You made a mistake, you served your time, and now you're trying to take back your life and your reputation. While that journey often begins with expunging your criminal record in New Jersey, expungement is just the beginning. If you have a criminal record trailing you, you probably already know that internet search engines can be a minefield. Even after an expungement, anyone who searches your name on the internet may find old news stories, your name and mug shot in criminal history databases, and even old social media posts about you. The good news is that an experienced New Jersey expungement attorney can help you. Cleaning up your history on the internet after an expungement can seem overwhelming, but it's not something you need to do on your own.
What Does Expunging a Record Mean in New Jersey?
Under New Jersey law, expungement is the “extraction, sealing, impounding, or isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person's detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial, or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.” N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 (2019). In New Jersey, the state will even automatically expunge some records under certain circumstances. These records will still exist, but they're sealed from the public eye, and the FBI must remove them from their database. New Jersey courts may not release your expunged records to anyone, including you, without a court order. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-19 (2009).
Online Searches & Criminal History Databases
Even if the state of New Jersey expunges your record automatically or through a court order, online databases and search engines can still show evidence of your past convictions or arrests. In these cases, an attorney can be an invaluable resource to help you regain your online reputation. If someone knows about your expungement and they still disclose expunged records or even the existence of expunged records, they can face criminal charges and fines under New Jersey law. See N.J.S.A. 2C:52-30 (2009).
If you or your attorney notify websites and databases that a New Jersey court expunged your record, they must remove it. An attorney can also work hand in hand with a reputation management firm to:
- Locate online news stories, social media posts, and databases violating the law by failing to remove information
- Work with you to ensure that more helpful or positive web media show up first through search engines
- Advise you on a name change or other options for improving your online reputation
After you've expunged your criminal history in New Jersey, the law is on your side. Websites and databases should take down information about your record that's no longer accurate. However, an experienced New Jersey expungement attorney will have the tools and resources to make this task less daunting.
Hire an Experienced New Jersey Expungement Attorney
These days, getting your record expunged in New Jersey is just the beginning of taking control of your reputation. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the experienced team at the Lento Law Firm can help you clean up your record and its online history. If you need help during or after a New Jersey expungement, attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. He has years of experience helping people in New Jersey take back their reputations, and he can help you too. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 or contact them online to discuss your options.