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New Jersey Arrest Records

New Jersey Arrest Records

In New Jersey, arrest records are reports generated by law enforcement agencies after apprehending a person on suspicion of criminal activity. The records contain information about the alleged crime, the suspect's personal information, the agency that carried out the arrest, and, in some cases, information about the accused's criminal past if it is relevant to the arrest.

Arrest records are public information in New Jersey and can be reviewed or copied from the appropriate law enforcement agencies across the state. They are often featured alongside the New Jersey criminal records, especially when a conviction ensues subsequent to the arrest.

New Jersey Arrest Statistics

In 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that 577 state and local law enforcement agencies in New Jersey made 257,734 arrests. The statistics show that 13,360 minors (persons under 18) were arrested.

Specifically, there were 9,294 arrests for crimes of violence in 2019, including:

  • 6,691 arrests for aggravated assault
  • 356 arrests for rape
  • 184 arrests for murder and negligent manslaughter
  • 2,063 arrests for robbery

On the other hand, there were 22,277 arrests for property crimes, including:

  • 3,309 arrests for burglary
  • 18,200 arrests for larceny
  • 647 arrests for motor vehicle theft
  • 121 arrests for arson

What is an Arrest Record in New Jersey?

Arrest records are the official documentation of people who the police have apprehended. These records are produced and maintained by law enforcement agencies within the state.

In New Jersey, an arrest record does not imply that an individual has been convicted of a crime, as criminal charges may be pursued through the criminal justice system or dismissed. Instead, the record is proof of a person's investigation for an alleged crime.

What is Contained in an Arrest Record?

A New Jersey arrest record will bear the following:

  • The arrestee's full legal name and aliases
  • Age and date of birth
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Other physical descriptors such as height and weight
  • Contact information such as an address and phone number
  • The next of kin

Aside from the arrestee's profile, the record will also contain details about the incident that led to the arrest and the arresting agency or officer. For example:

  • The name of the officer and agency who made the arrest
  • The criminal charge(s) that led to the arrest
  • Location, time, and date of the arrest
  • Details about the vehicle, if one was involved in the incident
  • Mugshot
  • Fingerprints
  • The detention facility where the accused was held
  • Additional information about the presumed crime

Are Arrest Records Public in New Jersey?

Yes, arrest records generated in New Jersey are public records under the state's Open Public Records Act. The law specifies who has access to public records and how government agencies should release such records. Consequently, New Jersey law enforcement agencies generate public arrest records and make them available on request to any interested individual for a small fee.

Who Can Access Arrest Records?

Because an arrest record is public in New Jersey, anyone can obtain it by querying the government agency that maintains the record unless it is exempt from public disclosure by statute or court order. For instance, individuals with arrest records in New Jersey can petition a court to seal or expunge their records, thereby preventing their arrest information from being disclosed. In such cases, the record may only be accessible to law enforcement.

How Do I Lookup Someone's Arrest Records in New Jersey?

Although there is no central repository for arrest records in New Jersey, law enforcement agencies that make arrests routinely produce, collect, preserve, and distribute them. Thus, anyone interested in acquiring arrest records may query the local sheriff's office or police department. Inquirers can also lookup arrest records online if the agency provides a website with a searchable database.

Additionally, arrest records are part of a person's criminal history in New Jersey. As a result, anyone can request a copy of their criminal history record from the Criminal Information Unit of the State Police to review arrest information. The record is also available to the general public upon request.

The state police provide several options for obtaining arrests and criminal records in New Jersey. Although fingerprints are used to process most criminal record requests, the department also allows name-based searches. The division charges a moderate fee for each request.

How to Subpoena Arrest Records in New Jersey

A subpoena is a legal document that requires a named person or entity to participate in a trial or hearing and do one or both of the following:

  • Testify
  • Produce documents or items that will be used as evidence

New Jersey Court Rule 1:9 authorizes the issuance of subpoenas. This rule allows a subpoena to be issued by the court clerk, an attorney, or a party in the clerk's name. As a result, an attorney or a party to a case can create a subpoena and sign it in the clerk's name without requiring the superior court clerk's approval.

To obtain a subpoena, the requesting party must first get and fill out the necessary forms, which differ based on the subpoena's purpose. If an individual wants to request documents such as an arrest record, the party will need to fill out a Subpoena Duces Tecum form.

For the Superior Court Clerk to sign a subpoena, the requester must send the completed form to the address below:

Superior Court Clerk's Office
Customer Service Unit
P.O. Box 971
Trenton, NJ 08625-0971

The form must be sent along with a $50 check or money order made payable to the Treasurer, State of New Jersey.

