How Does New Jersey’s New Expungement Law Affect Marijuana Convictions?

People who commit crimes in New Jersey can receive a criminal record as a result. This can impact their reputation and future, as the record can be viewed by the public, making it difficult to find a job, housing, education, etc. Since the year 1990, New Jersey law enforcement has arrested nearly one million people on marijuana charges, giving the state the highest arrest rate for this crime in the country. In the past, it was difficult for them to clear the crime from their record.  However, Governor Murphy’s new expungement reform law can make it easier to do so. 

What is Expungement?

New Jersey allows people the right to ask the court to remove a criminal conviction from their record. This is known as expungement. Once the record is removed, the arrest and conviction can only be seen by certain agencies, such as the federal authorities. This allows the individual to have a clean slate so that they can begin the rest of their life with a fresh start. However, it is important to remember that not all crimes can be expunged, only those that meet the right criteria.

New Jersey’s New Expungement Law

Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law that allows residents with multiple convictions eligible to seek a “clean slate” expungement. This is possible if they have not committed an offense in 10 years and were not convicted of a serious crime. The law also creates a task force to automate the clean slate expungement system and eliminate filing fees for expungement. In addition to this, it requires low-level marijuana convictions to be sealed upon the case’s disposition in order to prevent convictions from being used against the person in the future. 

Referring to the law, Governor Murphy stated, “We are allowing residents with low-level drug and nonviolent offenses to have their record expeditiously expunged … so they can have a meaningful chance at a good job, an education and a strong future.” The law was approved by votes of 23-15 in the Senate and 48-21-1 in the Assembly. The clean-slate task force and elimination of filing fees will take effect immediately, while the rest of the law takes effect on June 15, 2020.

Contact our Firm

If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, you need strong legal defense. Contact the Law Office of Carl Spector for dedicated representation. With over 30 years of experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, he offers a unique perspective on how both sides think, and how to best approach each aspect of the case. When your future is on the line, don’t settle for less than the best possible legal representation. Contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight for you. Call today for a free confidential consultation. Let our experience work for you.