NEW JERSEY SENATE TAKES ACTION TO MAKE IT EASIER TO GET EXPUNGEMENT
In September, 2015, the New Jersey Senate approved two new statutes designed to make it less challenging to have a criminal record expunged in specific circumstances. One law addresses victims of identity theft, while the other would cut the statutory waiting period in half, from 10 years to five.
The first bill, A1662, deals exclusively with people who have been wrongfully charged with a crime after having been victims of identity theft. According to authorities, it is not uncommon for someone to steal someone else’s identity by wrongfully appropriating financial or credit card information. The perpetrator then engages in illegal activity (typically fraud) using the victim’s identity. Frequently, the victim is arrested and charged with the fraud, based on limited evidence.
Under A1662, if it can be shown that the person arrested was actually innocent and was the victim of identity fraud, the prosecutor can petition the judge to declare the victim innocent. In such a case, the person would not have to wait any period of time to have the expungement implemented, and would not have to pay the expungement fee.
The second law, A206, combines six bills formerly before the Senate. In addition to reducing the statutory waiting period from 10 years to five for indictable offenses, it would also reduce the time period from five years to three years for disorderly persons offenses.
Both proposed laws have been returned to the New Jersey Assembly for amendments.
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