New Jersey Court Records
New Jersey Arrest Records
A New Jersey arrest record is a document that includes details about a person who has been taken into custody by law enforcement. It provides specific information about the circumstances of their arrest. In New Jersey, such records typically include the individual's name, address, the alleged offense, the agency responsible for the arrest, the location of detention, and, if relevant, information about the victim. These records are typically generated by New Jersey law enforcement agencies during the booking procedure and become part of the individual's criminal history.
The New Jersey criminal justice system has implemented a program to collect and analyze illicit activity and crime resolution data. This includes data pertaining to arrest and incarceration within state limits. Recent data has revealed a consistent decrease in the number of arrests each year since 2017.
In 2017, the highest recorded arrests were made - 133,117 in total. This number has now decreased to 97,256 in 2023. The lowest recorded arrests occurred in 2021, a total of 83,001.
In 2023, the majority of arrests (73%) involved male offenders, amounting to 55,548, while female arrestees constituted just over 25% (20,323). Additionally, the data indicates that 49% of the arrests in 2023 involved repeat offenders (37,404), while 51% were unique offenders (38,518). Furthermore, the age range with the highest number of arrests in New Jersey in 2023 was 23-34, accounting for approximately 25% of the total arrests for that year, totaling 24,440.
Are Arrest Records Public in New Jersey?
Yes, per the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA), members of the public can access both conviction arrest records and non-conviction arrest records by requesting them from law enforcement agencies or criminal justice departments in charge of them. Additionally, the New Jersey Administrative Code NJAC 13:59-1 permits the release of New Jersey criminal history records to the public, of which arrest records connected to convictions are a part.
The Act permits the public access to government records, including arrest records kept by municipal and state law enforcement agencies, with greater accessibility due to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (often known as "OPRA").
However, per New Jersey law, certain arrest records are exempt from public disclosure. This exemption might protect an individual's identity if the offender is a juvenile or because a court order has expunged these records. Certain arrest records are also exempt from public disclosure if they are part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Sensitive personal information, such as a person's social security number, is usually redacted on an arrest record in New Jersey.
What is Included in New Jersey Arrest Records?
In New Jersey, arrest records typically contain the following information:
- Names, aliases, and any tattoos of the individual;
- Scars, as well as other distinguishing physical characteristics;
- Age, gender, height, weight, and ethnicity;
- Criminal charge(s) related to the arrest;
- Arrest and booking details;
- Name of the detention center where the individual is held;
- Name of the arresting agency.
Find Public Arrest Records in New Jersey
Interested persons may obtain New Jersey public arrest records from different law enforcement agencies in the state's judicial districts. To find a comprehensive arrest record, members of the public can visit the New Jersey State Police Criminal Information Unit online or in person to request a "personal record." Arrest records from a specific agency can be obtained by visiting the arresting agency. These agencies include police departments or county sheriff offices providing access to Arrest records per the New Jersey Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) law and the Open Public Records Act. For example, Individuals can request arrest records from the New Jersey Transit police by visiting their online portal.
In most cases, arrest record retrieval in New Jersey can be done in the following steps:
- Determine the Documents Custodian: To obtain a copy of a public arrest record within a specific jurisdiction, individuals should contact the relevant law enforcement agency that carried out the arrest. This would require confirming the location of the arrest or the residence of the offender. For example, when seeking information about arrests made in Bloomfield, New Jersey, inquirers may contact the Bloomfield Police Department for inquiries.
- Request the arrest record: The process of requesting a New Jersey arrest record differs between agencies. Law enforcement organizations typically offer online, by mail, and in-person services. Online requests can be made by filling out forms for requests for public records, with the findings sent to the requestor's email. In Gloucester County, for instance, inquirers can use the online form provided by the county sheriff's office to request arrest records. Mail-in requests will often require the requester to provide the subject's personal information and, occasionally, fingerprint data. Inquirers may visit the agency on-site if they allow in-person requests. In-person requests are usually processed faster than queries made online or via mail.
An arrest record fee schedule and instructions for accessing public arrest records can often be found on the law enforcement agency's website. The amount and mode of payment for these costs differ between agencies, and they are usually charged per page.
Arrest records that are exempt from public disclosure or expunged may be accessed by persons bearing a subpoena. A subpoena is a court order issued by a court clerk or an attorney, essentially forcing an agency to produce certain documents. In this case, a subpoena can be used to demand that a law enforcement agency comply with the state's public record or, in some instances, make certain confidential arrest records available. A subpoena usually costs $50 in New Jersey.
How to Lookup Arrest Records Online in New Jersey
To lookup arrest records online in New Jersey, inquirers may visit the websites of local law enforcement, state police, and criminal justice agencies (i.e., courts) or dedicated online third-party databases. City police departments and county sheriff's offices in New Jersey also provide options for inquirers to conduct online arrest record searches through their databases. Inquirers can search these sites using the full name of the subject or record holder.
