Municipal Ordinance Expungement FAQ’s

October 29, 2017 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

What is a Local/Municipal Ordinance?

A municipal ordinance is a non criminal conviction under a local code and is not a criminal conviction under the New Jersey State 2C criminal code. However, it does show up on an official criminal background check. In addition, if an indictable offense or disorderly persons offense was reduced to a municipal ordinance, the original charges will remain on the person’s criminal history until the municipal ordinance is expunged.

When Can I Expunge a Local/ Municipal Ordinance?

Under the new criminal Justice Statue Section 2C:52-4, A local/ municipal ordinance is eligible for an expungement 2 years from the date of conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later.

Is there a limit to how many Local/ Municipal Ordinance convictions can be expunged?

As stated in the N.J.S.A. expungement statue, 2C:52-4, there is no limit to how many local/ municipal ordinance a person can have expunged.

Can I expunge a Local/ Municipal Ordinance and an Indictable Offense?

Before April of 2016 when the criminal expungement statue, 2C:52-2- Indictable offenses (felonies), was rewritten, if a person had been convicted of an indictable offense, they could not expunge any additional convictions for disorderly person offenses or municipal ordinance violations. The new statute permitted the expungement of a felony and up to 2 DPs. However it did not mention local/ municipal ordinance convictions. Since then the County Prosecutor’s Office in many counties have interpreted this to mean if a person has been convicted of an indictable offense in the Superior Court, that person is not eligible to have their conviction for a local/ municipal ordinance expunged, even though they would be eligible to have a more serious disorderly persons criminal offense expunged. It is an open question as to whether a second expungement petition could be filed on the municipal ordinances after the petition to expunge the indictable was granted.

Can I expunge Local/ Municipal Ordinances and Disorderly Persons Offenses?

Under statue 2C:52-2 a person is eligible to have an unlimited number of conviction for local/ municipal ordinance expunged so long as they do not have more then two disorderly persons (misdemeanors) offenses and if the proper time has elapsed. If a person has been convicted of three DP’s they can not expunge any convictions for local/ municipal ordinances. Under 2C:52-3 up to three disorderly persons offenses can be expunged so long as there are no indictable convicitons.

I have completed a Diversionary program can I Expunge a Local/ Municipal Ordinance?

Yes, if a person successfully has completed the Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) or Conditional Discharge (CD) program they can expunge local/ municipal ordinances after the two year time period has elapsed.

New Developments in Expungement Laws re: Drug Court

September 12, 2017 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN EXPUNGEMENT LAW REGARDING DRUG COURT MATTERS AND OTHER DRUG OFFENSES

Several years ago, New Jersey instituted a program known as Drug Court. The rules governing this program are now defined in one of the New Jersey laws, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14. Through this program, persons who commit certain types of crimes as a result of drug or alcohol addiction are allowed to participate in an approach that focuses not on punishments such as prison/jail time, but instead focuses on helping them recover from addiction and lead productive lives. The offenses eligible for Drug Court program include not just basic drug offenses such as possession and distribution, but also crimes that persons often commit due to addition, such as theft of money to buy drugs or alcohol. Read More »

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

May 1, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

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.” Read More »

Early Pathway Expungement Granted in Bergen County

April 25, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

The Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf successfully represented a client in obtaining an early pathway expungement in Bergen County, New Jersey.  The client was convicted of third degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute in the Bergen County Superior Court in 2006.  At the time of the offense, the client was only 20 years of age.  Since then, the client had married, had two children, and had been working as a pool technician.  He explained, however, that his felony conviction was holding him back as he would like to advance in his career in order to better provide for his family. Read More »

Early Expungement Granted for Client Convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in New Jersey

April 5, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

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.
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Early Expungements for N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3

March 16, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

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 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.

