In the matter of the expungement of DP
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In this case there is a very specific question as to whether a prior drug distribution arrest can be expunged when the final guilty plea was for a 2C: 5–2 conspiracy charge and judgment of conviction reflected that too.
In this case the defendant was charged with a second-degree conspiracy to distribute controlled substance. At the time of the arrest however the defendant was never actually charge with the 2C: 35-5 distribution charge. In fact at the time of the year arrest and charging the defendant was merely charged with conspiracy.
Some 20 years later the petitioner move to have the record of the conspiracy conviction expunged and the state objected. The state argued that the “conspiracy” to commit the drug offense was enough to preclude expungement under the drug distribution exceptions to the general expungement statute.
The defendant and the court disagreed. The court specifically look to the plain language of the statute and the plain language of the charge and concluded that conspiracy is not one of the enumerated charges barred by the legislature from ever being expunged.
The state went further to argue that the conspiracy and accomplice liability should be looked at together and considered identical for the purposes of the drug distribution statute and the precluding language of the expungement statute.
Again the court disagreed and found for the defendant that the plain language of the statute does not preclude this conspiracy charge being expunged.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.