Amendments to the Expungement Statutes (Part 7)

by | Mar 22, 2018 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

N.J.S.A. 2C:52-5 is amended to read as follows:

2C:52-5. Expungement of Records of Young Drug Offenders. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3, after a period of not less than one year following conviction, termination of probation or parole or discharge from custody, whichever is later, any person convicted of an offense under chapters 35 or 36 of this title for the possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance, convicted of violating P.L. 1955, c. 277, s. 3 (C. 2A:170-77.5), or convicted of violating P.L. 1962, c. 113, s. 1 (C. 2A:170-77.8), and who at the time of the offense was 21 years of age or younger, may apply to the Superior Court in the county wherein the matter was disposed of for the expungement of such person’s conviction and all records pertaining thereto. The relief of expungement under this section shall be granted only if said person has not, prior to the time of hearing, violated any of the conditions of his probation or parole, albeit subsequent to discharge from probation or parole, has not been convicted of any previous or subsequent criminal act or any subsequent or previous violation of chapters 35 or 36 of this title or of P.L. 1955, c. 277, s. 3 (C. 2A:170-77.5) or of P.L. 1962, c. 113, s. 1 (C. 2A:170-77.8), or who has not had a prior or subsequent criminal matter dismissed because of acceptance into a supervisory treatment or other diversion program.

This section shall not apply to any person who has been convicted of the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession with the intent to sell any controlled dangerous substance except:

(1) Marihuana, where the total sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than one ounce, or

(2) Hashish, where the total amount sold, distributed or possessed with intent to sell was less than five grams.
These amendments make the expungement statutes consistent with the drug offenses subject to expungement. Before the amendments there were ambiguities that led to the inefficient administration of justice. For example, a fourth-degree marijuana distribution involved less than one ounce of marijuana. Since an ounce is approximately 28.5 grams, as opposed to 25 grams, attorneys and courts would have to delve into the case discovery to determine if a 4th degree case was barred from expungement because it involved, 26, 27, or 28 grams. The same was true for cases involving exactly five grams of hashish.