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My mug shot was posted online and the 3 websites florida.arrests.org, bustedmugshots.com, and tampacriminals.com. is this legal?

Tampa, FL |

I was arrested last year a few times for driving with out a license. In the process of being arrested, I was booked and "MUG" shots where taken. These websites have posted them online and made me loose 2 jobs. They want money and are profiting from my hard times. People can pay money to see my record, or i have to pay to have it removed. Is this legal and what can i do? I'm not a thug/gangster. Just hard working guy with bad driving habits. Please advise what can i do to have them take it down other then paying them??

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Yes, it appears that these mugshot sites are posting public information, and so are protected. No one agrees with their business model. But, I have seen little here on AVVO to indicate success in forcing items to be removed absent expungement or sealing. You could see an attorney about that. Or, you can pay them, but who knows if that will work.

    We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.


  2. Police records such as mug shots are public records. You see them all the time with Hollywood types (Lohan, Gibson, Baldwin etc...) and it is disgusting, but legal. Freedom guaranteed by our First Amendment is quite broad.


  3. Yes, its legal. Please read my guide about it below.

    The author is a Maryland attorney; however no answer given on Avvo is intended as legal advice or intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Dan's expertise lies in the electronic entertainment (video game) industry, as well as complex internet law issues, electronic free speech, entertainment law, copyright and trademark law, and computer fraud. He primarily represents game developers and founders of emergent internet technologies.


  4. It's public record. Yes, posting a public record is legal. There is little or nothing you can do to have them take your public record down other than pay them. The way to avoid having them post a mugshot is to not do anything that results in a mugshot. If they are not claiming you are a thug or gangster what is the relevance of your claim not to be a thug or gangster? None that I can determine. Are you claiming that the mugshots of accused thugs/gangster can be posted but drug dealers, rapists, child molesters, business fraudsters, embezzlers, etc cannot?

    Free speech provides the answer, provided they are not infringing copyright, publicity right, privacy rights, etc. So far, the law is on their side. There is a strong push by criminals to make these websites illegal, but the criminals so far do not have a lot of support other than from other criminals for the proposition that public arrest records should be non-public. On the contrary, the prevalent view is that public records should be public.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.


  5. The only time I've heard of these mugshot type websites removing the photo without paying their fee, is when the charges are dropped or the person is. Acquitted of the crime. If this applied to your situation, request the website to remove your photo, they may agree.

    Information presented on Avvo is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon. It does not create an attorney client relationship and confidential information should not be provided in an open forum.