NJ Supreme Court Rules on Drug Court Expungements

On January 8, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided In the Matter of the Expungement of the Arrest/Charge Records of T.B. (A-18/19/20-17) (079813).

This case involved three individuals who had criminal records and entered the drug court program pursuant to third-degree offenses. They had graduated the drug court program and sought to expunge their records. The trial court granted their expungements. However, the Appellate Division vacated the trial court’s order.

The individuals in this case applied for expungement under the 2016 drug court expungement statute (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m)). This update to the law allows drug court graduates to expunge their entire criminal records with certain exceptions.

In this case, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division’s decision and recommended that the expungements should proceed. In rendering the decision, the Court ruled that the 2016 statute requires a judge to determine whether a drug court graduate’s expungement would be consistent with the public interest and that certain individuals who have successfully completed drug court should be entitled to a rebuttable presumption that the expungement is within the public interest.

This is a good decision that will allow many people to file for expungement. However, prosecutors may try to object and claim that certain individuals’ expungements are not within the public interest. There are a variety of factors that an individual can argue in order to persuade a judge that his or her expungement would be within the public interest.

If you are considering filing for an expungement you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible to determine if you are eligible. Call 201-343-4622 today for an expungement consultation.