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Changes to Expungement Law Good News for Rehabilitated Drug Offenders


Changes to New Jersey’s expungement law are a step in the right direction. Below are some specific changes that will help many individuals looking for a fresh start.

Drug Court Graduates

The biggest change in the law affects people who have completed a drug court or court-ordered rehabilitation program. If this situation applies to you, your entire record will automatically be expunged (cleared) when you graduate from the program.

The court will grant expungement as long as:

  • You have no pending charges;
  • You have not been convicted of a non-expungeable offense (See Clearing Your Record: A Six-Step Guide to Expunging Criminal Records in New Jersey for more information);
  • The need for your records to be available to the public does not outweigh the court’s desire to grant your expungement; and
  • You have not committed any crimes or offenses during or any crimes after your completion of the program.

The expungement will happen automatically if you complete drug court after April 18, 2016 (the day this law takes effect). If you completed drug court before April 18, 2016, your expungement won’t happen automatically, but you may make a request for expungement and the waiting periods previously associated with those applications will no longer apply.

Automatic Expungement of Dismissed Cases

Beginning April 18, 2016, the Superior Court will automatically expunge records of arrests, case dismissals, and acquittals that do not lead to a conviction. For municipal court matters, the expungement will not happen automatically, but you may re quest an expungement application from municipal court and send it to the Superior Court. 

If you had a case dismissed before April 18, 2016, you will need to apply for expungement. It will not happen automatically.

LSNJ’s Prisoner Reentry Project assists eligible inmates and those with criminal records to successfully transition back into society. A toolkit including forms, videos, and a manual is available at the Expungement page. If you need additional assistance, you may contact LSNJLAWSM, Legal Services of New Jersey's statewide, toll-free legal hotline, at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529). You may also apply online. If you are not eligible for assistance from Legal Services, the hotline will refer you to other possible resources​​​​​​​​​​​​​