New Jersey Court Records
Are Criminal Records Public In New Jersey?
The New Jersey Administrative Code 13.59–1 states that criminal records in New Jersey may be requested and obtained by several entities. However, access to these records is restricted. According to the law, only the following entities may obtain a criminal record in the state:
- A government entity that requires the record for employment, procurement of services, licensing, and other official purposes
- A private or governmental entity that requires the record strictly to determine whether or not the person named on the record is qualified for employment, volunteer services, or other official activities
- Any licensed attorney, regardless of the licensing state, that may need the record for a contested matter in any federal or state court or a New Jersey administrative agency
- A private detective fully licensed by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), to obtain information needed strictly for carrying out statutory functions. However, private detectives may not get a criminal record without a subpoena
- The person named on the criminal record
Authorized persons in the state may request criminal records from the New Jersey State Police.
What Is Included In A Criminal Record In New Jersey?
A New Jersey criminal record is a document that contains information about a person’s criminal history in the state. This includes all details of a person’s dealings with law enforcement agencies and subsequent actions taken in furtherance of any charges leveled against the person. Criminal records also include details about how a case was resolved, including dismissal or sentence. Typically, New Jersey criminal records contain the following information:
- The name of the individual, as well as all known aliases
- Personal identifiers, including gender, date of birth, race
- A full set of fingerprints
- Information about all of the individual’s criminal offenses as well as indictments
- Details about arrest history and all outstanding warrants
- Information about the person’s conviction record, including the specific charges, sentencing details
- Current status of the individual, such as specifics on interrogation, probation or parole
How To Look Up My Criminal Records In New Jersey?
New Jersey criminal records are provided by the NJSP’s Criminal Information Unit (CIU). The process of requesting these records depends on the approved entity, making the request. Any person interested in obtaining a copy of a personal criminal record must request via a live scan at an approved fingerprinting site.
The NJSP has partnered with IDEMIA, a third-party outfit, to facilitate the fingerprinting services and the request process. To make a request, schedule an appointment online. The scheduling process requires the requestor’s first name, middle name, and last name. Fill “NMN” in the middle name box if no middle name is available. The form also requires a date of birth and at least one contact detail, such as an email address or a phone number. Complete the registration process to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.
Alternatively, applicants may schedule a fingerprinting appointment by calling 1–877–503–5981 on a weekday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm or on a Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. Note that the fingerprinting service costs $42.80, payable on-site with a card from MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, prepaid debit cards, or electronic debit (ACH) from a checking account.
Applicants should visit the fingerprinting center with proper identification. The ID must be government-issued and must clearly show the person’s name, photograph, date of birth, and home address. Persons who do not provide accurate and complete information may need to repeat the fingerprinting process, requiring such persons to repeat payments. Note that this process is only for in-state residents.
Out-of-state applicants within a 10-mile radius of New Jersey or living within select zip codes must visit the nearest fingerprinting site to obtain a criminal record. This service costs $36.66 for out-of-state applicants. Persons who do not live within the selected zip codes may download a Personal Record Request Fingerprint Card and visit the nearest police department or live scan vendor for fingerprinting services. Note that the fingerprint card must carry the requestor’s information, including a full name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, mailing address, and contact information.
Applicants must also specify a reason for the request. Requests are accepted for the following reasons:
- Personal record
- Good conduct
Also, the agency taking the requestor’s fingerprints must complete the NJSP Out of State Verification Form for Hard Card Fingerprints. The form should contain the applicant’s name and the form of identification presented. Other details to be included on the form include the agency name, address, phone number, title, name of the individual taking the fingerprints, and the Originating Agency Identifier (ORI) number. Send the completed documents to:
Division of State Police
PO Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628–0068
Note, the New Jersey State Police do not entertain third-party requests for criminal records.
Requestors may not be eligible for refunds after the criminal history background check is completed. Any reservations about the information presented in a criminal record received must be sent to the NJSP within ninety days. Failure to do so may require the applicant to repeat the process. The NJSP will respond to all questions or reservations within ten working days. Persons with reservations or unanswered revisions to a criminal record may contact the NJSP’s Criminal Information Unit by sending an email to CIU@gw.njsp.org, or by calling (609) 882–2000 ext. 2918.
How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In New Jersey?
New Jersey criminal records are available from the New Jersey State Police for different fees. The fee depends on the entity requesting the record and whether the request is from within or outside New Jersey. The NJSP currently has no provision for requestors to access their criminal records for free. However, interested persons may contact the NJSP for a possible fee reduction or waiver.
