New Jersey recently joined the ranks of several other states that legalized marijuana. Possession up to a certain amount is no longer a crime. The state constitutional amendment and subsequent clarifying legislation take worries about arrests off citizen’s shoulders. The changes could also impact someone’s past criminal conviction record.
Convictions, records, and the new marijuana rules
Anyone with concerns about a past criminal history might benefit from avoiding any future criminal charges and convictions. Possession of fewer than six ounces of marijuana is now legal, and so is its use on private property. Anyone who possesses more than six ounces or who illegally sells marijuana could face charges.
Questions may linger among those already involved in legal troubles over marijuana convictions. The Attorney General issued an order requiring prosecutors to dismiss any pending charges related to previously illegal activity.
Judges may vacate guilty pleas and other convictions for those serving time or otherwise deal with penalties related to marijuana crimes. Past convictions that do not involve current involvement with the criminal justice system receive an automatic expungement.
Additional legal matters and concerns
How automatic is the expungement system? Someone with an old conviction might find the record is easily accessible to those looking to expunge convictions. Yes, some records may exist in hardcopy form somewhere. Persons eligible for expungement may need to take extra steps to make sure the record gets cleared.
And there are other rules and issues worth knowing. Marijuana’s legalization affects probable cause. Did the police search a home after smelling marijuana? That’s not viable probable cause anymore.
New Jersey criminal law regarding marijuana might confuse someone trying to address past or current legal issues. An attorney may assist someone with their questions about criminal history and possible expungement.