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Legal Services of New Jersey

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Criminal Charges and Convictions
Expungement for Victims of Human Trafficking and Identity Theft

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. It involves the action of illegally transporting people from one or area to another for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Millions of men, women, and children are forced or coerced into slavery each year and are often required to commit crimes as victims. Special laws exist in New Jersey to help victims of human trafficking clear their criminal record after they have been freed or escaped.

What does the law Human Trafficking 2C:44-1.1 say?

Human Trafficking 2C:44-1.1 provides the following:

If you were convicted of prostitution and related offenses or loitering for the purposes of engaging in prostitution or a similar local ordinance you may file an application with the Superior Court pursuant to R.3:21-11 to have the conviction vacated, when the persons participation in the offense was the result of having been a victim of human trafficking. An individual may also seek an expungement order in the same application.

There is no waiting period for expunging your record as a victim of human trafficking.

Who can get help through Human Trafficking 2C:44-1.1?

The law says that you must make a request for expungement within a “reasonable time” after ceasing to be a victim or having sought victim services. Allowances are made if you have reasonable concerns for the safety of family members or other victims that may be affected by your request.

You must be able to convince a judge that you were a victim of human trafficking at the time of the offense and that the violation was a result of your status as a victim. The court may consider any or all of the following:

  • Evidence of trafficking from federal, state or local authorities
  • Court records that support your claim of being a victim of a trafficker charged with human trafficking
  • Records of immigration approval notices or law enforcement certifications that are available to victims of human trafficking
  • Testimony or statements from a trained professional staff member of a victim services organization, an attorney, clergy, health care or other professional who has helped you access services related to you status as a victim of human trafficking

How do I start my application for expungement?

There is no fee for this type of expungement and you do not need to file a traditional expungement petition. You may not even have to go to a hearing. You should speak with a lawyer if possible for guidance on making this application. You may contact Legal Services of New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal hotline at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529). You may also apply for help online.

Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when someone uses information about you without your permission. They can use your information to steal money from your bank account or get a credit card in your name. They might also commit a crime using your name, which could go on your permanent criminal record.

What does the law Identity Theft 2C:52-32.1 say?

Identity Theft 2C:52-32.1 states the following:

If you reasonably believe you are the victim of identity theft based on the commission of an offense under 2C:21-2.1 (false government documents), 2C:21-17 (impersonation, theft of identity) or 2C:21-17.2 (use of personal identifying information of another) or 2C:21-17.3 (trafficking in personal identifying information pertaining to another person) you may petition the court for a judicial determination of factual innocence.

Who can get help through Identity Theft 2C:52-32.1?

You may be eligible for expungement through this law if any of the following apply:

  • The perpetrator of the identity theft was arrested for, cited for, or convicted of a crime or offense or violation of law using your identity
  • A complaint for a crime, offense or violation has been filed against the perpetrator in your name
  • Your identity has been mistakenly associated with a record of conviction

Evidence can include any of the following:

  • Declarations
  • Affidavits
  • Police reports
  • Other material establishing that there is “no reasonable cause” to believe the victim committed the crime, offense or violation

If a charge is pending, the prosecutor can make the application for a determination of factual innocence on your behalf.

How do I start my application for expungement?

There is no fee for this type of expungement and you do not need to file a traditional expungement petition. You may not even have to go to a hearing. You should speak with a lawyer if possible for guidance on making this application. You may contact Legal Services of New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal hotline at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529). You may also apply for help online.​

10/6/2017