Changes to Marijuana-Related Expungements (Part 1)

by | Feb 4, 2020 | Blog, Criminal Law, Drug Crime, Marijuana, Monmouth County, Ocean County

The following amendments to the expungement statutes were approved by the New Jersey Legislature with regard to marijuana offenses. The amendments for all but two of the statutes will take effect on June 15, 2020. The amendments regarding 2C:52-5.4 (Automated “Clean Slate” Process) and 2C:52-29 (Fees Waived for Certain Applications) became effective on December 18, 2019.

Amendments and additions occurred with regard to the following sub-sections under N.J.S.A. 2C:52: 1 (Definition of Expungement), 2 (Indictable Offenses), 3 (Disorderly Persons Offenses and Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses), 5.1 (Eligibility to File Petition for Expungement), 5.2 (System for Sealing Records From the Public), 5.3 (“Clean slate” Expungement by Petition.), 5.4 (Automated “Clean slate” Expungement by Petition), 6 (Arrests Not Resulting in Conviction), 8 (Statements to Accompany Petition), 10 (Service of Petition and Documents), 10.1 (System to Electronically File Expungement Applications), 14 (Grounds for Denial of Relief), 15 (Disposition of Records), 23.1 (Use of Expunged, Sealed Records), and 29 (Fees Waived for Certain Applications).

N.J.S.2C:52-1 is amended to read as follows:

2C:52-1. Definition of Expungement.  a.  Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, expungement shall mean the extraction, sealing, impounding, or isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person’s detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.

  1. Expunged records shall include complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets” and judicial docket records.

The terms “sealing” and “impounding” were added to the definition. These terms may have been added consistent with new bail reform rules that allow expunged offenses to be considered at detention hearings. Detention hearings now occur in lieu of the setting of a dollar bail figure. Defendants are either released on summonses, subject to non-monetary conditions, or detained pending trial, dismissal, or a negotiated disposition of their case.