New Marijuana Decriminalization Policy

August 2, 2018 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 

The New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir S. Grewal, issued a memorandum on July 24, 2018 to all municipal prosecutors. This memorandum directs all municipal and county prosecutors to seek adjournments on marijuana related offenses until after September 4, 2018.

This directive comes after the Chief Municipal Prosecutor for Jersey City, Jake Hudnut, issued a memorandum, which the Attorney General has deemed unconstitutional, titled “New Marijuana Decriminalization Policy.” It has been understood that the Jersey City Memorandum, was creating a charge likened to a traffic ticket, where the possession of marijuana would be punished with a fine and no criminal record. The Attorney General has convened a working group to determine guidelines which should be set for the prosecution of marijuana charges in New Jersey going forward.

It has been anticipated since the inauguration of Governor Murphy, that New Jersey would be legalizing marijuana. This working group could be the beginning of the end for the criminalization of marijuana possession in New Jersey. While it is still unclear what Attorney General Grewal intends to do, it is known that he had discussions with the Chief Municipal Prosecutor for Jersey City regarding decriminalization and this working group is going to address the concerns raised during those discussions. Governor Murphy has expressed his position is that marijuana should become legalized and taxed, rather than decriminalized.

We have had several cases postponed on the basis of this memorandum and are hopeful that we can eventually obtain complete dismissals of marijuana possession cases that are currently pending but have not been resolved. Please contact the Law Offices of Randolph H. Wolf at 732-741-4448 or email us at for more information.

Removal From Sex Offenders List – Additional Offenses

May 30, 2017 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 


A very competent and thorough NY attorney recently approached us with an interesting question. He had a client on the N.J. Registry and on the NY Registry for Megan Law Sex Offenses. He wanted to apply in NY to have his risk level reduced from 2 down to 1 however, thought it would be helpful to have him first removed from the NJ Registry as more then 15 years had passed. However, the client had became homeless for a short period of time and failed to register and was convicted in 2011 in NY for failure to register. The issue was whether the term “offense” in 2C:7-2(f) mean another “sex offense” or any “offense.” Read More »

Restraining Orders: Proving Intent to Harass

December 13, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 

New Jersey Restraining Orders: Proving Intent to Harass

If you are the defendant in a restraining order case who is being charged with harassment, it is vital that you contact an experienced New Jersey restraining order attorney to discuss your case. The criminal charge of harassment is quite broad and nature and, as a result, is often alleged by the plaintiffs in restraining order contexts.

New Jersey case law, however, requires that the defendant have acted with an actual intent to harass in this context. Many times, the defendant’s alleged harassing conduct was not done with an actual intent to harass the plaintiff, but instead was done for some other reason. As such, the plaintiff’s failure to prove that the defendant acted with an intent to harass can be a winning defense in many of these cases. Read More »

Restraining Orders for Out of State Defendants

November 26, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 

NJ Restraining Orders: Do New Jersey Courts Have Personal Jurisdiction Over an Out-of-State Defendant? 

Often times, victims of domestic violence flee their home state in order to escape the violence of their alleged perpetrators.  In these instances, the State of New Jersey does protect victims of domestic violence who come to New Jersey looking for refuge from their alleged abusers.  In this regard, New Jersey’sPrevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. § 2C:25-17 to -35, permits fleeing victims of domestic violence to file for a protective order in a place where the plaintiff resides or is sheltered at the time of the filing.  See N.J.S.A. § 2C:25-28 (“[A] plaintiff may apply for relief under this section in a court having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged act of domestic violence occurred, where the defendant resides, or where the plaintiff resides or is sheltered.”)  Read More »

New Jersey Bail Reform

November 16, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 

New Jersey Bail Reform – Major Changes Effective January 1, 2017

On January 1, 2017, substantial changes to the processing of criminal cases in New Jersey will go into effect. Although the changes made under New Jersey’s criminal law reform will affect almost all aspects of a New Jersey criminal case, the focus in particular will be on the following two areas of criminal law in New Jersey: (1) pretrial release and bail; and (2) the right to a speedy trial. Read More »

NJ Police Sgt. Suspended – 20,000 DWI’s May be Eligible to be Re-Opened

September 20, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 

On September 19, 2016, it was released that State Police Sgt. Marc Dennis, a former coordinator in the State Police’s Alcohol Drug Testing Unit (“ADTU”), has been suspended pending an investigation into his calibration of Alcotest instruments. Sgt. Dennis was responsible for the calibration of Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C units in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union Counties.

Specifically, the State is alleging that Sgt. Dennis failed to use the proper thermometer to test the simulator solutions prior to starting the calibration of the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C units. This step is necessary under the Supreme Court’s decision in which set forth the necessary steps the State Police must undertake to properly calibrate the Alcotest instrument. Read More »

Early Expungement of Disorderly Persons Theft Conviction Granted

July 19, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 
In April of 2016, the expungement statute was broadened to provide for the “early pathway” expungement of disorderly persons (or misdemeanor) convictions in New Jersey.  While an early pathway expungement had previously been available for felony convictions prior to April of 2016 (making applicants eligible for expungement of their felony convictions five years after completion of their sentence, as opposed to the standard ten year waiting period), a similar provision was not available with respect to the early expungement of disorderly persons convictions.
Under the new expungement law, however, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3(b)(2), an early pathway expungement for disorderly persons convictions is now available.  Although the standard waiting period to expunge a disorderly persons conviction remains five years, you can now apply under the new law for expungement of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense after only three years –  so long as certain conditions are met.

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Can a New Jersey Employer Lawfully Ask About Your Criminal Record?

April 22, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 
Individuals looking for employment in New Jersey are often concerned about whether and when potential employers can use inquire into their criminal record during the application process. While New Jersey’s Opportunity to Compete (or “Ban the Box”) law prohibits employers from inquiring into an applicant’s background during the initial stages of the application process, nothing – besides an expungement – will prevent an employer from inquiring into your criminal background after an initial interview.

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Early Termination of Probation in New Jersey

April 8, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog 

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.
Read More »

New Law for Drug Court Expungements

March 11, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Criminal Law Blog, Expungement Blog 

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.

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