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  • Writer's pictureJudge Michael Donio

Ask the Judge: If a child is caught shoplifting, is that on his permanent record forever?

If a child is caught shoplifting, is that on his permanent record forever?

Your question asked about a child without an age. I, therefore, assume that it is simply someone under age 18.

As we talked about in a previous column if a very young child is caught shoplifting and they are with the parent, in most cases a lesson will be learned and charges will not be brought. In the other type of case where somebody in their teens is charged in Juvenile Court for shoplifting, many times that will not result in a permanent type of disposition.

However, even if it is, again, it can be taken off of your record after the appropriate period of time.

In the grand scheme of criminal law, shoplifting is not a major offense and therefore, if a child is charged with shoplifting, down the road there should be no problem in wiping that from any record.

With marijuana being legal now, will my previous possession charge and conviction be wiped from my record?

As a result of marijuana now being legal in New Jersey, the answer to your question is yes.

You of course have the right to have your record expunged, after a couple of years even if you’re charged for something that is still illegal.

However, with the new law in effect, one of the provisions of the law deals with wiping off or expunging the record of people with previous possession charges.

Keep in mind that when we talk about possession, we are talking about mere possession and not distribution of drugs which depending on the type of drugs and the amount raises the degree of crime to a higher level.

But the fact is that with this new law in place, one way or another, I am very sure that your previous conviction for possession can be expunged and taken off from your permanent record.

You should speak with a lawyer about this because the expungement statute has some very important checklist that you have to check off in order to get an expungement.

I am more than sure that under the new law a lot of information such as the charge, the date of the charge, the date of conviction and things of that nature will all have to be filled out on the appropriate application to the court for the court and judge to review before they issue an order expunging your record.

Judge Michael Donio served as a New Jersey State Superior Court Judge for 20 years before retiring on July 31, 2015. He now operates a legal consulting and mediation firm on the White Horse Pike. Donio can be reached by calling (609) 481-2919. Send your questions for his columns to


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