Criminal charges wreak havoc on your life. A conviction remains a part of your permanent record, potentially preventing you from getting certain jobs, going to school, or holding positions within the community. As background checks and internet searches are now a part of everyday life, the damage to your reputation alone can be extensive. As Milltown criminal defense attorneys, we work aggressively on behalf of clients to prevent this from happening. Even if you have been charged and convicted of a crime in the past, we can guide you in obtaining an expungement while advising you on other actions you may need to take.
Expungement and Background Checks
Just about every job requires a background check today. You may also be subject to formal or informal background searches when looking for an apartment, leasing a car, holding public positions, or even dating and volunteering your time at a child’s school. If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, there is a strong chance someone will uncover it.
According to statistics from Politifact, roughly 70 million Americans find themselves in this troubling position. Past indiscretions, recent errors in judgment, or actions taken while under the influence or when struggling with addictions can have a major impact on you now and in the years to come. These are certain protections offered on both the state and federal level in terms of the types of information background check may include and how it can be used against you. However, it still puts your personal well being and financial security at risk.
One of the most effective ways of dealing with this type of situation is to seek an expungement of your criminal record. This effectively removes-or at minimum, hides-your conviction, preventing it from appearing on background checks. Under New Jersey Court guidelines, issues that will influence whether you are entitled to seek an expungement include:
- The nature of your charges;
- Your status as a first time offender or if you had prior arrests;
- If you were involved in any type of pretrial intervention program;
- Whether you had any prior expungements;
- If you completed all requirements in your case as set out by the court.
Dealing With Information on the Internet
Unfortunately, even in cases where you are cleared of charges or an expungement is granted, information pertaining to the incident may still be available online. One of the most damaging aspects of the internet is the way the names of people who are arrested are publicized for all to see. Mugshot websites are among the worst offenders. These websites often exploit information obtained via public records for their own gain. In addition to publishing your name, your mugshot image, and your charges, they often make matters worse by getting the facts wrong.
Unfortunately, while you have the right to request that your mugshot be removed from these sites or that errors be addressed, many charge outrageous fees in what essentially amounts to extortion.
According to the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), close to a handful of states-including New Jersey-have passed laws prohibiting these sites from charging fees to remove mugshots. In addition, when information provided via a website is misleading or causes you significant harm, they may be liable for any damages you suffer as a result.
Reach Out to Our Middlesex County Expungement Attorneys
At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we work aggressively to prevent criminal charges from doing lasting damage to your reputation. To discuss expungement and other options, contact our Milltown criminal defense attorneys to schedule a consultation today.