Criminal convictions can follow a person across state lines and have just as much impact on their life as ones that occur in their home state. For example, a conviction for a crime in New Jersey can show up on a background check for a job application in Oregon. As such, Oregonians who are arrested for a crime while in New Jersey may want to consider when and how they can have their arrest and criminal records expunged. Like Oregon, New Jersey offers individuals the chance to have their records cleared if they meet certain criteria. What follows is an explanation of the expungement process in New Jersey and how it compares to the process in Oregon.
Expungement Qualification in New Jersey
In order to qualify for an expungement in New Jersey, a person must not have been convicted of more than four disorderly persons offenses or one felony and three disorderly persons offenses. In addition, there is a waiting period of 5 years (6 if convicted of a felony) from the completion of any sentence, including incarceration, parole and payment of fines.
So long as the person meets this criteria and is not convicted of another crime during the waiting period, he/she should be able to file to have the record expunged.
By contrast, to expunge a record in Oregon requires a waiting period of three years after the conviction. However, within the last 10 years a person cannot:
● Have any other pending criminal cases, including cases in other states.
● Have been convicted of any other crimes that are ineligible for expungement.
● Have already had parts of his/her record expunged.
Expungement Process in New Jersey
In Oregon, filing for expungement is as simple as filling out the appropriate form and submitting the requisite paperwork. However, the paperwork is detailed and one small mistake or missing document can lead to a rejected application.
New Jersey’s process is a bit more complex. The person must fill out a petition for expungement, order for a hearing, expungement order, and proof of notice. These must be mailed, along with any supporting documents and the filing fee to court where the person was convicted.
It is always advisable, regardless of which state one lives in, to hire an attorney to help ensure the paperwork is complete and accurate in order to maximize the chances of being granted an expungement.
Crimes that Cannot be Expunged in New Jersey
New Jersey, like Oregon, does not allow individuals to expunge certain crimes. New Jersey will not remove the following crimes from one’s criminal record:
● Aggravated Criminal Sexual Conduct
● Aggravated Sexual Assault
● Death by Auto Rape
● Endangering the Welfare of a Child
● False Imprisonment
● Luring or Enticing
Oregon outlines those crimes which cannot be expunged in Subsection 5 of 2017 ORS 137.225, which includes sex crimes, crimes involving children or the elderly, and certain Class A or B drug felonies.
Expunging Drunk Driving Charges in New Jersey
Unfortunately, like Oregon, NJ does not allow the expungement of DWI/DUI offenses, although for different reasons. New Jersey considers drunk driving to be a traffic violation. New Jersey driving records are permanent and those offenses—be they speeding, texting while driving, or DWI—never drop off one’s record and cannot be expunged.
Oregon also does not allow for the expungement of traffic violations, but that is not why driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII, as the state classifies it) is not expungeable; rather it is because DUII is considered a “counting crime,” in which subsequent convictions result in stiffer penalties.
What Else Can Be Expunged in New Jersey?
Criminal offenses aren’t the only things that are expungeable in New Jersey. The following list shows what else a person can have removed from their record and the respective wait times required before filing to do so:
● Arrests that do not result in conviction: Immediately upon dismissal of charges
● Pre-trial intervention and conditional charge programs: 6 months after completion
● Municipal ordinances: 2 years
● Juvenile offenses: 3 years
Adam H. Rosenblum, Esq. is principal attorney at The Rosenblum Law Firm, a criminal defense and expungement law firm that practices in both New Jersey and New York. The Rosenblum Law Firm can help Oregon residents expunge or seal criminal convictions in New York or New Jersey.