In New Jersey, there are cases in which the expungement process has been pared down to make it easier for individuals to get their record cleared. Called “special expungements,” these cases require less paperwork and supporting documentation than a regular expungement. In addition, there are fewer agencies to notify (and thus fewer copies to make).
Who Qualifies for a Special Expungement?
The following situations allow one to file for a special expungement:
- The case was dismissed or failed to result in a conviction.
- The person completed a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program.
- The person completed a Conditional Discharge (CD) program.
- The person graduated from drug court.
How Do I File for a Special Expungement?
In most cases, a person who files for expungement must notify all law enforcement agencies of the intent to file, as well as the District Attorney’s (DA’s) office of the jurisdiction in which one was convicted. With a special expungement, a person can skip all that.
To file for a special expungement, simply fill out Form C (Expungement Order), which can be found on pages 22 to 26 of the New Jersey pro se expungement packet. This must be signed and dated. Once completed, the form and any supporting documentation must be sent directly to the judge who presided over the case. If that judge is no longer on the bench, it can be sent to the court.
Once sent, the judge will review it. If the judge decides to grant the expungement, the court will notify the applicant and all relevant state and law enforcement agencies, including the DA’s office.
Do I Need an Attorney to File for a Special Expungement?
Not necessarily but it is helpful. While the special expungement process is simpler and faster than the traditional expungement process in NJ, the form is still detailed and it is critical that it be filled out correctly. In addition, a person must be able to explain why he/she deserves an expungement in a way that is likely to convince a judge to clear the record, and this is where an attorney can be most valuable. Failing to convince the judge means the person will not be able to hide his/her run-in with the law—despite not being convicted and/or having completed a PTI/CD/drug court program. An attorney can also help ensure that all the necessary supporting documents (if any) are included.
What if My Special Expungement is Denied?
If the special expungement (or any kind of expungement) petition is denied by the judge, a person can file again. However, he/she will have to pay the fee again, as well as fill out the form and supply supporting documents. Keep in mind, if a person is denied then resubmitting the exact same information and explanations will result in another denial. Anyone who did not hire an attorney the first time and is denied would be well advised to speak to one before filing again. An attorney may be able to help one understand the reason for the denial and avoid being denied again.
Who Should I Contact for Help with My Special Expungement Application?
If you or a loved would like to have their criminal record expunged in New Jersey, consult with an attorney right away to determine one’s eligibility and options. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled expungement attorneys with experience helping people in many difficult situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.