Anyone’s mugshots can appear online. They typically indicate that the person depicted in them has committed a crime, so the community will be aware of it and take protective measures. However, your mugshots can appear online even if you didn’t break the law and have been arrested by mistake. Moreover, these images will likely stay online, unless you take action to have them taken down. It’s very easy to find a mugshot online and it can damage a person’s professional image or wreck their chances of getting a job.
Arrest Records are Public Domain
Most states consider arrest records public domain or public information. This is why most of the sites that upload mugshots don’t need consent or permission to post them. Typically, federal mugshots are public domain and free to access. State mugshots – those taken by state institutions – are freely accessible as well. Few states have specific laws on mugshots.
Getting Mugshots Taken Down
If you want to get a damaging mugshot removed from the Internet, there are some options available to you. Specifically, you can contact Google, the webmaster of the site in question, and/or removal service. Finally, you can ask to have your arrest record sealed.
Google can remove search results for legal reasons upon request. In addition, it can also remove personal details if they pose a certain risk or harm to a person. However, data that’s already publicly available isn’t likely to be removed.
Getting in touch with the webmaster or administrator is typically the first line of defense. There might be a contact page, which you can use to enter why you believe the picture should be removed. This way, the mugshots would be removed from the site instead of being suppressed by Google, which is better since it eliminates the risk of them resurfacing.
Three of the most popular mugshot sites are arrests.org, mugshots.com, and MugshotsOnline.com. Here’s how to get your mugshot off them.
Arrests.org has a contact page to submit requests and a special button to remove records in the upper right-hand corner of some pages. If you don’t see a link or the button on the page with your picture, that means Google no longer pulls it up. If the button is there, you can upload your documents to the contact page.
This site will remove your mugshots upon receiving proof that your record was expunged, you weren’t found guilty, you were the victim of identity theft, or you were acquitted, exonerated, or pardoned. If the case was dismissed or there was withholding of adjudication, your picture will be taken down, too.
Did you find some unflattering images of you on this site? Then you must have seen the link with “remove” beneath it. Clicking on that will lead you to a form asking for additional details. Once you provide them and fill in the form, the image will be deleted. This site doesn’t ask for documentation.
Should You use a Removal Service?
You’ve heard of companies who claim to be able to get mugshots taken down. Of course, they will charge a fee for this. Some of these companies work for the sites that publish booking photos, either directly or indirectly. When you pay them to get your picture removed, the admin of the site in question will take it down. However, the picture is still public record, which means it can be published somewhere else. Some services manipulate search engine results so that your booking photo won’t appear near the top.
Having Your Record Sealed
Albeit being harder to accomplish, this is a great deal more effective than the previous approach. To be eligible for sealing, the crime the person committed should be within the scope of expungement law. Typically, this includes non-violent crimes or minor offenses. A certain period must have passed since the arrest or conviction, in which the person has not committed any further offenses – or hasn’t been caught, of course.