With the New Jersey Constitution having been amended to allow citizens over 21 to use recreational marijuana, you may be wanting to expunge that possession conviction from a few years back. After all, shouldn't the law be retroactive?

You May Not Have to Wait for the Expungement

But isn't it expensive to get an expungement, and don't you have to wait years before even applying? Not necessarily! Under a new law, individuals with certain minor drug charges can proceed immediately! With any other expungement, there is a waiting period. For example:

  • Indictable Crimes ("Felonies" in other states): 10 years
  • Disorderly & Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses ("Misdemeanors" in other states): 5 years
  • Municipal Ordinances: 2 years
  • Arrests with No Convictions: 6 months

But with these charges, you can seek one immediately after the payment of the fine, completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, legal custody or supervision.

What Convictions Are Included?

Not all drug-related convictions can benefit from this new procedure, though. The amount of marijuana or hashish makes a difference, so you have to look at your case carefuly to see if it applies. Included convictions are:

  • Distribution or possession or having under control with intent to distribute less than one ounce of marijuana (or less than five grams of hashish) or such violation and a conviction of distributing, or possessing or having under control with intent to distribute, on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or within 500 feet of public housing facility, public park or public building; or
  • Obtaining, possessing, using, being under the influence of, failing to make lawful disposition of marijuana or hashish; or
  • A violation involving marijuana or hashish as above, and using or possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia.

So very small amounts of the drugs, and/or possession of the parephernalia, can pave the way to a quick wipe-out of your record!

A Faster, Streamlined, and Less Expensive Expungement Process Too!

The procedure for getting the expungement is streamlined as well! If your conviction was prior to June 15, 2020, then:

  • Your petition doesn't have to be verified;
  • You needn't provide an order for hearing; and
  • The petition doesn't have to be served on other parties (which reduces the expense!)

Ordinarily, you would have to file a Verified Petition for Expungement (meaning that you swear under oath that the facts in the petition are true), seek a hearing from the court, and provide notice of the petition to at least a half dozen entities by certified mail! Here, you just file a petition setting forth sufficient proofs that you qualify for the quickie expungement, and an Expugement Order for the judge to sign.

If your conviction was on or after June 15, 2020, then the court will have issued, with the conviction, an "order of nondisclosure" covering relevant court, probation and law enforcement records. This has a similar effect to an expungement. For convictions for distribution of one ounce or more of marijuana  but less than five pounds, or hashish over five grams but less than one pound, an automatic order of non-disclosure will not be issued. However, it will be expungeable after a three-year waiting period.

So What Should You Do?

So, as you can see, if you have one of these convictions in your past, there is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to wipe it out! If you are looking to expunge some arrests and/or convictions in your past that occurred in the Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, area, have decided that you need an expungement and are ready to take action, then click on this link to schedule a call with me. Don’t let your past hold you back from a better future!

If you are not sure you are ready to hire a lawyer, but want more information, then download my free book, What Everyone Should Know About Getting a NJ Expungement to get the answers you're looking for!

Want to see if you are even eligible for an expungement? Take the quiz to the right and see!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.