Your battle with addiction may negatively affect many different parts of your life. From the toll it can take on personal relationships to the impact an arrest and conviction have on job prospects, addiction can haunt you for many years.
Those who have faced criminal charges related to their addiction may have had the opportunity to go through the New Jersey drug courts instead of the standard criminal justice system. The drug courts can benefit those accused of drug-related offenses by allowing them to seek treatment instead of winding up incarcerated because of an addiction. This reduces strain on the prison system and focuses on rehabilitation for non-violent drug offenders instead of just punishment.
Another lesser-known benefit of going through the drug courts involves the ability to clear your record of the information about your addiction-related arrests and convictions.
You can expunge multiple drug offenses after drug court
Expungement is a legal process that allows courts to seal or effectively hide your criminal record from those performing a background check. Those who have fulfilled their obligations to the public by paying their fines, completing their incarceration or fulfilling community service requirements still often have negative consequences because of their criminal record. Expungement can help you secure a fresh start.
Obviously, expungement can benefit you as you try to rebuild your life after dealing with the consequences of addiction. For most people who want to clear their records, it is only possible to expunge a single offense, usually well after the fact.
However, those who have successfully completed the drug court program ordered by the state of New Jersey can expunge more than one criminal offense related to drugs. Even those who have gone through the drug courts multiple times before finally conquering their addiction can pursue expungement of their records to help them move forward with their lives.
Expungement will require proof that your life is different
Expungement can help you rebuild your life, but some people could theoretically abuse the process. To protect New Jersey residents from repeat offenders, the courts require careful judicial review before granting expungement requests.
You will need to demonstrate to the courts that you are in compliance with all drug court requirements and that you have an ongoing commitment to maintaining your sobriety and improving your life. Although New Jersey expects a prosecutor to build a case for any expungement they oppose, having documentation that supports your request can certainly simplify the process for you.
Building the case for expungement can be a particularly tricky process, which is why even those who did not rely on legal assistance while defending themselves in drug court may find that they benefit from working with an attorney during the expungement process.