The governor signed into law new legislation broadening the expungement statute. The most notable changes pertain to those convicted of certain drug distribution offenses. In the past, and under most circumstances, an individual convicted of a drug distribution offense would not be eligible for an expungement, unless the offense involved a very small amount of marijuana. The new law will allow those with convictions for third or fourth degree drug distribution convictions on their record to apply for an expungement, and have the offense removed. This is a fantastic opportunity for those who have been plagued for years because of a drug distribution offense on their criminal record, with no chance of erasing it.
In addition, the new laws relax the time limitations for the expungement of indictable (felony) convictions. Under the old law, the defendant could not apply for an expungement until 10 years had passed. Under the new expungement statute, certain indictable convictions will be eligible for consideration after a period of 5 years. There will be a series of factors that the court will consider when deciding if an early expungement should be granted. The important thing is the application can be filed, in most cases, 5 years earlier than before.
There are other changes, but none as beneficial as those stated herein. I speak to many people each year who have been denied employment because of a felony/indictable conviction. Because of time bars and offense limitations, I could not help. But now there will finally be an opportunity. If you have any questions regarding the changes to the expungement statute, please call.