Alternatively, members of the public who are interested can obtain arrest records through third-party websites. These websites gather information from government and private sources and offer it to users conveniently and promptly. However, individuals seeking this information must typically pay a small fee. These third-party databases are searchable by parameters such as a person's first and last name, and they can be located by entering relevant keywords into any search engine. Nevertheless, inquirers must verify the accuracy and reliability of the information obtained from non-governmental sources to ensure its authenticity.
How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, arrest records remain on a person's record for 10 years before they are expunged or redacted. However, this does not apply to felony offenses like murder or sexual assault. New Jersey clean slate provision NJSA 2C:52-5.3 automatically clears arrest records that did not lead to a conviction and arrest records for non-serious offenses even if the person has not applied for an expungement. The state also Automatically clears Arrest records of first-time offenders in six months if they are minor offenses and have had their charges dismissed by a court. However, the offenders must undergo a state diversion program to be eligible to have their records cleared.
Expunge an Arrest Record in New Jersey
In New Jersey, an arrest record expungement refers to eliminating or removing all documents pertaining to an individual's arrest.
Unless otherwise specified, adult arrest records, juvenile detention information, convictions, dispositions, and all associated processes are considered not to have happened if an order for Expungement is granted.
Types of Expungement in New Jersey
- A person may be qualified for an expungement under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-7 if they have, over the course of their life, committed only one (or no) indictable offense. An individual convicted of two or more indictable felonies is not eligible to request an expungement unless specific requirements are met.
- Drug-related offenders can apply for Expungement of marijuana and other drug-related offenses per N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m) if they have satisfied the state's recovery program.
- Clean Slate Expungement - According to NJSA 2C:52-5.3, an individual's complete record is erased 10 years after their most recent conviction, paying fines and fees, and finishing probation or parole.
Expungement process in New Jersey
In New Jersey, arrest records and the criminal records in which they are encompassed, can be expunged in the following steps:
Track down and get criminal records:
Getting a copy of a criminal record is the first step in the expungement process in New Jersey. If the charges were felonies, this would comprise a Judgment of Conviction or a Disposition (if the charges were municipal). If the necessary records are not easily accessible, the inquirer can write to the court to get them. Depending on the court, locating a copy of the legal record may take anywhere from a few days or up to a month. A criminal/juvenile history record, sometimes called a rap sheet, may be required. This can be obtained from the New Jersey State Police.
Obtain and complete the following expungement forms:
- Petition for Expungement (Form A): This form requests an expungement order and explains the petitioner's eligibility.
- Order for Hearing (Form B): The judge uses this form to set the day and time of the hearing.
- Order of Expungement (Form C) If a petition for Expungement is approved, the court will sign a formal document called an Expungement Order.
After all the forms are signed, notarized, and submitted, a single copy of the proposed expungement order, the order for hearing, and the petition for Expungement will be mailed back to the original sender. This must be with a "Docket Number" and the marking "Filed." The time and date of the hearing will also be specified in the Order for Hearing. Copies of all the forms should be submitted to all government agencies involved in the case. These agencies include:
- The New Jersey Attorney General;
- The State Police Superintendent, Expungement Unit;
- The County Prosecutor or the Municipal Court Clerk if the case was heard in a municipal court;
- The person in charge of the police department where the arrest was made or the offense was committed is the Chief of Police;
- The head law enforcement official of any other state law enforcement agency involved in the arrest;
- The superintendent or warden of any facility where an inmate is housed.
The last stage in the expungement procedure in New Jersey is serving the final expungement order. The court will subsequently send a signed order granting the Expungement if the judge approves it. Once the order has been obtained, it is crucial to forward it to all government entities that have the record, such as the FBI, courts, police departments, and probation departments, instructing them to have it removed. Interested persons can refer to the official New Jersey expungement handbook for further information.
How Do I Find Recent Arrests in New Jersey?
Inquirers may find recent arrests in New Jersey by visiting the websites of county sheriff's offices and city police agencies. In New Jersey, local sheriffs often have an internet database that is updated daily with the names of everyone arrested within their county. While most are free to access online, some county sheriff agencies demand that people submit a request to obtain these arrest logs. For example, the Ocean County Sheriff's Department allows members of the public to request arrest logs for free.
Are New Jersey Arrest Records Free?
Yes, interested persons can access New Jersey records for free. Usually, arrest logs or roasters published on the websites of law enforcement agencies are free to access and view. However, depending on the custodian of the record, inquirers may need to pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of reproduction if they require a physical document. Notwithstanding, requesters can make an online request through county sheriff websites and have these records sent to their email at no cost. However, a fee can be set by some police departments if the requester's query requires a state-wide search for arrest records.