An expungement is the removal, sealing, impounding, or isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency. A court-ordered expungement can remove the following information:
- your arrest
- all court proceedings related to your case
- your criminal or juvenile conviction
- the outcome of your case, including your sentence
You can apply for an expungement using the eCourts Expungement System. It's free. You will need your case number to get started.
Once you have registered, you can follow the user guide to file an expungement petition.
If you do not know your case number, you can look it up.
For Superior Court cases, use this link to find your name in the system. The code will look like this:
- Promis Gavel # ATL-00-000000
- [3-letter county code]-[2-digit year]-[case number]
For municipal court cases, contact the municipality to get your summons number.
- Summons# S-0000-00-334
S-[4-digit year]-[case number]-[municipality code]
- Warrant# W-0000-00-334
W-[4-digit year]-[case number]-[municipality code]
- Summons# S-0000-00-334
For juvenile cases, contact the court to get instructions on how to get your docket number.
Watch this brief overview on how to request an expungement online.
This more detailed video will walk you through the features of the online expungement system.
You can also view this step-by-step guide from Legal Services of New Jersey.
Email your local ombudsman if you have any questions.
Learn More About Expungements
Legal Services of New Jersey has a helpful explanation of the expungement process.
Learn more about how to get court records.
In most cases, you must wait five years after your sentence is served. All fines and fees must be paid. Sometimes, you can file for expungement after 4 years. You can expunge no more than one indictable conviction and up to three disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses.
Other Types of Expungements
Arrests not resulting in convictions (Expedited Expungements) - N.J.S.A. 2C:52-6
The court can order an immediate expungement if a case is dismissed or the defendant is acquitted and found not guilty on all counts.
Recovery Court, formerly known as Drug Court, Expungement - N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m)
The court can order the recovery court expungement when you graduate from the program. You only need to apply if the graduation took place before to April 18, 2016.
Marijuana Expungement - N.J.S.A. 2C:52-5.1
An expungement of certain marijuana or hashish offenses.
Clean Slate Expungement - N.J.S.A. 2C:52-5.3
An expungement of your entire record ten years after your last conviction, payment of fines/fees, completion of probation/parole, whichever is later.
Will I have to appear in court?
A court appearance is not always required, but you might be asked to come to court to provide additional information in your case.
Do I need a lawyer to file a petition for expungement?
The court system can be confusing, and it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services.
Legal Services of New Jersey maintains a directory of regional legal services offices.
The NJ State Bar Association also maintains a list of county referral services that might be helpful.
Things to think about before representing yourself in court
While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, help, or attention from the court. You must still comply with the Rules of the Court, even if you are not familiar with them. The following is a list of some things the court staff can and cannot do for you. Please read it carefully before asking the court staff for help.
- We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
- We can tell you what the requirements are to have your case considered by the court.
- We can give you some information from your case file.
- We can provide you with samples of court forms that are available.
- We can provide you with guidance on how to fill out forms.
- We can usually answer questions about court deadlines.
- We cannot give you legal advice. Only your lawyer can give you legal advice.
- We cannot tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
- We cannot give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
- We cannot recommend a lawyer, but we can provide you with the telephone number of a local lawyer referral service.
- We cannot talk to the judge for you about what will happen in your case.
- We cannot let you talk to the judge outside of court.
- We cannot change an order issued by a judge.