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NJ Bill Targets Non-First-Degree Crimes [AUDIO]

Do you think everybody deserves a second chance? New legislation just introduced in Trenton would allow anyone convicted of lesser than first-degree crimes to ask a judge to wipe their record clean after just two years, if they meet certain other benchmarks.

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“If they did their time, paid their fines, this bill here is a true second chance program,” said Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Jersey City), one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “It applies to any crime that you commit: from a second-degree, third-degree, fourth-degree, misdemeanor.”

A person would not be eligible if they’ve committed any crime other than petty offenses — with a maximum of three of those — before or after the two-year lapse.

“They can’t have committed any crimes,” Mainor said. “If that’s the case, there’s no need to even apply because a judge is not going to give it to you if you’re continuously showing that you’re not rehabilitated, so to say.”

Under current law, someone has to wait five years before applying for expungement. Mainor explained that even if someone goes to great lengths to successfully stay out of trouble, their criminal record follows them everywhere they go. He said that makes it difficult to get a good job or find a decent place to live.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. A hearing date has not been set. The measure is also sponsored by Assembly members Benjie Wimberly (D-Paterson) and Grace Spencer (D-Newark).

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