Expunging Mental Health Records in New Jersey

Prepared Not Unprepared

The New Jersey statutes permit the expungement of your mental health records pertaining to a voluntary or involuntary commitment, and a determination of ‘dangerousness’. This type of expungement is not governed by the NJ Expungement statute, which governs when a criminal charge can be cleared from your record, and there are occasions where you may still need to disclose your complete health record (such as when you apply for a permit to purchase a gun).

As a starting point to determine whether you are eligible for this relief, you will need to be able to show that you were discharged from your commitment as ‘recovered’; that your mental condition has substantially improved; or, that you are in substantial remission of the mental condition that resulted in the commitment.

Parties who must be served with copies of the expungement petition include the Court that ordered your commitment, the County Adjuster, the medical director of the institution where you were committed, as well as the parties involved in your commitment or determination of ‘dangerousness’.

Establishing that you are not a danger to the safety of the public

One of the two findings that a Court must make before you can be granted this type of expungement is that you are not a danger to the public’s safety. This issue can be supported by submitting appropriate parts of your past mental health records showing that there was no evidence of you being a danger to the community, yourself or others, and by submitting a recent evaluation to establish your current level of functioning.

Establishing that expunging your record is not contrary to the public interest

The other finding that a Court must make before you can be granted an expungement that granting this relief would not be contrary to the public interest. This issue can be supported by showing the scope of actions or activities you have taken or been involved with during the period of commitment, as well as those since your release. What the Court will be looking for is how you have fit into our society and what you have given back to the community.

If you are seeking to clear your mental health records, consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine what your options are. Call Howard Bailey at 973-982-1200 for a free consultation before you make any decisions on how to proceed.