granted expungement of another disorderly persons conviction.” The court therefore held that the “prior expungement of a disorderly persons, i.e., non-criminal, conviction does not foreclose the grant of another such expungement.”
The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Division’s decision in this regard State v. A.N.J., 98 N.J. 421 (1985).
Experienced, Affordable New Jersey Expungement Lawyers
If you have questions regarding applying for multiple expungements, contact the New Jersey expungement lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law today. At Katherine O’Brien Law, we offer affordable New Jersey expungements starting at only $695.00 (all inclusive). We also offer flexible payment plans and can start working on your expungement for as little as $300.00 down. Contact us today at 856-832-2482 for a free consultation.