How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Record in New Jersey?

How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Record in New Jersey?

As of February of 2023, expungements in New Jersey are taking an unprecedented amount of time. This is mainly due to Covid-19 backlog and lack of proper staffing within the New Jersey State Police (“NJSP”) Expungement Unit (the NJSP is the state agency that is tasked with actually removing your records from your criminal history once they have been ordered expunged by the court).

The court will grant your expungement in approximately one year, give or take, depending on the circumstances of your case. 

Once the court grants your expungement, the expungement order then needs to be served on the state agencies, such as the police departments and the New Jersey State Police, so that they can remove the expunged offenses from your criminal history. Once the expungement order has been served, your expungement is complete in the sense that all of the steps of the expungement process have been completed, and you are just waiting on the NJSP to remove your expunged records from your criminal history.

At this point in the process, your expungement attorney has no control over the processing rate of the actual removal of your records by the New Jersey State Police.

You will need to contact the New Jersey State Police Expungement Unit directly if you have questions about the status of your record removal. You can reach the NJSP Expungement Unit at (609) 671-7900.

Unfortunately, the NJSP are often slow to provide case updates. We understand this is frustrating, but we have no control over this state agency. In short, they remove expunged records on a first-come, first-served basis. They make no exceptions. Thus, we cannot get the NJSP to process your expungement order faster.

Once we receive notification from the NJSP that your records have been removed, however, we will promptly forward this information to your attention. If you would like an update, you must contact the NJSP Expungement Unit directly, as they do not provide us with any updates or information during this process.

As of February of 2023, the NJSP Expungement Unit is taking approximately one year, give or take, to remove expunged records in accordance with expungement orders. However, please be advised that these time frames change frequently. If you would like to know the current processing rate, you would need to contact the NJSP Expungement Unit directly for further information. It is also important to remember that the NJSP is working to improve their backlog, and we have heard that they are trying to hire additional staff to improve their processing rate of expungement orders. Thus, we are hopeful that their processing rates will substantially improve in the near future.

It is also important to remember that if you are filing a petition for expungement today, it will take approximately one year for your expungement to be granted. So, it is not the NJSP’s processing times today that would apply to your expungement. Rather, it would be the processing rates of the NJSP one year from today that would apply. For the above reasons, we believe those rates will be substantially improved.

It is also important to note that these are approximate timeframes that we have found apply to the average expungement case.  Your particular case could, however, take more or less time.  For instance, your expungement might take longer if the County Prosecutor objects to your expungement for any reason, if the New Jersey State Police request more time to review your case, or if you are applying for a special type of expungement known as a “public interest” expungement.

But I read somewhere online that expungements take 3 to 4 months?

There are still several websites out there indicating that New Jersey expungements take 3 to 4 months.  The problem is that these website pages are likely not being updated. If you rely on information obtained from another website, check the date of the article you refer to.  If it was written before 2023, you could assume the data is outdated.

As discussed above, the time frames for expungements in New Jersey can vary significantly from month to month. Thus, any time frames that attorneys or websites provide are just estimates. In addition, we have also learned that some attorneys, during consultations, will tell clients that their expungement will be completed in a shorter time frame than they know is possible to obtain the client’s business. Attorneys know that time is of the essence for most people filing for expungement, and, unfortunately, it is common practice for attorneys to give clients shorter time frames to get their business. At Katherine O’Brien Law, we are honest about the processing rates for expungements in New Jersey. We know that this is essential information that you are relying on to plan for your future, and we therefore try to give you the most accurate assessment possible.

Can anything be done to speed up my expungement?

If you are wondering whether anything can be done to expedite your expungement, the short answer is yes.  For more information, read our posts on Obtaining an Expedited Expungement in New Jersey and 6 Tips for Obtaining a Fast Expungement in New Jersey.

New Jersey Expungement Lawyers

At Katherine O’Brien Law, we understand that for most people seeking an expungement, time is of the essence.  Perhaps you have been laid off or denied a promotion or job opportunity due to your record.  We pledge to do everything we can on our end to make sure your expungement proceeds as quickly as possible.  In addition, since we focus almost exclusively on expungements we have been able to streamline the expungement process, thereby resulting in quicker processing time on our end.  Moreover, happy clients are our utmost priority.  We therefore strive to keep you updated as to the progress of your expungement and to return your calls and emails in a timely and responsive manner.

Contact us today if you have any questions about your New Jersey expungement by calling us at 856-832-2482 or by filling out our Expungement Interview Form.

Katherine O'Brien

New Jersey expungement lawyer Katherine North O’Brien has been practicing expungement law for her entire career and has handled hundreds of complex criminal record expungements. She has also assisted in the drafting of briefs on expungement issues before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Katherine is passionate about helping people clean their criminal records and, therefore, started Katherine O’Brien Law to offer those with criminal convictions a fresh start.