New Brightline Rule For Expungements Involving Prior Juvenile Offenses In NJ
- February 3, 2014
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Judges throughout the state have differed for years in their opinions as to how juvenile offenses should be treated when a petitioner seeks expungement of an adult offense. In January 2014, the NJ Supreme Court resolved the matter when Justice Stuart Rabner said there was no clear legislative intent to utilize juvenile offenses to limit expungement of adult offenses. The legislative intent in creating expungement statutes was to permit nonviolent, one-time adult offenders to clear their records of mistakes long past. In the Matter of the Expungement of D.J.B., a now 36 year old man sought to expunge a single adult conviction of burglary. The requisite 10 year waiting period had elapsed and D.J.B. sought to expunge the offense as it was preventing him from better job opportunities and from participation in the community as a little league coach. In denying his petition for expungement, the Somerset County Superior Court cited his prior juvenile offenses the equivalent of third-degree burglary at age 16 and burglary and marijuana possession at age 17 in light of a 1980 legislative amendment to the expungement statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1(a), which states “any act which resulted in a juvenile being adjudged a delinquent shall be classified as if that act had been committed by an adult.” The NJ Supreme Court decision that juvenile offenses are no bar to expungement of otherwise eligible adult offenses brings finality to that issue and makes it possible for many adults with prior offenses to seal records which have been limiting their opportunities and branding them with social stigma for far too long. If you have been held back by prior offenses or are too embarrassed to seek certain opportunities because of past mistakes, expungement will put an end to these issues. For more information about expungement, burglary, drug possession or other criminal matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.