Senator SANDRA B. CUNNINGHAM
District 31 (Hudson)
Bars the denial of expungement application in certain instances.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning expungement in certain instances and amending N.J.S.2C:52-14.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S.2C:52-14 is amended to read as follows:
2C:52-14. A petition for expungement filed pursuant to this chapter shall be denied when:
a. Any statutory prerequisite, including any provision of this chapter, is not fulfilled or there is any other statutory basis for denying relief.
b. The need for the availability of the records outweighs the desirability of having a person freed from any disabilities as otherwise provided in this chapter. An application may be denied under this subsection only following objection of a party given notice pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-10 and the burden of asserting such grounds shall be on the objector, except that in regard to expungement sought for third or fourth degree drug offenses pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:52-2, the court shall consider whether this factor applies regardless of whether any party objects on this basis.
c. In connection with a petition under N.J.S.2C:52-6, the acquittal, discharge or dismissal of charges resulted from a plea bargaining agreement involving the conviction of other charges. This bar, however, shall not apply once the conviction is itself expunged.
d. The arrest or conviction sought to be expunged is, at the time of hearing, the subject matter of civil litigation between the petitioner or his legal representative and the State, any governmental entity thereof or any State agency and the representatives or employees of any such body. This subsection shall not apply when the person is seeking the expungement of records pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-6.
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 N.J.S.2C:52-6.
f. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2017, c.244)
(cf:P.L.2017, c.244, s.5)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
The statutory grounds for denial of an application for expungement are enumerated in N.J.S.2C:52-14. Subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:52-14 directs that a petition for expungement shall be denied when the arrest or conviction sought to be expunged is, at the time of hearing, the subject matter of civil litigation between the petitioner or his legal representative and the State, any governmental entity thereof or any State agency and the representatives or employees of any such body.
This bill amends subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:52-14 to bar the denial of relief in cases that qualify for relief under N.J.S.2C:52-6. N.J.S.2C:52-6 is concerned with an arrest or charge that does not result in a conviction, and permits a person against whom charges are dismissed to apply for an expungement.
In dismissal-based expungement cases, the ability to obtain an expungement does not need to be impacted by whether or not a civil action is pending, since the ability to file for an expungement is expressly permitted at the time of the dismissal of charges, and access to expunged records remains available even after an expungement is granted, for good cause shown.