Consequences of a Juvenile Criminal Record in NJ
When a juvenile commits an act that would constitute a crime as an adult, a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, or a violation of a statute or ordinance, he or she can be adjudicated as “delinquent” in the state of New Jersey. A juvenile adjudication is equivalent to a conviction for a criminal act committed by an adult in criminal court with slightly different ramifications.
How Are Juvenile Records Different from Adult Criminal Records?
Juvenile proceedings originate in the New Jersey Family Court, unlike an adult criminal proceeding, but may be transferred to adult court by election of the juvenile or by the request of the prosecutor and approval by the judge. The criminal records for juveniles are stored in the Juvenile Central Registry, separate from the Criminal History Record Information system where adult records are maintained. In New Jersey, access to records of juvenile adjudications is limited to certain agencies and individuals under N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60. Although the general public is prohibited from accessing juvenile records, an exception is made for victims or parties involved in a civil suit arising out of a delinquent act committed by the juvenile. School officials, such as the juvenile's principal, may request relevant information concerning a juvenile's identity, offense and disposition on a confidential basis if deemed appropriate for maintaining order, safety or discipline in the school.
Sealing a Juvenile Arrest or Record
In New Jersey, juveniles have the right to get their records sealed after a request for a record sealing order. First, the juvenile must show that they have had a period of good behavior or have enlisted in the military. If, after two years from the date of discharge or entry of court order, the juvenile has not been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense or adjudged delinquent, he or she can request an order prohibiting disclosure of the legal records. Sealing is different from an expungement because, if the juvenile has a subsequent adjudication of delinquency or conviction, the prior order sealing the records is null and void.
The Effect of a Juvenile Record on Employment
When interviewing for a new job, you may be asked about any prior juvenile adjudications and arrests, as there is no law that prohibits employers from asking an individual about either. If the employer is not an agency listed in the disclosure of juvenile information statute as being permitted to inspect juvenile records in New Jersey, such as law enforcement, it will not be able to see your juvenile records. However, if you were under 18-years-old but were charged as an adult, that record will be found in a background check.
How to Expunge Your Juvenile Record
At any time after the conclusion of the proceedings, a juvenile may petition, or request, to have an arrest that did not result in an adjudication expunged. If a record is expunged, all information pertaining to the arrest or proceeding is deemed to not have occurred. A juvenile in New Jersey may also petition to have an entire juvenile record or just a single adjudication expunged, but each are subject to some limitations. The expungement of a single juvenile adjudication takes place by the same process as expungement of an adult record under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 thru 2C:52-4.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-4.1, in order to expunge an entire juvenile record, the following requirements must be met:
- 5 years have elapsed since the final discharge from legal custody or supervision, or from the entry of any other court order not involving custody or supervision;
- The juvenile has not been convicted of a crime or a disorderly or petty disorderly persons offense, adjudged a delinquent, in need of supervision during the 5 years prior to the filing of the petition, and no proceeding or complaint is pending seeking such a conviction or adjudication;
- The juvenile was never adjudged a juvenile delinquent on the basis of an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime not subject to expungement under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2;
- The juvenile has never had an adult conviction expunged; and
- The juvenile has never had adult criminal charges dismissed following completion of a supervisory treatment or other diversion program.
Call a Juvenile Criminal Lawyer About Your Juvenile Record
If you have any questions about the effects of an arrest, adjudication or violation you received as a juvenile in New Jersey, contact a lawyer. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca are experienced in handling juvenile matters in courts throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County, NJ. Our criminal defense lawyers represent residents in towns such as Toms River, Manasquan, Jackson, Long Branch and Long Beach Island. Call today for your free consultation!