If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, there is an arrest record associated with same. You were arrested, fingerprinted, processed, and a photo was taken. If your charges were eventually dismissed altogether or you were found not guilty by a judge or jury, you are eligible to file for an expungement of those arrest records immediately. If you do not expunge them, the arrest records will still appear on a background check and show that the charges were dismissed. Once you file for an expungement and the expungement Order is signed by a Superior Court Judge, then the original charges and arrest will no longer appear on your background check.
An expungement of an arrest not resulting in a conviction is governed by N.J.S. 2C:52-6 which provides in pertinent part:
2C:52-6. Arrests not resulting in conviction
a. In all cases, except as herein provided, wherein a person has been arrested or held to answer for a crime, disorderly persons offense, petty disorderly persons offense or municipal ordinance violation under the laws of this State or of any governmental entity thereof and against whom proceedings were dismissed, or who was acquitted, or who was discharged without a conviction or finding of guilt, may at any time following the disposition of proceedings, present a duly verified petition as provided in section 2C:52-7 to the Superior Court in the county in which the disposition occurred praying that records of such arrest and all records and information pertaining thereto be expunged.
b. Any person who has had charges dismissed against him pursuant to P.L.1970, c. 226, § 27 (C. 24:21-27) [FN1] or pursuant to a program of supervisory treatment, shall be barred from the relief provided in this section until 6 months after the entry of the order of dismissal.
c. Any person who has been arrested or held to answer for a crime shall be barred from the relief provided in this section where the dismissal, discharge, or acquittal resulted from a determination that the person was insane or lacked the mental capacity to commit the crime charged.