Changes to Marijuana-Related Expungements (Part 16)

by | Mar 5, 2020 | Blog, Criminal Law, Drug Crime, Marijuana, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The amendments to N.J.S.A 2C:52-6 continue:

(b) any number of offenses or delinquent acts which if committed by an adult would constitute, obtaining, possessing, using, being under the influence of, or failing to make lawful disposition of marijuana or hashish in violation of paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection a., or subsection b., or subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:35-10; or

(c)  any number of offenses for, or delinquent acts which if committed by an adult would constitute, a violation involving marijuana or hashish as described in 1[paragraph (1)] subparagraph (a) or (b) of this paragraph and using or possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia with that marijuana or hashish in violation of N.J.S.2C:36-2.

(2) If the disposition of the case includes a court-ordered financial assessment subject to collection under the comprehensive enforcement program established pursuant to P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-1 et al.), then at the time of issuing the sealing order, the court shall also enter a civil judgment for the unpaid portion of the court-ordered financial assessment in the name of the Treasurer, State of New Jersey and transfer collections and disbursement responsibility to the State Treasurer for the outstanding amount in accordance with section 8 of P.L.2017, c.244 (C.2C:52-23.1).  The term “court-ordered financial assessment” as used herein means and includes any fine, fee, penalty, restitution, and other form of financial assessment imposed by the court as part of the sentence for the conviction or convictions that are the subject of the sealing order, for which payment of restitution takes precedence in accordance with chapter 46 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.  The Treasurer may specify, and the Administrative Office of the

Courts shall collaborate with, the technical and informational standards required to effectuate the transfer of the collection and disbursement responsibilities. Notwithstanding any provision in this law or any other law to the contrary, the court shall have sole discretion to amend the judgment.

Expungements are likely to be contested under the new provisions regarding paraphernalia. The restrictions on expungements for disorderly persons paraphernalia offenses are only supposed to be relaxed for marijuana or hashish paraphernalia. It is unclear how courts should treat paraphernalia charges if no marijuana or hashish is recovered along with it. Other times, the suspected marijuana or hashish is never confirmed at a laboratory. And, on rare occasions, the marijuana or hashish is blended with other controlled substances. Language concerning previous restrictions about paraphernalia closely associated with one ounce or more of marijuana or five ounces or more of hashish was deleted from this section.