Clients often ask whether it is possible to be released early from probation. New Jersey law does give judges the authority to release defendants from probation early. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:45-2, the court, on application of a probation officer or of the defendant, or on its own motion may discharge a defendant from probation at any time.
Just recently, the expungement attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf represented a client in successfully obtaining an “early pathway” conviction of her felony conviction for unlawful possession of a weapon in Ocean County, New Jersey. The client was arrested in 2006 at the age of 20 and charged with being in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3B, terroristic threats; N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5D, unlawful possession of weapon; and N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4D, weapon possession unlawful purpose. She appeared in the Ocean County Superior Court in 2007, where she plead guilty to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5D (weapon possession unlawful purpose) and was sentenced to a one-year term of probation, which the client completed in November of 2008.
Early Pathway Expungements for Disorderly Persons or Petty Disorderly Persons Convictions Under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3
You must generally wait 5 years to expunge a conviction for a disorderly persons offense (or misdemeanor) or a petty disorderly persons offense. Effective April 18, 2016, however, the expungement statute was amended to provide for an “early pathway” disorderly persons expungement. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3, you can apply for expungement of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense after only 3 years – so long as certain conditions are met. The “early pathway” expungement is complex and requires compliance with many conditions as well as a court appearance. As such, it is best to consult with an attorney if you are seeking an early expungement.
Ordinarily, a person convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey must wait 5 years from the date of their conviction, payment of fine, or satisfactory completion of probation, whichever is later, in order to seek an expungement. Under the new law, however, the expungement statute was amended to allow certain convicted persons to have their records expunged after a period of only 3 years had elapsed.
In order to be eligible for a so-called “early expungement,” the individual must establish that granting such an expungement would be in the public interest. In determining whether or not an early expungement would be in the public interest, courts can consider numerous factors, including: the circumstances surrounding the offense, the applicant’s character and conduct before and/or after conviction, evidence that the conviction has impeded efforts to resume a law-abiding life, the nature of the offense, whether the applicant has engaged in activities that would limit the risk of re-offending (such as whether the applicant has received job education and training and maintained family and community ties that promote law-abiding behavior), the number of years that has passed since the conviction, and the applicant’s performance while incarcerated or while on probation.
The Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf has helped many individuals apply for and receive an early expungement under the 2010 amendments to the expungement statute, which provided for early expungements of felony convictions after only 5 years (normal waiting time is 10 years). When applying for early expungements, our firms will focus on the positive factors that weigh in favor of an early expungement in your case. Some of those factors might include your age at the time of the offense, the nature of the offense, your job education and training since your conviction, your educational background, your criminal history in general, and whether the conviction has prevented you from doing something you would otherwise be able to do, such as getting a job, progressing in your career, coaching, or renting an apartment.
If you or someone you know would like to apply for an early expungement, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf today for a free consultation. Our attorneys will first determine whether or not you are eligible for an early expungement. If so, we will then prepare a brief on your behalf, focusing on how an early expungement in your specific case would be in the public interest. Contact us today at (732) 741-4448.
New Law Allows for the Expungement of All Criminal Records For Individuals Who Successfully Completed Drug Court
Several counties in New Jersey have implemented a Drug Court program. In Drug Court, the State and criminal defense attorneys work together to help non-violent drug offenders, who are often addicts, by rehabilitating them, as opposed to incarcerating them or imposing other harsh sentences. The theory is that, without appropriate treatment, these individuals are bound to come into contact with the criminal justice system again. Thus, rather than incarcerating this individuals, which does little to rehabilitate them (and often, in fact, results in making their drug addiction worse), the Drug Court program seeks to attack the problem at its source by offering counseling and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services to these individuals, in lieu of incarceration, in the hopes that these individuals will recover and not have any further contact with the criminal justice system.
New Jersey’s law governing drug court is codified at N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14. Drug Court usually requires the offender to be: (1) employed; and (2) under an intense period of supervised probation, which requires random drug testing and court appearances. The court can also impose any counseling or drug rehabilitation programs deemed beneficial.
Often times, individuals enrolling in New Jersey’s Drug Court program have extensive criminal backgrounds that were, for the most part, due to their drug or alcohol addictions. These convictions could include not only drug convictions, but also convictions for other offenses such as theft, robbery, assault, burglary, etc. Prior to April of 2016, however, most drug court graduates were barred from being eligible to expunge their criminal records after completion of the drug court program, due to the nature of New Jersey’s expungement law, which places limits of the amount and type of offenses that are eligible for expungement.
As of April 18, 2016, however, expungement law in New Jersey changed drastically for those individuals who have successfully completed Drug Court. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m), those individuals who successfully complete drug court are eligible for expungement of all prior arrests, detentions, convictions, and/or proceedings for any criminal offense under Title 2C. To be eligible for this broad expungement relief, the individual must meet the following three requirements:
1.They must have satisfactorily completed Drug Court;
2.They must not have been convicted of any crimes, disorderly person, or petty disorderly persons offenses during their term of Drug Court; and
3.They must not have been convicted of an offense that is barred from expungement pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b) (many of which are violent crimes).
