How Many Times Can You Get an Expungement?

By Nikhil Jhunjhnuwala
How to Get your Record Expunged

Generally, you may only receive an expungement once. (N.J.S. 2C:52-14). Therefore, you should try to expunge all eligible records at one time. After receiving your first expungement, if you are convicted for another crime, you will not be able to expunge that conviction.

Example. Bob was arrested in 2004 for shoplifting and received probation. After successfully completing probation, he applied for an expungement and received it. Thus, his shoplifting record was sealed and isolated from the public. In 2010, Bob was arrested again and convicted for drug possession. Since he already received an expungement for the shoplifting case, she will not be able to expunge her drug possession records.

Exceptions

There are two exceptions to this rule:
  1. You are allowed to expunge arrests and charges that do not result in conviction or are dismissed. There are many reasons an arrest might not result in a conviction, including a finding of not guilty, a lack of evidence, political pressures, or participation in a diversion program. Sometimes the prosecutor will decide to dismiss the case for unknown reasons. In these instances, a person is eligible to dismiss any records of the case regardless of a previous expungement.
    • Example. Instead of getting convicted for drug possession in 2010, Bob is found not guilty. He will be able to expunge any records related to that case despite his previous expungement of the shop lifting case.
  2. You are still allowed to get an expungement if you are seeking to clear records of a municipal ordinance violation.
    • Example. Instead of getting arrested for drug possession in 2010, Bob was arrested for posting flyers near a construction zone in New Brunswick, which is a violation of the city’s municipal code. In this scenario, despite the fact that Bob has previously received an expungement for shop lifting, Bob is able to apply for another expungement for posting flyers because it is a municipal violation.

How to Get your Record Expunged

If you are eligible for an expungement, getting your record expunged is simple. The process consists of filling out the appropriate forms and filing them with the court. There is no court appearance requried and most records are expunged in 3-4 months.
 
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