Expungement of Conviction for Third-Degree Possession of C.D.S. with Intent to Distribute Granted in Mercer County

May 1, 2016

The New Jersey expungement lawyers at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf just recently represented another client in Mercer County on another successful “public interest” expungement of his conviction for third degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute.  In the past, convictions for possession of CDS with intent to distribute were ineligible for expungement.  In 2010, however, the law changed.   If the conviction was of the third or fourth degree, the record eligible for expungement so long as you prove that expungement is consistent with the “public interest.”

The client we recently represented was arrested in 1989 and charged with possession of CDS (heroin) in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), possession of C.D.S. (heroin) with intent to distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5A(1), and distribution of C.D.S. (heroin) in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5b(3).  The client subsequently appeared in the Mercer County Superior Court, where he was found guilty of third-degree possession of CDS in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1), third-degree possession of C.D.S. with intent to distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5A(1), and third-degree distribution of C.D.S. in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5b(3).

Pursuant to the 2010 amendments to the expungement statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(c)(3);

c.In the case of conviction for the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or possession thereof with the intent to sell, expungement shall be denied except where the crimes relate to involve:…

(3) Any controlled dangerous substance provided that the conviction is of the third or fourth degree, where the court finds that expungement is consistent with the public interest, giving due consideration to the nature of the offense and the petitioner’s character and conduct since conviction.

Thus, pursuant to this statute, the New Jersey expungement attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf argued that the client’s expungement was in the “public interest.”  In doing so, we first pointed out that it had been 21 years since the client had completed his sentence.  Courts may  take into account the number of offense-free years since conviction because;

“As the number of offense-free years after conviction increase, the risk of re-offending drops.”  Ibid. (citing to Megan C. Kurlycheck, et al., Scarlet Letters and Recidivism: Does an Old Criminal Record Predict Future Offending? 5 Criminology & Public Policy 3, 489 (2006).

Thus, “this fact would generally tend to support petitions made closer to the ten-year mark than the five-year mark.”  Ibid.

We next pointed out that the nature of the offense also weighed in favor of expungement.   With respect to this factor, we noted that there was no indication that weapons or violence was involved in the commission of the offense.  Nor was there any evidence that the client had distributed drugs to children or in the past.

We further pointed out that, since the client’s arrest, he has changed immensely. Since his conviction he has lead an exemplary life and has had no other arrests.  He subsequently enrolled in college, where he received two Associates degrees.  He also completed a job training program, where he received his Licensed Practical Nurse Certificate.

We also pointed out that the client continues to maintain family and community ties that promote law-abiding behavior.  We highlighted the volunteer work that the client had performed when he collected donations and food to feed the less fortunate.  He also volunteered to collect money for Christmas gifts for children.

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