Mugshots posted online are not only embarrassing, but they can put your online reputation at risk. In this Erase Mugshots Price guide, learn how to overcome the challenges and get your mugshots taken down permanently.
If you’ve ever been detained by law enforcement officials and booked with a crime, it is highly likely that your arrest mugshot photos can be found in online search results. Even if you were found not guilty of a crime, mugshots posted to Google and third-party mugshot sites can have a damaging effect on your digital reputation.
In this guide, we will explore how mugshot removal services can help you restore your good name and get your mug shots taken down once and for all.
Your Mug Shot is Probably Online
Mugshots, arrest records, and booking photos often find their way into the digital environment. This criminal record information is part of the public record — even if your arrest record is expunged or you are found not guilty.
What can a mugshot appearing online mean for you? Consider that people use search engines like Google every day to learn about others. If someone was to search for your name online, what would they find? Do mug shots and other embarrassing public records represent a risk to your personal privacy and reputation?
The answer is yes: mugshots online can compromise your digital reputation, potentially keeping you from achieving your personal and professional goals. If someone were to discover your booking photos and arrest information, they may make decisions based on that information that prevents you from:
- Getting a new job or exploring new employment opportunities
- Being accepted into the school of your choice
- Securing a home or vehicle loan
- Starting a business
- Entering into a relationship with someone new
Can you afford to have a damaged reputation? If not, continue reading for more details about mugshot removal.
How Arrest Records Appear on the Web
How did your mug shots get on the web in the first place? Whenever someone is arrested, law enforcement officials take booking photos. Many states require that this information be entered into the public record. In other words, anyone with a computer and internet access can pull up your mug shot, arrest details, or criminal records.
Florida law is only one of many state laws that require public records access. The Georgia Department of Public Safety is also bound by laws that force them to make booking photos and criminal charges available online.
Data Brokers and Mug Shot Websites
Once your mug shot is posted to a public database, it can appear in search results. The problem only gets worse, however, thanks to the rise in popularity of any number of mugshot website platforms. Mugshot sites and data brokers use automated tools to scour public databases, then republish that information on their own sites. Suddenly, your mug shot may appear on dozens, if not hundreds, of similar sites.
Because these sites get a lot of internet traffic, information posted to them appears prominently in web searches. Before you know it, nearly anyone with a few minutes’ time and an internet connection can discover your embarrassing photos, putting your reputation and personal safety at risk.
Are Mugshot Websites Legal?
How is this legal? Can a mugshot site really post booking photos for all the world to see? Most sites argue that they are exercising their first amendment rights by sharing public information. The only time these sites get into trouble is when they are for-profit websites; charging fees to access or delete information posted to their sites run afoul of numerous state and federal laws.
Many websites also sell advertising due to the high volumes of traffic. In fact, advertising is the foundation of their business model. Digital advertising is big business; as a business practice of sharing incriminating or embarrassing arrest details, there are few professions lower than ones that make money off someone’s mistakes.
In some cases, a civil suit or other legal action has been required to put the website owner in jeopardy and to get a mug shot removed from public view. Many websites have been successfully sued by those who have had their mugshot added to a website against their will, but this is not a foolproof option to remove mugshots.
Can I Get My Mugshot Removed from Google?
When you discover your mugshots in Google searches, one of the first questions that come to mind is “can I request removal of my mugshot from search results?”
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is complex. Google will only grant removal requests of negative information for specific reasons. These reasons are outlined in Google’s content policies. Some of the content that violates specific policies include:
- Sexually exploitative material
- Content that represents a significant personal safety or identity theft risk
- Highly personal information
- Valid legal requests
Mugshots appearing in Google image search results may or may not violate the company’s content policy. If they do, and you are unsuccessful at having your mugshot removed by requesting removal from websites, visit Google’s personal information support page for more details on their removal process.
