Children often act on impulses. They act first, then think later. Learning to think about the consequences of your actions is an important part of growing up. As they learn, however, their impulsive behavior can land them in trouble. It can even result in criminal charges.
When a child, often a teenager, is charged with a crime, it has the potential to follow the person for years to come. It can result in a loss of employment opportunities or educational experiences in addition to criminal penalties. In order to avoid long-term consequences, New Jersey allows some juvenile offenders to expunge their criminal records.
An expungement erases the criminal charges for the juvenile’s record. If an expungement is granted, it is as if the offense never took place. However, an expungement can only be granted under certain circumstances. Under section 2C:52-4.1 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, an expungement can only be granted if it has been five or more years since the person was involved with the juvenile courts, in custody or juvenile supervision.
Additionally, the person cannot have been convicted of a crime or petty offense in the five years since the person’s last contact with the juvenile court system. This includes any pending cases. In order to qualify for an expungement, the person must also not have had an adult expungement or any adult charges dismissed. The person also cannot have been charged with — as an adult or juvenile — certain crimes that are not subject to the expungement rules.
People who are considering an expungement should speak with an attorney. This post should only be used as general information. An attorney, on the other hand, can help answer specific legal concerns.