It is crucial to remember that the subpoena must indicate which papers are requested and what format they must be provided during the trial. If the subpoena is appropriately completed and signed, anyone 18 years of age or older may serve it on the records custodian. A subpoena's service is achieved by providing a copy of the document to the entity named on the paper.

How to Search for an Inmate in the New Jersey Prison System

An individual interested in finding an inmate within the New Jersey prison system can search through inmate records. Inmate records are official documents that bear information on individuals incarcerated in state and local detention facilities.

In New Jersey, the Department of Corrections (NJDOC) is in charge of all state-run correctional facilities. As a result, the agency keeps track of all inmates housed in those facilities and is responsible for maintaining inmate records. Hence, the public can utilize the NJDOC Offender Search tool to learn more about an offender in the prison system.

The NJDOC search tool finds inmates who are currently jailed or have been released within the last year. To use this tool, inquirers must supply information about the inmate, such as a name and state identification (SBI) number. Other search parameters like date of birth, gender, ethnicity, eye and hair color, age, and current correctional facility location can help narrow search results. The search results include personal and official information about inmates, including photographs to aid identification.

It is worth noting that the NJDOC database only contains information about inmates held in state-run prisons. Inmates held in local jails are supervised by local law enforcement agencies (the sheriff's offices and police departments). The sheriff's offices oversee county jails, while police departments oversee municipal or city jails. An inquirer must contact the appropriate agency directly or browse their websites to find inmate locators that can help find inmates in the facilities.

How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in New Jersey

The most efficient method of obtaining information on individuals who have been incarcerated is to conduct a background check or obtain a copy of their official criminal record. A New Jersey criminal record contains details about an individual's criminal past. As a result, the record will have the subject's prior incarcerations.

Additional information is available through the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) Offender Search tool, which returns information on inmates currently in the system and those released within the previous year. Furthermore, inquirers can determine whether someone was incarcerated by querying the appropriate correctional facility.

How Long Do New Jersey Arrest Records Stay on File?

Arrest records in New Jersey will remain on file indefinitely unless the record holder requests for the record to be removed. When one's arrest did not lead to a conviction or prosecution, the party can immediately petition the court to clear the arrest from their record.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and an Arrest Warrant?

Simply put, an arrest record is the documentation of an arrest, while an arrest warrant is an approval for an arrest. An arrest record is a legal document issued by a court on behalf of the state. The warrant gives law enforcement agents the authority to arrest, detain, and investigate someone suspected of being involved in a crime. Furthermore, it may instruct law enforcement officers to search and seize the individual's belongings.

Because an arrest warrant orders the arrest of the individual who will eventually be the subject of the arrest record, an arrest warrant facilitates the creation of an arrest record. Arrest warrants are required to avoid unlawful arrests and violations of human rights. As such, a court will only issue a warrant after law enforcement officials demonstrate probable cause. When an officer can offer facts or evidence that leads a reasonable person to believe that someone committed a crime, probable cause would be established. Subsequently, the court will issue the warrant.

Even though an arrest warrant and an arrest record are fundamentally different, both bear specific information about the accused. For instance, an arrest warrant will carry the following:

  • The defendant's full legal name
  • The court in which the defendant is required to appear
  • Approval of the warrant and acknowledgment of probable cause by a judge or court administration (usually with a signature)
  • The amount of bail and the terms of release

An arrest record will still contain the accused's full name, the presiding court, and bail information but will bear more information about the accused, arrest, and crime.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and a Criminal Record?

The most significant distinction between an arrest record and a criminal record is the information provided in each record. An arrest record does not detail the outcome of an arrest or indicate whether an individual was convicted. On the other hand, a criminal record contains a wealth of information about someone's arrests and convictions. A criminal record will usually feature information about the subject's profile and physical description, much like arrest records. However, it will also reveal details about any court hearing, sentencing, and parole/probation.

How to Obtain Arrest Records for Free in New Jersey?

An individual can usually obtain arrest records from New Jersey law enforcement agencies by paying for copies of the records. However, such agencies may provide searchable databases where inquirers can look up sections or the entirety of an arrest record for free.

How to Search for a New Jersey Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service

Asides from government agency websites, third-party search services also disseminate arrest records. Because such records are public information, inquirers can access them through third-party online databases that are unaffiliated with the government.

To search a database, most inquirers will usually need to provide basic information about the record holder. This includes the person's name and last known location. However, to streamline search results, there may be a need to supply precise identifying information, similar to what is required on government websites. Some examples are the name of a city or county, known aliases, and age.

What Can I Do if My Arrest Record Has a Mistake?

Persons who discover that their New Jersey arrest record has inaccurate or missing information can ask for the record to be updated. To do so, the record holder can file a challenge to have it amended by contacting the arresting agency directly or the Criminal Information Unit of the State Police at (609) 882-2000 or CIU@gw.njsp.org.

