Removing Mugshots from the Internet
How to remove a mugshot from the internet.
IntroductionIn the social media era of today, your online reputation is forever. Unfortunately, mugshots have become a big part of that reputation in recent years as more and more online companies attempt to profit off the dissemination of such information across the web. Mugshots can be embarrassing and humiliating, sometimes even costing you a job, because they imply that the individual portrayed is associated with some sort of criminal act even if you didn’t commit the crime or were eventually found not guilty.
What to do?With the recent rise of the “mugshot industry” – in which online companies mine mugshots and other embarrassing information resulting from an arrest, post it on the internet for display, and then charge a hefty fee to have it removed – many individuals have been left with the daunting question of how they can get their mugshot removed without having to turn over an exorbitant amount of money to these companies who in many instances, never actually remove the photo.
Thankfully, in 2017, Florida passed a law aimed at relieving these financial hurdles. Proposed as Senate Bill 118, the new law now requires any private company that solicits or accepts payment for the removal of mugshot photographs to take the mugshot down within 10 days of receiving a formal request to do so. If the company refuses, an individual may sue the company for an injunction forcing them to take down the photograph. In this scenario, the judge has the discretion to impose a $1,000 per day fine for every day the mugshot is not removed, as well as reasonable attorneys fees and other court-related costs. Finally, if the company continues to refuse to remove the photograph, they can then be subject to civil suit under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
It is important to note that this new law applies only to those private companies who require a fee in exchange for the removal of a mugshot and to only those individuals who were not convicted of the crime. Additionally, in order to get around this law, many websites have now changed their policies and no longer accept payment for removal. Even so, with the right representation, it may still be possible to convince these companies to take the mugshot down.
It is also important to note that traditional methods of sealing or expunging criminal records do not apply to these private mugshot websites. Thus, in order to rightfully defend your reputation and prevent any long-term fallout that can be associated with having your mugshot photograph online, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you in your removal efforts.
The collateral consequences that can stem from a publicly available mugshot can be painful and sometimes even permanent.