Expungement Changes May Still Come For NJ
- March 27, 2015
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NJ Assembly bill, A206, permitting automatic expungement of certain criminal records and reducing the waiting period required to obtain an expungement remains before the New Jersey Senate. The statutory waiting period prior to seeking expungement of more serious but expugnable crimes would be reduced from ten to seven years. The statutory waiting period for seeking expungement of disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses would be reduced from five years to three years. Juvenile records could also be expunged after four years rather than the current five year period if the bill passes. Current requirements, including the non-commission of other prior or subsequent crimes during the requisite waiting period for expungement, would remain as existing with only the modification of the commensurate waiting periods required. The bill also provides for the automatic expungement, after three years, of disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses for criminal mischief (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3) or shoplifting (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11) as well as drug offenses included in 2C:35 or 2C:36 offenses. This would reduce the waiting period from five to three years for expungement of these offenses. The current requirement that the applicant have no other convictions for any other prior or subsequent crimes or any other three disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses would remain intact. Certain crimes including murder (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1), manslaughter (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4), kidnapping (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1), sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2), arson (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1), robbery (N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1) and other serious crimes shall remain unexpungeable. Additionally, conviction relating to the sale, distribution or possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances (CDS) shall not be subject to expungement except in certain narrowly defined circumstances. Proponents of the bill argue that there is no societal benefit to the extended waiting periods prior to seeking expungement and also cite to the societal interest in cleansing records in order to return eligible non-recidivists to the workforce. If you would like to expunge past mistakes from your record, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine whether you are eligible for expungement and for help navigating the process of obtaining an expungement. For more information about the expungement of a criminal record, visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.