New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to sign legislation that would expunge the criminal records of some drug offenders, as part of comprehensive reforms. The new legislation would expunge from state records the convictions of those drug offenders who have graduated from New Jersey’s drug courts, a probationary sentence with serious conditions.
New Jersey drug courts
New Jersey has developed one of the most successful and respected Drug Court programs in the country. Drug courts are now located in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties. The New Jersey Office of the Public Defender works to support the program as an effective alternative to traditional criminal courts.
“Ban the box” law
In March of 2015, the Governor signed a “ban the box” law, named after the box on many job application forms that instructs applicants to “check here if you have a prior conviction”. The law was designed to restrict employers from investigating a job applicant’s criminal background during the initial job application process. The Governor stated that the “ban the box” law failed to address the stigma facing those recovering addicts who have successfully graduated from drug court.
New Jersey’s proposed legislation
State Senators Sandra Cunningham and Raymond Lesniak are sponsors of the new bill that was introduced in the New Jersey Senate in May. The bill provides employment protection for recovering addicts and will be combined with Bill S-54, which gives those addicts who have completed mandatory drug rehabilitation a state-issued certificate of completion. Under the proposed legislation, the legal records of non-violent drug offenders could apply to have their criminal record sealed if they have successfully completed treatment. This would prevent employers from accessing the information and using it in a discriminatory manner.
To have your criminal record expunged – legally removed from the public record – you must first submit an application to the court. If you have successfully petitioned to have your criminal record expunged, it is important to keep a certified copy of the expungement order. This document will be useful when seeking employment, renting an apartment, and in other situations where your background will come into question so keep it in a safe place.
Our New Jersey criminal attorneys work hard to protect your future
If you or a loved one has a criminal record from a drug offense, or if you have been arrested or charged for a crime but not convicted, you may be able to have your record expunged. The act of essentially erasing your past will give you the freedom to get a new start on your life without carrying the burden of the mistakes of your past. At Lomurro Law, our New Jersey criminal lawyers believe everyone deserves a second chance. We have dedicated more than 130 combined years to serving New Jersey families, and have a proven track record of success. Contact a member of our experienced criminal defense team today at 732-482-9285 or online to arrange a free confidential consultation to discuss your situation. Our offices are located in Freehold and East Brunswick.