Remove Mugshots Yourself with These Tips
Any time you have discovered your mug shot posted online, you can opt to make a mugshot removal request on your own. Here’s a step-by-step guide that can help you save time and effort:
- Request free removal by contacting the webmaster or website owner. If the site doesn’t have contact information listed, you can do a WHOIS lookup to find a mailing address and contact phone number.
- While email requests often work, a better solution is to send a physical mailed request. Be sure to send a letter by registered mail or certified mail with return receipt requested to ensure delivery.
- In the letter or mugshot removal request, state your case: was your record expunged or charges dropped?
The removal process is fairly straightforward, but it may take time for results. If the website does not honor your request or otherwise balks at having your mugshot taken down, it may be time to seek legal assistance.
Hiring a Mugshot Removal Lawyer
Law enforcement and public records databases are subject to specific laws in terms of what can be posted and for how long. If you have been arrested and booking photos taken, you know that these government agencies posted your mugshots.
Getting your mugshot removed from these sites may require you to seek legal services for help. An attorney can assist you with making removal requests of your arrest record, particularly if:
- Your case has had adjudication withheld
- Your records were sealed or expunged
- A court order compels compliance with a mugshot removal request
Even with a case sealed by court-ordered officials, there are times when mugshots inadvertently wind up in publically-available databases. If this is the case, your attorney can provide legal assistance. The law is on your side; with records sealed or expunged, websites operated by the government may be in violation of privacy laws.
Attorney Requests to Mugshot Websites
Getting your mugshots removed from data brokers can be challenging. If you have been unsuccessful on your own, an attorney may be your best bet. Your attorney can also help you to file a formal request or demand letter to websites that are hosting your mugshot.
With records sealed, mugshot sites can be legally compelled to take down embarrassing images. If the company fails to respond to a written request, it may be in violation of local, state, and federal regulations. Here, the removal services of an attorney are invaluable.
Lawyers specializing in mug shot removal have a wide range of legal options at their disposal to have your booking photos taken down permanently. These options include:
- Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests
- Violations of Terms of Service (ToS) notices
- Proof that records were sealed or expunged, such as if a criminal defense attorney dropped charges and charging records were no longer valid
A lawyer can be a valuable asset when your internet reputation and personal privacy are at risk. Remember that the law is on your side when you haven’t been charged with a crime, yet your mugshots are still posted against your wishes. The law can help you recover your reputation and keep you and your family safe from identity theft, financial fraud, or numerous other crimes committed by criminals stealing information from publically-available websites.
Mugshot Removal Services: How to Choose the Best
At the same time that data brokers and mug shot websites have risen in popularity, so too have removal websites. Some of these mugshot removal websites claim to be able to get your photos taken down overnight. The prices they charge for these services can be excessive; one mugshot removal site has been known to charge thousands of dollars, yet can’t produce the results you need to restore your reputation.
Choosing the best service for your money can be a complex process. Removal websites are not all the same, and some provide the assistance you deserve. To determine whether or not a removal service can really help, ask these questions:
Do you require a long-term contract?
What services are included for the price?
Do you offer a money back guarantee if removal is unsuccessful?
Are you looking for the cheapest mugshot removal service or are you willing to pay more for better mugshot removal services?
Do you use an attorney or criminal defense lawyer familiar with mugshot laws?
What do your internet reviews say about you? Do you have satisfied customers or recommendations from clients?
The answers to these questions can help you pinpoint the best value and service for your money. Beware of any company that makes huge promises but fails to provide details on how their process works and their success rate. Remember also that just because a website claims to be able to get your mugshot taken down once and for all, this is not always the end of the story. A good removal agent includes reputation monitoring to spot issues before they can cause you harm. If your photos reappear on the web, is the cut-rate removal website really your best option?
Call Online Reputation Today
Arrest reports and mugshots can be embarrassing and represent a real risk to your internet reputation. Getting them removed from websites is a challenge. To learn more about how Online Reputation can help, call our mugshot removal team today at 844-230-3803 .
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