People who use drugs have often had brushes with the law, for example theft or burglary charges to get money to support their habit. The State of New Jersey understands the special nature of drug use crimes and created a separate “drug court” in its Criminal Division. Part of this mission was expanded in 2016 to include the ability to get a fresh start upon completion of the program.
Those convicted of charges in drug court are sentenced to a term of probation, which they must undergo in order to complete the program. However, once this has done and the person “graduates,” he or she is eligible for an expungement “of all records and information relating to all prior arrests,detentions, convictions, and proceedings” under New Jersey’s criminal code. In order to graduate a person must also:
- Satisfactorily complete a substance abuse treatment program
- Not be convicted of a crime (or disorderly/petty disorderly person offense)
Do I Have to Wait to Get It?
Another benefit of the law is that there are no waiting periods to go through before applying. Ordinarily, a certain period of time, in months or years depending on what is being sought to be expunged, must pass from the date all conditions of the conviction (including payment of fines, etc.) are completed. But drug court graduates do not have to wait!
Are There Any Downsides?
Not all crimes are subject to this expungement, though, so not everyone who graduates from Drug Court can benefit from this fresh start. There are exceptions.
You can also lose your expungement if you are convicted of a crime after it is issued. In that instance, the full record of arrests and convictions may be restored to public access, and you are barred from any future expungement! Therefore, once your nose is clean, you must keep it that way!
Need Help Getting a Fresh Start?
If you are looking to expunge some arrests and/or convictions in your past, and you live in the Gloucester County, New Jersey area, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment for a free consultation in my Woodbury office. Don’t let your past hold you back from a better future!