To be more specific, the holder of the erroneous record can take the following measures to ensure the record is corrected:

  • Obtain a copy of their criminal record, which includes details about their arrests.
  • Examine the criminal record to make sure there are no errors or inaccuracies.

If any errors are found, the record holder must proceed to the court where the case was heard and collect the relevant papers outlining the court's decision. If the arrest was addressed in a superior court, the individual must request a "judgment of conviction" document from the court clerk. The JOC contains the details of the pleas and sentences (if applicable). Note that if the JOC also has a mistake, the party may need the services of an attorney to alter the decision. For matters heard in a municipal court, the record holder must obtain a copy of the disposition. Either document must be certified, i.e., it must bear a raised seal indicating that a court issued it. The process must be repeated for every error discovered on one's record.

Afterward, the record holder may mail the JOC or disposition, along with a cover letter describing how the information on their criminal record differs from that on the JOC, to the Criminal Information Unit:

Criminal Information Unit
New Jersey State Police
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628

How to Expunge Arrest Records in New Jersey

In New Jersey, expungement is the process of removing or sealing any arrest or conviction-related papers maintained by a court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement agency, or criminal justice agency. An expungement order can be used to seal public records of a person's arrest or conviction.

Title 2C, Section 52 of the New Jersey Code provides details on persons that qualify for an expungement. According to the law, most arrests that did not result in a conviction are eligible for expedited expungement. However, the qualified party may have to wait six months if the charges were dismissed due to a pretrial intervention or diversion program.

Generally, an expungement petition must be prepared and filed by the eligible party. The petition must be submitted in the superior court of the county where the person was arrested. Then, a judge will consider whether or not the person should be granted an expungement.

Individuals can apply for expungement online through the eCourts Expungement System. There is no cost to use the system, but the applicant must create an account and provide the case number of the record(s) to be expunged. After creating the account, the party can follow the guide provided by the courts to file an expungement petition.

Alternatively, interested parties can start the expungement procedure by going to the courthouse. Petitioners seeking to expunge arrest information/records must gather the following to complete their expungement petition and prove their eligibility:

  • Date of arrest and detention.
  • The crime(s) leading to the arrest.
  • The date on which the disposition was made. This could be the date of the not guilty or discharge verdict.
  • A detailed list of all arrests, charges, or prosecutions, even if the applicant is not seeking expungement for all.

A petitioner can seek assistance on how to get copies of the records mentioned above from the Superior Court Criminal Case Management Office in the county where the arrest or conviction took place. A list of Criminal Case Management Offices is provided in the state courts' expungement guide.

When considering expungement in New Jersey, the applicant must decide on legal representation. It is crucial to note that being eligible does not imply that an expungement order will be obtained. Although every petitioner has the right to represent themselves, it may be more beneficial to hire a lawyer to understand the process. Furthermore, filing an expungement petition necessitates the collection of a considerable amount of paperwork. The petitioner must copy and keep all completed forms, checks, money orders, receipts, letters, photographs, and other significant documents relating to the expungement.

Below is the expungement process:

  • Ask the New Jersey State Police for a thorough criminal history report.
  • Fill out the relevant petition papers and submit them to the court in the county where the arrest took place. Notarization is required for the forms.
  • Make three copies of the notarized Expungement Petition (Form A), Hearing Order (Form B), and Proposed Expungement Order (Form C). Keep one copy of each and file the original and two (2) copies with the court.
  • After the forms are filed, the petitioner will receive one copy of each form, which will be marked "Filed" and issued an "Expungement Docket Number". The hearing date and time will be specified in the Order for Hearing document.
  • After receiving the filed copies, the petitioner must make at least seven copies of each document. Mail copies to following agencies by certified mail with return receipt requested:
    • The Attorney General
    • The Expungement Unit of Superintendent, New Jersey State Police
    • The prosecutor of the county
    • The administrator of the municipal court (if the case was heard in a municipal court)
    • The chief of the law enforcement agency that made the arrest
    • The chief of any other law enforcement agencies that participated in the arrest
    • Any detention facility's warden or superintendent involved in the arrest
    • The County Probation Division (if the petitioner was awarded a conditional discharge or dismissal
  • Petitioners may be required to attend a court hearing, albeit this is not necessary for all counties.
  • If no entity objects to the expungement, the court may order that the records be expunged without a hearing. If this happens, the petitioner will get a signed expungement order in the mail.
  • The final expungement order, which is signed by the judge and filed by the court, should be forwarded to the appropriate agencies that received copies of the expungement petition.

It is important to note that expunging a record in New Jersey does not imply that the record will be destroyed. Instead, the procedure conceals the record from the public, making it unlikely for it to show up on background checks for employment or licensing purposes. State law enforcement agencies may still have access to the record.