Although Governor Phil Murphy campaigned on a recreational marijuana legalization platform nearly two years after he assumed office, there is still no legal recreational cannabis in the Garden State. If you were arrested for possession of marijuana, you are still committing a crime. Fortunately, there are ways to get the charges erased from your record, so that they do not affect your future ability to obtain employment or qualify for loans and scholarships. Much depends on the individual circumstances of each case and the amount of marijuana involved.
Expungement wipes the record of a criminal conviction, or even an arrest, clean. Background checks will not reveal this record. While the time limit for marijuana possession or distribution expungements vary according to the charges, in most cases, a person is permitted only one expungement in a lifetime. Currently, if a person successfully completes probation drug court, New Jersey allows for the expungement of records for marijuana possession or distribution convictions, if the amount involved was less than 25 grams.
If a person is arrested for marijuana possession, but the case is quickly dismissed, they can start the expungement process right away to remove the arrest record. Expungements for such dismissals do not include the one-time use factor. If the person is arrested and successfully completes a pre-trial intervention program, a waiting period of six months is imposed before applying for expungement.
For those who pleaded guilty to or were convicted of marijuana possession of less than 50 grams, the waiting period before applying for expungement is five years. It is possible to apply after three years if the individual can show a good reason for the early consideration. This is a disorderly persons offense, and expungement is not possible for someone who has more than two disorderly persons convictions.
The expungement process requires a great deal of paperwork, which is sent to various parties statewide. While it is possible for someone to tackle expungement on their own, it is a complex undertaking and why relatively few complete all the necessary documentation on their own. Legal help can make the expungement a reality.
If legalization does occur, erasing the record should be a smoother process. However, it is still not known exactly what form post-legalization expungement will take. One proposed bill, which has not become law, allows people to clear marijuana offenses from their record at no cost, but all documentation is still required. Under this proposal, there is no expungement waiting period.
Governor Murphy voiced support for a measure that would make nonviolent misdemeanor charges more than 10 years old invisible to anyone outside of the law enforcement and judicial system. It is based on Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law. There is also the question of which marijuana offenses are expungable after legalization.
Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Help Those Charged with Marijuana Offenses
Until legalization, a marijuana charge can have lasting repercussions. If you are facing marijuana charges or want to know about expungement for prior offenses, contact an experienced Haddonfield criminal lawyer at Aita Law, LLC. Call us today at 856-287-7800 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.