New Law Revises Eligibility for Expungement of Criminal and Juvenile Delinquency Records
| This law makes some changes to the criteria for expungement of criminal convictions and adjudications of delinquency and also adds to the list of crimes that may not be expunged.|
Expungement of Indictable Offenses Generally Section 1 of the law reduces the amount of time that must elapse before a person convicted of an indictable offense is eligible for expungement. Under current law, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:52-2 requires a person to wait 10 years from the date of his conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later, before applying to expunge a conviction for an indictable offense. The law would allow expungement for an indictable offense although less than 10 years has expired if the court finds that:
· Less than 10 years has expired from the satisfaction of a fine, but the 10-year time requirement is otherwise satisfied, and the court finds that the person substantially complied with any payment plan ordered by the court, or could not do so due to compelling circumstances affecting his ability to satisfy the fine; or
· At least five years has expired from the date of conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later; the person has not been convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense since the time of the conviction; and the court finds in its discretion that expungement is in the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense, and the applicants character and conduct since conviction.
In determining whether compelling circumstances exist, a court may consider the amount of the fine or fines imposed, the persons age at the time of the offense, the persons financial condition and other relevant circumstances regarding the persons ability to pay.
Crimes that May Not Be Expunged Section 1 of the law also adds the following crimes to the list of crimes that cannot be expunged:
· Human Trafficking, section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8);
· Causing or permitting a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act, N.J.S.2C:24 4b(3);
· Selling or manufacturing child pornography, N.J.S.2C:24:4b(5)(a);
· Knowingly promoting the prostitution of the actors child, N.J.S.2C:34-1b(4);
· Terrorism, section 2 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-2); and
· Producing or Possessing Chemical Weapons, Biological
Agents or Nuclear or Radiological Devices, subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.2002, c.26 (C.2C:38-3).
Expungement of Certain Drug Crimes Section 1 of the law also allows expungement of certain convictions for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or possession thereof with intent to sell. Expungement would be allowed if the convictions involve crimes of the third or fourth degree, and the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense, and the petitioners character and conduct since conviction. Under current law, a person may not have his conviction for the sale or distribution of a CDS or possession thereof with intent to sell expunged unless it relates to the sale, distribution, or possession with intent to sell a small amount of marijuana or hashish.
Expungement of Delinquency Adjudications Section 2 of the law changes the criteria for expunging a record of an adjudication of delinquency. Under current law, to expunge an adjudication of delinquency, a minimum of five years must elapse after final discharge of the person from legal custody or supervision or after the entry of any other court order not involving custody or supervision. Also, the person must not have been convicted of a crime, or a disorderly or petty disorderly persons offense, or adjudged a delinquent, or in need of supervision, during the five years prior to the filing of the petition for expungement. Section 2 of the law would except periods of post incarceration supervision pursuant to section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77(C.2A:4A-44) from these five-year periods.
|Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea|
1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)
2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:
a. You will have a criminal record3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.
4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.
5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.
6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.
7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.
8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3
9. You could be put on Probation.
10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your drivers license for 6 months - 2 years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.
11. You may be required to do Community Service.
12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.
13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.
14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.
15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1
16. You may lose your right to vote.
The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.
Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:
If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.
NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;
(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;
(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;
(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.
2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:
a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;
(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;
b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;
(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;
c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;
d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;
If facing any criminal charge, retain an experienced attorney immediately to determine you rights and obligations to the court. Current criminal charge researched by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. 732-572-0500