A Municipal Ordinance is a law passed by the local government, as opposed to the State. This includes laws passed by a specific city, town, or county. The violations will vary depending on the area, but common Municipal Ordinance violations include disturbing the peace, loitering, illegal consumption of alcohol, disobedience to lawful orders, and types harassment. A fine is usually the only punishment for municipal ordinance violations.
Sometimes a prosecutor will downgrade a misdemeanor charge to a municipal ordinance violation. This practice is becoming more rare, but it still happens. If the charge you were convicted of does not start with a “2C” is it probably not a misdemeanor or felony, and is a municipal ordinance violation.
If you have been arrested for the violation of a Municipal Ordinance, you are eligible for a NJ expungement as long as:
- You have not been convicted of any other felony offense (in any State); and
- You have not been convicted of more than two misdemeanor offenses (disorderly or petty disorderly persons).
If you meet these criteria, you may petition for an expungement after a 2-year waiting period. The waiting period begins from the date of the conviction, payment of the fine(s), or successful completion of probation or incarceration release—whichever is the latest. (N.J.S. 2C:52-4).
A new law was recently enacted that allows the court to relax the waiting period beginning from the date of complete payment of the fines. If the payments are made on schedule, or if the court accepts sufficient reasons for nonpayment, the waiting period may begin from the date of conviction, completion of probation, or release from incarceration.
You were arrested for possession of marijuana, which is then downgraded to the municipal ordinance possession of alcohol. You are convicted of this violation on January 13, 2013. You were ordered to complete a 2-month probation program, which you successfully completed on March 20, 2013. You did not have enough money to pay the fines in full at the time of the arrest, so the court set up a payment schedule ($50 each week, for 15 weeks), which you have paid on time and in full every week since. If you submit this information to the court, it is likely that you will be granted a 2-year waiting period starting from March 20, 2013. Even though you have not completed the payment of fines, the court will strongly consider that you have been keeping up with the payment schedule. As long as your are not arrested for any other crimes during the 2-year waiting period, you will likely be able to petition for an expungement on March 20, 2015.