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Drunk Driving: DUI Expungements

The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, section 2C:52-1, defines expungement as:

a. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, expungement shall mean the extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person's detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.

b. Expunged records shall include complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, "rap sheets" and judicial docket records.

A New Jersey DUI lawyer can explain all of the procedures involved in an expungement, but the basic premise is that when an individual applies for expungement, his or her information is removed from state and local agencies, including:

  • Criminal records;
  • Arrest records;
  • Criminal court proceedings.

In New Jersey, most criminal cases can be expunged except for some drug convictions as well as violent crimes including:

murder, manslaughter, treason, anarchy, kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, arson, perjury, false swearing, robbery, embracery, or a conspiracy or any attempt to commit any of the foregoing, or aiding, assisting or concealing persons accused of the foregoing crimes.”

New Jersey Traffic Offenses

Unlike the surrounding states, an arrest or conviction for driving under the influence in New Jersey is considered a traffic, not a criminal, offense and the records regarding a DUI are therefore maintained by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.  Unfortunately, because a DUI is not a traffic offense, the records surrounding a DUI case cannot be expunged as set forth in Section 2C:52-28 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. This means that while an individual convicted of burglary or a more serious offense may be able to expunge their records, an individual who makes a single mistake by consuming alcohol at a family gathering and then driving under the influence is prevented from doing so. 

Because expungement is not available to those convicted of a DUI, it is critical to speak to the DUI defense team at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A immediately after an arrest so that they can minimize or eliminate all of the potential consequences and keep your driving record as clear as possible.

DUI Post-Conviction Relief

While expungement is not available for those individuals who are arrested or convicted of DUI, a skilled New Jersey DUI defense lawyer may, in limited circumstances, recommend the filing of post-conviction relief. Such a petition seeks to reopen a prior DUI case by alleging that the defense attorney made serious errors or that the Judge or prosecutor committed an error.  These requests for relief are rarely granted, but in some cases, it may be possible to obtain the entry of an order confirming that a prior conviction will not be used to enhance the penalties in a subsequent case as a result of the error that occurred.

The New Jersey DUI Attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. are Here to Assist

Because a DUI case cannot be expunged in the state of New Jersey, it is important to speak to the DUI lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A as soon as possible after an arrest so that they can present an aggressive defense on your behalf and minimize any consequences that are imposed.  Do not wait until after you are convicted and sentenced to a lengthy jail term before you reach out.  Contact our office today.

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