Marijuana or Drug Arrest Expungement
Drug and Marijuana charges are expunged on a regular basis and are one of our most popular cases. In 2011, New Jersey reported 47,168 drug-related arrests, which is by far the largest category of criminal conduct. Possession accounted for approximately 78% of those arrests, and the remaining 22% were for drug distribution. (2011 Uniform Crime Report).
How to Get My Record Expunged
Getting a marijuana or drug charge expunged from your record is relatively simple given the non-violent nature of these crimes. The Law Offices Of Benjamin G. Kelsen will file a petition with the superior court of the county you were charged in. Expungement is almost always granted in these cases as long as the petitioner is eligible under statute and the forms are filled out correctly. Expunge My Record NJ prepares the forms for you to ensure accuracy and provides additional services to streamline the process and get your record expunged in a timely manner.
Marijuana. A majority of those arrested for drugs are charged with marijuana possession under 50 grams (N.J.S.A 2C:35-10a(4)). This is a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) in New Jersey. Oftentimes, if it is your first arrest, the court will offer a diversionary program such as conditional discharge. Completion of the program, which usually consists of probation, will result in an automatic dismissal. However, there will still be an arrest record of the incident, which is available in background searches. You must wait 6 months after the completion of the diversionary program to file for an expungement. If you were not granted a diversionary program and were convicted, you must wait 5 years after completion of your sentence before applying for an expungement.
Other drugs. Possession of any other controlled substances, such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy aka molly etc., is usually an indictable offense (felony) and may be charged as a 3rd or 4th degree crime. If it is your first arrest, the court may offer you a diversionary program called pretrial intervention (PTI). Successful completion of PTI results in a dismissal of the original charges. However, there is still a record of your arrest related to the incident, which is available in background searches. You must wait 6 months from the completion of PTI to expunge the arrest and thereby completely clearing your record. If you were not granted a diversionary program and were convicted, you are ineligible to expunge your record until 5 or 10 years has passed since the completion of your sentence.
Sale or distribution, or possession with intent to sell
The sale or intent to distribute drugs is usually an indictable offense (felony). However, there are special rules governing the expungement of drug distribution offenses (N.J.S.A 2C:52-2). In New Jersey, you can expunge a drug distribution charge if it was for:
- marijuana and was 25 grams or less or
- hashish and was 5 grams or less
Recently a new law was passed in New Jersey which allows you to expunge drug distribution charges of the 3rd or 4th degree (N.J.S.A 2C:52-2(c)(3)). However, for third or fourth degree offenses, the court will use its discretion and take into account the public interest, nature of the offense, and person’s conduct since conviction. Therefore, it might be a good idea to speak with a lawyer in that situation. Unfortunately at the moment, you can never expunge a drug distribution charge of the 1st or 2nd degree.
Youth drug offense (under 21)
Given the large number of drug convictions of individuals under the age of 21, New Jersey created a special law that allows youth drug offenders to expunge their record after 1 year of sentence completion (N.J.S.A 2C:52-5). This law only applies to people convicted of a drug violation under chapter 35 and 36, such as possession. In order to be eligible, the person must have NOT been convicted of any other criminal act or participated in another diversionary program. Unfortunately, this law does not apply to the sale/distribution or possession with the intent to sell of any controlled substances except:
- marijuana 25 grams or less or
- hashish 5 grams or less
Distribution of any other substance or greater amounts of marijuana or hashish will result in a charge that is not eligible under this statute. For example if a person was convicted of distributing a small amount of cocaine, a third degree offense, he cannot expunge his record 1 year after sentence completion. Instead, he will have to wait 5 or 10 years because it is an indictable offense (felony). However, even then, the court has discretion on expunging the record because it is a distribution crime.