How To Search Criminal Records Online In New Jersey?
The NJSP only provides criminal history reports in person at the fingerprinting sites for New Jersey requests, or by mail for requests from outside New Jersey. The NJSP does not provide online access to criminal records. However, access to criminal case files is possible for interested persons via the internet public access portal provided by the New Jersey Judiciary. Note that this portal only works on Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, after turning off the pop-up blocker.
Searching for criminal case files on the portal requires requestors to provide the first name or the last name of the individual. Requestors may also search by indictment number or search by the county with jurisdiction over the case. The portal also allows interested persons to search using the Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) number.
The search result produces a list of records that match the inputted query. Each record contains the individual’s birth name, birth year, SBI number, height, weight, hair and eye color, FBI number, county of offense, county case number, indictment number, and sentence date. Note that this search is only for persons that have already been convicted. The portal does not contain information on persons with dismissed cases or cases that have not yet been resolved.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple record(s). To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In New Jersey?
According to the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C 52–2, New Jersey residents with criminal records may apply to expunge these records. Although the law provides for the possibility of expungement, it states specific requirements that directly influence eligibility. Under New Jersey expungement law, the following are requirements a requestor must meet to be eligible for expungement:
- The charges against the individual were dismissed
- The person was not found guilty and was discharged or acquitted
- Six years have passed since the last conviction for an indictable offense
- Five years have passed since the last conviction for a disorderly person offense
- Two years have passed since the last conviction for a municipal ordinance violation
- The individual was under the age of 21, was a first time offender, and has waited one year
- The individual has completed all terms of the sentence received
- The individual can provide evidence of compliance with all payment of all court-ordered fees and fines
Note that an expungement is not available for cases that were discharged, acquitted, or dismissed due to a lack of mental capacity or a finding of insanity. The New Jersey expungement law specifies a few exceptions for convictions that are ineligible for expunction. New Jersey residents may not receive an expungement for any of the following crimes:
- Human trafficking
- Crimes against a minor
- Driving under the influence
- Crimes involving chemical weapons, biological agents, nuclear or radiological devices
- Crimes committed by persons holding a public office if the offense touched the office or position held
After confirming eligibility, interested persons may begin the process by completing the Petition for Expungement (Form A). Filling the form requires the requestor’s name, address, city, zip code, phone number, State Bureau of Identification (SBI) number, and date of birth. The applicant must also provide details of all charges, including information on discharges, dismissals, acquittals, the court that handled the case, and any related probation information or fines.
After filling the form, file it in the New Jersey Superior Court with jurisdiction over the case. For persons looking to expunge multiple cases in multiple counties, contact each county’s Criminal Case Management Office, for the possibility of expunging all records in that county. Note that if the petition is solely for disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons’ offense, the applicant should file the petition in the county where the most recent offense was handled.
The Petition for Expungement form includes an addendum page for additional arrests and a verification page. The applicant must complete the verification page and sign it before a Notary Public.
In addition to Form A, the Petition for Expungement Form includes an Order for Hearing (Form B), used to schedule a hearing. Fill the form by following the instructions therein. Note that the Superior Court judge in charge of the case will schedule a hearing within 60 days from receiving the petition. Form B will carry the date the court orders a hearing, and the date and time that the hearing will take place. It also contains the county and the expungement docket number. Also, the petition includes an Expungement Order (Form C), in anticipation of a granted request. The requestor must fill all three forms. Filing the petition costs $75.
Note that applicants should make three copies of each form, and file the original and two copies in the court with jurisdiction over the case. Applicants are advised to keep an additional copy for personal records. Also, note that the expungement process typically takes up to four months. However, depending on the specifics of the case, the process may last up to six months. Also, after the court grants the order, criminal record custodians may take up to a month to seal the record completely.
Who Can See My Expunged Criminal Record In New Jersey?
After the court grants an expungement, access to the criminal record is sealed. The State of New Jersey assumes that crimes on criminal records never existed. As such, the individual is legally allowed to deny the existence of any expunged arrests or convictions.
While members of the public may not be able to view expunged criminal records, the law allows certain entities to view these records under specific conditions. For example, law enforcement agencies may gain access to a person’s criminal record, especially if the person is arrested again. If this happens, a judge may review criminal records for subsequent sentencing hearings. Law enforcement agencies are also allowed by law to access criminal records if the person applies for employment with the agency. Note that while law enforcement agencies may access these records, the agencies may not release them to the public.
The United States Military may also access expunged records, especially if the military has probable cause to do a background check on the person, for security reasons.