The dismissal of criminal charges due to the successful completion of pretrial intervention does not automatically make a defendant eligible for an expungement. In the unreported decision of In the Matter of the Expungement of the Criminal Record of R.K. the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the denial of the petitioners request for an expungement but made the denial without prejudice.
In this case that petitioner had been charged with disorderly persons offenses three times in the past. In 2001 the defendant pled guilty to loitering in the Lyndhurst Municipal Court and his disorderly persons charge was dismissed. In July of 2004 the petitioner was arrested and charged with disorderly persons simple assault which was ultimately dismissed. Thereafter in October of 2004 the defendant was charged with three indictable crimes: robbery, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(3), and impersonating a public servant or law enforcement officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-8.
The petitioner applied for and was ultimately granted pretrial intervention for these indictable charges. Pursuant to the terms of his pretrial intervention (PTI) the petitioner agreed to plead guilty to an accusation charging fourth-degree impersonation of a police officer and third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact. As part of the deal the state postponed sentencing and so long as petitioner complied with the conditions of PTI supervision for a period of three years, the charges would be dismissed. The petitioner successfully completed the PTI program, and all the charges were dismissed.
The petitioner then sought to have his prior arrests and convictions expunged. The Bergen County prosecutor’s office opposed the application. The expungement petition was denied with prejudice at the trial level and the appeal ensued.
The Appellate Division held that the denial of the expungement was proper at this time but it should have been without prejudice. This means that the defendant could reapply at a later time for an expungement. The court recognized,
“The record before us demonstrates both petitioner’s admission of serious offenses and a prior conviction for violation of the law. Under these circumstances, the State reasonably contended that a need to maintain the records superseded petitioner’s entitlement to expungement of the entirety of his criminal record.”
However, the court also held,
“[the] petitioner should be permanently barred from seeking expungement of the October 2004 charges. The need for maintaining the records may dissipate over time as petitioner continues to live a law-abiding life and proves himself a responsible citizen.”
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.