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Multiple Juvenile Adjudications can be Expunged

My last submission on expungements in New Jersey dealt with the impact of pre-trial intervention on the expungement process in New Jersey.  Earlier this week, the Appellate Division clarified the law regarding expungement of criminal records.  In the Matter of the Expungement Petition of J.B., the petitioner was seeking to expunge three juvenile adjudications of delinquency, and an adult conviction for theft.  The trial court denied the petition based on the theory that the petitioner’s three juvenile adjudications precluded the petition from receiving an expungment of his records.  The Appellate Division found that the trial courts application of the law was incorrect and ruled that the petitioner was permitted to have his juvenile adjudications expunged as well as his adult conviction.  However, the Appellate division ruled that even though the petitioner was permitted under the law to have his adult conviction expunged, the petition was premature.

The trial court relied on a portion of  N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1(a), which states ,

“For purposes of expungement, any act which resulted in a juvenile being adjudged a delinquent shall be classified as if that act had been committed by an adult.”

Based on petitioner’s adjudications of delinquency, the court deemed him to have been convicted of adult crimes of burglary, criminal mischief, and firearms possession. The court then reasoned the petitioner’s adult conviction could not be expunged pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2, because the statue  prohibits expungement of a criminal conviction if the petitioner has “been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime.”

The court also denied expungement of the juvenile adjudications based on N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1(a)(1), which states 4 A-1564-11T2 that N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 shall govern petitions to expunge a juvenile adjudication of an act that would constitute a crime if committed by an adult. Applying N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2, the court concluded that expungement of the juvenile adjudications was not permitted for the same reason expungement of the adult conviction was not permitted — petitioner was deemed convicted of a prior or subsequent crime.

The Appellate Division held that the trial court misconstrued the 1980 statute. The Appellate Division agreed that the petitioner’s juvenile adjudications were not subject to expungement under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1(a).  However,  N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1(b) provided an alternative basis for expunging petitioner’s entire record of multiple juvenile adjudications.  Consequently, the Appellate Division ordered the expungement of the petitioner’s juvenile record.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal record expungement we can help. Contact the New Jersey Expungement Lawyers at DeMichele and DeMichele at 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.

Post Author: Greg DeMichele

Gregory P. DeMichele is a seasoned litigator, devoting a substantial part of his practice to municipal court, family law and personal injury matters.