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Expungement Law Clarified by New Jersey Supreme Court

Posted by Greg DeMichele | Jan 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

Juvenile Convictions Not a Bar to Expungement

An application for an expungement can often be complicated by a juvenile conviction.  We have previously written about  Expungement for Multiple Juvenile Adjudications of Delinquency and how  NJ Pretrial Intervention Can Delay an Expungement.  Last week the New Jersey Supreme court clarified the standard for expungement when the applicant has juvenile convictions. In the Matter of the Expungement Application of D.J.B., the New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether someone who has been adjudged delinquent as a juvenile can have an adult criminal conviction expunged. The Court ruled that a juvenile delinquent record does not bar an expungement of an adult criminal conviction. In this case, the Petitioner, D.J.B., was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile on several occasions for offenses that spanned an eleven-month period in 1993 and 1994. At age sixteen, in two separate matters in November 1993 and March 1994, he was adjudged delinquent under N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-23 of charges that, if committed by an adult, would amount to third-degree burglary. In each matter, the court sentenced D.J.B. to one year of probation, among other terms. At age seventeen, in April 1994, D.J.B. was charged in a series of four complaints. Three complaints alleged behavior that, if committed by an adult, would amount to third-degree burglary; two of those complaints also charged the equivalent of third-degree theft. A separate, fourth complaint contained twelve charges that, if committed by an adult, would constitute third-degree burglary, third-degree theft, third-degree possession of an imitation controlled dangerous substance, fourth-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, third-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of school property, third-degree credit card fraud, and several disorderly persons offenses. The court consolidated the complaints and adjudged D.J.B. delinquent in January 1995. D.J.B. was ultimately sentenced to one year of detention, one year of probation, and a one year loss of his driver s license, among other terms. D.J.B. also has a more limited adult record. In November 1995, at age eighteen, he was charged with third-degree receipt of stolen property. He pleaded guilty months later, in June 1996, to an amended fourth-degree offense contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7a. The court sentenced him to three years of probation, community service, restitution in the amount of $21.20, as well as various fines and fees. He completed probation in August 1999. Almost 20 years later, D.J.B. petitioned the Court for an expungement of his adult criminal record.  The issue before the Court was  whether an amendment to the expungement statute which states (N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1(a)) “any act which resulted in a juvenile being adjudged a delinquent shall be classified as if that act had been committed by an adult” would prohibit expunging the adult record. The court ruled that the  amendment was enacted to apply to and allow juvenile expungement and therefore would not bar an adult expungement.  As a result, an adult who is otherwise eligible for expungement of a crime is not disqualified because of a prior juvenile adjudication.  In it's holding, the court noted that the goals of the NJ Legislature was in favor of expungement for non-violent, one-time offenders regardless of juvenile history. Don't go through this difficult and challenging process by yourself. If you or a loved one needs a criminal record  expungement, then the attorneys at DeMichele & DeMichele, P.C. can help. Contact the New Jersey  Expungement Lawyers at DeMichele and DeMichele  online today or by calling  (856) 546-1350 for a free and confidential consultation. We offer fixed and flat fees for our services. We except Visa and MasterCard and payment plans are available.

About the Author

Greg DeMichele

Gregory P. DeMichele is a seasoned litigator, devoting the majority of his practice to municipal court, personal injury, residential real estate, and family law matters. Greg has helped countless clients navigate challenging cases in municipal, Superior Court, and Appellate Court proceedings.


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