Youth Drug Offender Expungement
If you have ever gotten in trouble with the law, the justice system (courts, police, etc.) will keep a record of what happened. This is called your criminal record. This record will be available to the public, so potential employers or anyone else doing a background check will have access to it. However, in certain circumstances, the state of New Jersey will grant your request to have your record expunged, which means that the court will consider the offense to have never occurred, no one outside of the justice system will be able to see that you have ever been in trouble, and you will legally be allowed to say, on things like job applications, that the arrest or conviction never happened. New Jersey has a special law governing the expungement of records of youth drug offenders (N.J.S. 2C:52-5). If you are not eligible under this law, you may be eligible under misdemeanor or felony expungement laws.
There are certain requirements that you have to meet in order to be eligible to have your record expunged as a youth drug offender. These requirements are:
- You were convicted of possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance under Chapter 35 or Chapter 36 of New Jersey law (the court documents, such as a court disposition, will say what law you have been convicted of)
- You were NOT convicted of sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession with the intent to sell any controlled dangerous substance UNLESS your conviction was for the sale or distribution of, or possession with intent to sell:
- 25 grams or less of marijuana (approximately 0.88 oz), or
- 5 grams or less of hashish (approximately 0.18 oz)
- The offense happened before you turned 22
- More than one year has passed since the most recent of the following dates:
- the date you were convicted, or
- the date you got out of jail, or
- the date your parole or probation ended
- You have not violated your probation or parole
- This is the only crime you have ever been convicted of and
- You have never had another charge dismissed after participating in a diversionary program or supervisory treatment program
Samantha, on the eve of her 22nd birthday, sells half an ounce of marijuana to an undercover cop. She is arrested and convicted of sale of a controlled substance, and is sentenced to 6 months probation. This is the only time she has ever been charged with a crime, and she successfully completes her probation. After at least a year and a day have passed from the time she completes her probation, if she asks the Superior Court in the county where she was convicted to expunge her record, it will do so. Now, whenever someone accesses her criminal record, they will not see anything related to the incident.
Jeff, age 19, allows a police officer to search his car during a routine traffic stop. The officer finds a dime bag of marijuana in the glove compartment and arrests Jeff, who is convicted of possession of a controlled substance. When Jeff was 17, he got caught shoplifting, but the judge allowed him to complete a pretrial intervention program, after which the charge was dropped. James will not be eligible to have his drug conviction expunged under THIS law because of his involvement in the diversion program for the shoplifting charges. However, James may be able to expunge his offense as a misdemeanor expungement, which requires a waiting period of 5 years.