New Expungement Laws in New Jersey

February 4, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

New Expungement Laws in New Jersey Effective on April 18, 2016, Reduce Waiting Time and More

On January 19, 2016, Governor Chris Christie signed into law Bill A-206, which contains significant amendments to law governing expungements in New Jersey.  These changes will take effect starting April 18, 2016.  The brief overview below highlights some of the more important changes made to New Jersey expungement law, N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2, et. seq.
It is important to be mindful that the Internet is full of websites and blogs that unfortunately contain conflicting and inaccurate information about the new expungement law in New Jersey.  Do not be mislead by those by other attorneys and/or authors of the articles containing inaccurate information. The attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf have an accurate understanding of the new law, the full text of which can be read here.
1. Simultaneous Expungment of a Criminal Conviction and Up to Two Disorderly Persons Convictions.  Under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(a), an individual can now expunge one felony conviction and up to two disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses.  Under the old law, anyone convicted of a felony could expunge their felony conviction, however, any disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses would remain on their record.  In essence, the felony conviction barred the expungement of any disorderly persons or petty disorderly person offenses.  With the new law, however, so long as it has been at least ten years from the date of the “most recent” conviction, payment of fine, completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration for the crime and any disorderly persons offenses, which is later, you may petition the court to expunge the felony conviction, as well as up to two disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons convictions.  In addition, you may apply for an “early pathway” expungement five years after the “most recent” conviction, payment of fine, completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration for the crime and any disorderly persons offenses, which is later, with a “public interest” finding.
2. Early Pathway Expungement for Disorderly Persons Convictions.  With respect to the expungement of disorderly persons offenses, under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3, if the individual has not been convicted of a prior or subsequent felony, they may apply for an expungement of up to 3 disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses 5 years after completion of their sentence.  If an individual has been convicted of a prior or subsequent felony, however, they must apply for the expungement of any disorderly persons offenses pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 above, which means they cannot have more than two disorderly persons offenses and at least 5 years (for an early pathway expungement) or 10 years (for a standard expungement) have passed since completion of the sentence for the most recent conviction.  For those individuals who have not been convicted of a prior or subsequent felony, however, the new law also allows for “early pathway”expungement of disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons convictions, so long as the petitioner demonstrates that expungement is in the “public interest” and at least 3 years have passed the date of the “most recent” conviction, payment of fine, completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, which is later.
3. Payment of Fines for Disorderly Persons Convictions.  Under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3(b)(1), if it has been less than 5 years since satisfaction of your fine for the disorderly persons offens(es) you are seeking to expunge pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-3 above, but the 5 year time requirement for completion of your sentence is otherwise satisfied, the court may nonetheless grant your expungement if you can establish either: (1) that you substantially complied with your fines; or (2) you could not do so due to “compelling circumstances.”
4. Dismissed Cases.   For arrests that resulted in dismissal, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-6, the court is now required at the time of acquittal, dismissal, or discharge, upon the application of the individual, to order the automatic expungement of all records relating to the offense.  Automatic expungement will not apply to those charges that were disposed of before the law goes into effect, however.  Thus, a petition for expungement will need to be filed with the court for charges that were dismissed prior to April 18, 2016.  Moreover, any person that did not apply an automatic expungement pursuant to this section at the time of the dismissal, acquittal, or discharge must subsequently file a petition for expungement with the court.
5. Drug Court Expungements.  The new law also amends New Jersey’s law governing Drug Court, which is codified at N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14.  Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m), those individuals that successfully complete a special term of probation are eligible for expungement of all records relating to all prior arrests, detentions, convictions, and proceedings for any Title 2C offense.  In order to be eligible under this provision, the person must have satisfactorily completed a substance abuse program and must not have been convicted or any crimes or disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses during their term of special probation. In Addition, the individual, would not be eligible for expungement if he or she was ever convicted for an offense that is barred from expungement pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b), which bars the expungement of many violent crimes.  Even those individuals who were successfully discharged from a term of special probation prior to the law’s effective date may apply for expungement relief under this section.
If you have any questions about this new law or its impact on your eligibility for expungement, contact the experienced expungement attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf today at (732) 741-4448 for a free consultation.

 

Alternative to Expungement in New Jersey: Certificates of Rehabilitation (“COR”) Pursuant to N.J.S.A 2A:168A-1

January 8, 2016 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

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 »

Randolph H. Wolf Teaches Expungement Seminar on Behalf of the Monmouth County Bar Association

December 17, 2015 · Posted in Blog, Expungement Blog 

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 »

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