The procedure for applying for a Drug Court expungement pursuant to this section will vary depending on whether you completed Drug Court before or after the law’s effective date of April 18, 2016. For those who successfully complete Drug Court after that date, the expungement process is somewhat automatic. After being discharged from Drug Court, the court will provide you with a copy of a Drug Court expungement order, which you must promptly distribute to the appropriate agencies who have control and custody of the records specified in the order.
If you have completed drug court and been granted an expungement pursuant to this section, then it is imperative that you stay out of trouble. This is because if you are subsequently convicted of a crime (or felony) following discharge, then the full record of arrests and convictions may be restored to public access and you will be forever barred from obtaining an expungement in the future.
For those individuals who graduated from Drug Court prior to April 18, 2016, you may apply for relief pursuant to this section by filing an expungement petition in the Superior Court in the county where you completed drug court. So long as you meet the requirements listed above, and you have not been convicted of any crime (felony) or other offense since the date of discharge from Drug Court, then you are likewise eligible for expungement of all prior arrests, detentions, convictions, and/or proceedings for any criminal offense under Title 2C pursuant to this section.
If you successfully graduated from Drug Court in New Jersey and have questions regarding the consequences that this new law has on your criminal history, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf today for a free consultation at (732) 741-4448.
As a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, you know just how important it isto have a clean driving record, but you also know how difficult it is to keep it that way. Your position probably requires you to spend a significant amount of time in your car, or – as some Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives have described it – your “mobile office.” With the increased time spent driving, the likelihood of obtaining motor vehicle infractions is also increased, however. Even if you consider yourself safe driver, sometimes motor vehicle infractions are inevitable, especially when you spend hours on the road on a daily basis.
For Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives, however, having any violations of your record – even those non-moving violations which carry zero points under New Jersey law – can pose significant problems with your employment. Pharmaceutical companies have strict policies in place when it comes to the Motor Vehicle Records (“MVRs”) of their employees – and for good reason. Insurance rates for at-risk drivers are higher.
New Expungement Laws in New Jersey Effective on April 18, 2016, Reduce Waiting Time and More
Appealing the Denial of a TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry Program Application Due to a Disqualifying Criminal History
According to the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) 3 to 5 percent of the roughly 30,000 monthly applicants that apply for the Pre-Check or Global Entry programs are rejected for various reasons. Many times these applicants are rejected due to inaccurate or faulty information that surfaces during criminal background checks. For example, pursuant to TSA’s policies, they do not consider you to have been convicted of an offense, and will therefore not use such an offense against you, if your finding of guilt was overturned on appeal, fully pardoned, or expunged. Nonetheless, the TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry Appeal lawyers at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf have noticed that some applicants have been wrongfully rejected as a result of convictions that have been overturned on appeal, pardoned, or expunged. Read more
Alternative to Expungement in New Jersey: Certificates of Rehabilitation (“COR”) Pursuant to N.J.S.A 2A:168A-1
Due to the numerous statutory requirements that exist in order to obtain an expungement in New Jersey, many individuals are unfortunately not eligible to have their record expunged. This can be due to the fact that the have a disqualifying conviction, have to many convictions, or because they have not yet met the time requirement for expungement. If you are not eligible for expungement for any of these reasons, you may still be able to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:168A-1.
Certificates of Rehabilitation are usually sought by individuals that have been denied a professional license due their criminal history. These professional licenses could include licenses to become a driving instructor, taxi cab driver, pharmacist, nurse, cosmetologist, plumber, physical therapist, physician’s assistant, court reporter, dentist, or an accountant, among others. Read more
Even other lawyers have a difficult time understanding what exactly intellectual property law covers. There are three main categories that fall under the umbrella of intellectual property: patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Trade secrets are also encompassed within the area of intellectual property.
While there are specific sets of laws enacted by Congress for each of these three categories of intellectual property, patents and copyrights are a little more special because the origin of both comes from Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, which promotes “the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
Protection for a patent is a little different than anything else. Unlike copyright and trademark, which give the filer the exclusive right to use the copyright or trademark in a certain way or geographical location, a patent gives the filer the exclusive right to exclude anyone else from using the invention. The three types of patents are design, utility, and plant patents. They term of a patent is twenty (20) years. Read more
On December 4, 2015, Randolph H. Wolf was selected to teach an expungement seminar on behalf of the Monmouth County Bar Association. The seminar was taught to approximately 30-40 other New Jersey lawyers who were interested in learning more about expungements in New Jersey in return for continuing legal education (“CLE”) credit. During the lecture, Mr. Wolf talked about the expungement process in New Jersey, eligibility requirements, and recent expungement case law and developments. Read more