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Effect of Expungement

Under NJ law (2C:52-1), expungement means the extraction and isolation of all records on file with any court, jail or correctional facility, or law enforcement agency, concerning a person’s detection, arrest, detention, trial, or disposition for a criminal offense. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1(a). The types of records subject to expungement include complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets” and judicial docket records. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1(b). 


   When a court grants an expungement, the arrest or conviction - along with any related proceedings - is deemed not to have occurred. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-27. Thus, the individual whose record has been expunged may answer any question related to the same accordingly (E.G. - Do you have an arrest record? ANSWER: No, I do not.). Id. However, there are exceptions. 

For instance, if an individual has an expungement for prior charges that were dismissed because that person successfully completed a supervisory diversion program of some sort, that person must disclose those charges to any judge determining that person’s eligibility for another supervisory or diversion program for subsequent criminal charges. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-27(b). 


  An expunged charge/ conviction must be revealed by an individual seeking employment within the judiciary or with any other law enforcement or corrections agency, and that information may still be used against him. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-27(c). 


  When an expungement is granted, all records subject to the expungement are removed from the files of the agencies which have been noticed of the pendency of petitioner’s motion and which are entitled to notice. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-15. The records are placed in the control of a person who has been designated by the head of each such agency which, at the time of the hearing, possesses said records. Id. This person, subject to a few limited exceptions, must insure that such records and the information contained therein are not released, utilized, or referred to for any purpose. Id. In response to requests for information pertaining to these records, the person shall reply that there is no record information. Id. 

The statute regarding the “Effect of Expungement.”

2C:52-27. Effect of expungement.

Unless otherwise provided by law, if an order of expungement is granted, the arrest, conviction and any proceedings related thereto shall be deemed not to have occurred, and the petitioner may answer any questions relating to their occurrence accordingly, except as follows:

a. The fact of an expungement, sealing or similar relief shall be disclosed as provided in section 2C:52-8b.

b. The fact of an expungement of prior charges which were dismissed because of the person's acceptance into and successful completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversion program shall be disclosed by said person to any court that is determining the propriety of accepting said person into a supervisory treatment or other diversion program for subsequent criminal charges; and

c. Information divulged on expunged records shall be revealed by a petitioner seeking employment within the judicial branch or with a law enforcement or corrections agency and such information shall continue to provide a disability as otherwise provided by law.

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