Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Victor A. Rotolo
Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Anthony P. Kearns third
Badge - Million Dollar Advocates Forum
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Badge - New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Attorney
Badge - New Jersey's Best Lawyers For Families 2018
Badge - AV Preeminent Victor A. Rotolo 2024
Badge - Client Champion Gold 2024
Badge - Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
Badge - Top 100 The National Trial Lawyers
Please click Award & Selection Criteria & Methodology for information regarding the specific criteria used for selection of each of the above awards.

September 2021 - Clearing the Record in Marijuana Cases

Gavel - Criminal CourtIf you or a loved one was charged with possession of marijuana, you may wonder how New Jersey’s new marijuana legislation affects previous convictions. The topic is complex.

The new State laws, in part, legalize the use and possession of marijuana by those age 21 or older, specifically possession and use of six ounces or less of marijuana on private property. The new laws decriminalized certain activities including:

  • Being under the influence of marijuana (except while driving)
  • Possession of marijuana-related drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of marijuana in a car
  • Certain disorderly persons charges relating to marijuana use.

Before this change, more than 30,000 marijuana-related arrests a year were made in New Jersey. With the new laws, State lawmakers now had to contend with how to handle prior convictions for activities no longer considered illegal.

Addressing this issue, State lawmakers ruled that all pending marijuana-related cases occurring on or before February 22, 2021, falling within the parameters of the new laws be dismissed. Additionally, all cases previously resolved through guilty pleas or verdicts be vacated, resulting in remaining time on jail sentences or ongoing supervision programs and unpaid financial assessments being forgiven. This, however, does not clear a person’s criminal record, which can hinder the ability to find employment, housing and obtain certain loans. The way to clear a criminal record is through expungement.

Expungement is the process in which a record of criminal conviction is sealed or, in some cases, destroyed; in effect, it is as if the conviction never occurred. State lawmakers ruled that criminal records of those who had their marijuana-related charges dismissed or convictions vacated would be expunged automatically. However, currently only completely digitized cases (i.e. those cases fully converted to electronic files) can be automatically expunged. An automated process for expunging cases with a hard-copy records, unfortunately, has yet to be developed.

There are an estimated 360,000 marijuana-related cases in New Jersey that qualify for expungement. If you have a case you believe qualifies for expungement, consider seeking counsel of a qualified attorney to help clear your record.

What Our Clients are Saying

I was very proud to be represented by Tony and felt secure at a time I needed a compass to head out of a difficult bind. Confidence in your counsel and a sense of security in understanding how best to proceed are important reasons to consider Anthony Kearns and his team of outstanding lawyers.

- Lynn

Tony was excellent! He was knowledgeable, responsive and on-time. His experience as a County Prosecutor definitely helped our case as he knows how the legal system works and how to navigate. I highly recommend Tony and his office.

- Matt

Thankfully I found Kearns Rotolo Law and I had a wonderful experience working with Charles Rifici on a difficult divorce/child custody issue. I am so grateful for all the work and guidance he provided. He always took his time and diligently went through all my options with me so I could make the decisions that benefitted my family and I. I will be forever thankful for the top notch services he provided.

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In March of 2022 I contacted Kearns Rotolo Law Firm with an urgent problem, Mr. Kearns and Mr. Rotolo contacted me immediately to give me hope as to rectify my problem. The end result was Mr Kearns was able to solve my issue through extreme professionalism, I am very grateful I found Kearns Rotolo Law firm and I would recommend their law firm to anyone that has a less extreme problem or a more complex problem, I am very grateful for their services.

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I met with Mr. Kearns yesterday about a devastating situation affecting our family. Mr. Kearns and his entire staff made us feel extremely comfortable and showed our family a compassionate side that gave us comfort in the most uncomfortable of situations. Thank you very much. God Bless.

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