Drug Court Engagements – Rebooting Without Stigma

On January 8, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that drug court graduates enjoy a presumption that prior criminal convictions for third and fourth-degree drug sales should be expunged.

Expungement allows drug court graduates, who complete a term of intensive special probation requiring regular court appearances and frequent drug testing, to reintegrate into society without the collateral consequences of a criminal record.

The Drug Court Expungement Statute favors expungement in a number of ways that go beyond the general expungement statute. The law dispenses with the formal expungement application process, allows a drug court graduate’s entire criminal record to be expunged, and starts with a presumption that expungement will be granted.

Although some crimes are not eligible for expungement, in 2010, the Legislature added an exception allowing the expungement of drug sale offenses involving any controlled dangerous substance provided that the conviction is of the third or fourth-degree and where the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest.

In recently decided In the Matter of the Expungement of the Arrest/Charge Records of T.B., the Court addressed whether the public interest standard on drug sale cases applied to drug court expungements and, if so, how that analysis should be conducted. The Court held that drug court participants are entitled to a rebuttable presumption that expungement is consistent with the public interest in light of the rigorous monitoring the program’s intensive supervision provides. The Court also concluded that successful drug court graduates were not required to provide transcripts and reports related to their prior convictions when asking the drug court judge to expunge their records.

Expunging a criminal record can help one to reintegrate in society and affect one’s ability to participate in life’s daily activities without the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

If you have questions about Expungement in New Jersey, contact Rosenberg | Perry & Associates.  We can determine whether or not you are eligible for and Expungement and assist in filing your Petition and seeing that you move through the process without any unnecessary issues.