The petition can only be granted after the passage of statutory time periods that are not subject to alteration by the Judge who reviews the expungement petition. The statute sets a 10 year waiting period on crimes, a 5 year waiting period on offenses, and a 2 year waiting period on municipal violations. These waiting periods start after you have completed all parts of the sentence imposed by the Court. As examples, if the Judge imposed a fine, and you do not complete the payment; or, you are given a period of community service which you do not satisfy, then the statutory waiting period does not begin to run, and the petition cannot be granted by the Court. If you have completed the sentence, get the documentation that establishes the completion of the sentencing condition as soon as possible. Frequently, these types of records are very difficult or impossible to locate 5-10 years after you have satisfied them, and without the proof your petition will be denied.
Statutory Bars to Relief
The statute contains specific grounds which if applicable to your case, will permanently bar your petition. Among others, these statutory grounds for the denial of relief include: 1) That you have previously been granted the dismissal of charges following the completion of a diversionary program such as PTI (Pre-trial Intervention). 2) The expungement seeks to expunge a charge that is presently the subject of civil litigation between you and the State. 3). The State asserts that the need for the records to be available outweighs your need to be free of the stigma caused by having the criminal record. If you file the petition, and the State seeks to bar the petition based upon these or any of the other statutory grounds listed under NJSA 2C:52-14, you must immediately discuss with your lawyer whether the ground is properly asserted by the State.
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