But the call never comes. Through the grapevine you hear that the company is continuing its executive search. Later, from an inside source, you hear that the company wanted to hire you but they couldn’t get all of the necessary people to sign off on it because due diligence turned up a photo of your arrest from several years earlier.
You try to protest stating that the arrest was a mistake and no charges were actually ever filed, but it’s too late. You’ve missed out on a golden opportunity due to a mugshot posting website.
Do a Search for your name
Have you recently searched your name on Google and found that several websites pop up with your mugshot on them?
An article recently published by the ABA Journal highlights just how embarrassing and harmful it can be to your reputation if your picture winds up on a website like mugshots.com, lookwhogotbusted.com, or bustedmugshots.com.
In the article, a Florida criminal defense attorney (who specializes in DUI defense, among others things) wound up with his mug shot on several Internet mug shot sites after he was arrested for a drunken driving incident that also involved a hit-and-run.
To make matter worse, a Google advertisement for the attorney’s law firm was prominently displayed next to his mug shot. It did not take long for this ironic juxtaposition to wind up on national news and gossip websites like Gawker.
Although individuals should be punished for their mistakes, at some point people should not be haunted by their past forever. This is especially true if the charges for an alleged crime are dropped, a person is found not guilty, or a record regarding the crime is sealed or expunged. The ABA article is just one real example of how much a person’s personal and professional reputation can be damaged if immediate action is not taken to remove this type of content from the Internet.
If you are a currently being victimized by having your picture appear on a mug shot website, an experienced Internet attorney may be able to completely remove the unwanted pictures and posts. Contact Aaron Minc the law firm of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA at (216) 373-7706 or Contact us today if you have questions about this process and would like one of our experienced Internet attorneys to help you.
How & Why Are Booking Mugshot Photos Produced?
While the exact procedures for the taking and handling of mugshot photos will vary from state to state, a photo is typically taken of the arrested individual shortly after he or she is brought to the police station or other facility. The police department will then keep this photo for their own records. Some police departments may post the mugshots on their own website as a matter of course or in the case of a high-profile arrest. But in most cases, these postings are short-lived and will not exist on the Internet for an extended period of time or indefinitely.
The problem with the posting of mugshots online exists due to a number of private, third-party websites that collect and post booking photos indefinitely. These sites use sophisticated software to scour the web for locations where arrest photos are posted or are otherwise publicly available. The software then scrapes these sites for content downloading the arrest images along with associated arrest information including the identity of the individual in the photo. The sites download this information and post them publicly indefinitely – unless you are willing to pay a fee.
The Problem with Mugshot Websites
While many of these sites claim to operate with the best intentions with a goal of improving access to information and other civic-minded purposes, the reality is of these site’s business practices calls these proclamations into question. Many of the mugshot websites will not remove mugshots even if the charges have been dismissed, dropped, or downgraded or when no charges were actually filed. Many will not remove the mugshot even if the individual is acquitted on the charges or if the conviction is expunged or sealed. However, many of these sites WILL agree to remove the arrest photo if you hand over a significant sum of cash – typically no less than $100, but often $500 or more.
It seems questionable that a number of sites would refuse to remove photos for justifiable and legitimate reasons. When sites state that they will only remove when they receive when they receive a “donation” or payment, people have a right to be suspicious.
Mugshot Websites Claim they Are Legal Due to First Amendment Protections
The websites and many free speech advocates argue that the websites are providing a public service. Others simply state that they are posting materials that are already public record and thus, how could there possibly be a legal issue with the content? Many free speech advocates believe that mugshot websites are protected by the First Amendment and this right should not be disturbed despite some site’s rather distasteful practices.
State Legislatures Address the Problems of Mugshot Websites
Recognizing the problems created by mugshot websites, a number of states have already passed legislation regulating the sites. The states and regulations include:
- California – California S.B. 1027 prohibits websites from charging to take down mugshots posted online. Furthermore, it prohibits payment for the correction or modification of photos.
- Colorado – Colorado’s law requires websites to remove arrest photos if the person is acquitted of the charges for which they were arrested.
- Georgia – Georgia law requires the removal of mugshots, within 30 days of the request, when the individual was cleared of the charges they faced. Site may not charge a fee for this service.
- New Jersey – New Jersey Law prohibits the dissemination of mugshots until the defendant has been convicted.
- Texas – Texas law requires any business or website posting materials of this type to provide valid contact information. People are permitted to dispute the accuracy of the posting and the business has 45 days to respond. Texas law forbids the posting of arrest records of individuals who have not been convicted.
A number of other states including Missouri, Oregon, South Carolina, and Utah also have state laws addressing the publishing of mugshots while requiring payment for removal. In Connecticut, a state Supreme court holding restricts the information police can release regarding an arrest.
Need to remove a False or Misleading Posting About You on a Mugshot Website?
If a false, disparaging, or misleading posting on a mugshot website is costing you jobs and opportunities, you don’t have to continue to live with this abuse. The experienced Internet defamation removal lawyers of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA guarantee the removal of the offending post or you will receive your money back. To schedule a private, no-obligation initial consultation call (216) 373-7706 or contact us online.
How to Get Yourself Removed from Bustedmugshots.com
Finding a post, picture or mugshot of yourself in a way that disparages or otherwise calls your character into question can be shocking and troubling. After finding such an image or post, most people will spend at least several moments in denial. Next, they may become angry that this was posted online some people may lash out at the poster or engage in other rash actions. Thereafter, the victim of this post is likely to seek ways that they can affect change by removing or otherwise blunting the effects of this post, image, or story.
Working with an experienced Internet defamation removal lawyer can help you fight to remove defamatory materials that have been posted on the Internet. The lawyers at Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA are experienced handling the removal of false, baseless, or otherwise defamatory information from the Internet.
The Problems Presented BY Third Party Mugshot & Arrest Aggregators
Busted Mugshots states that their goal is to build the “premier crime information network for arrest information, local crime incidents and sex offender registry.” While BustedMugShots claims that it strives to provide the “most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information possible.” However, since the site does not control its own data and relies on information provided by or scraped from third-parties, the site is dependent on the sources from which it pulls information. If the source provides information that is baseless or inaccurate, this website is highly likely to reflect the same.
Additionally, the site claims that “If a situation is important enough for law enforcement to make an arrest, then that data will most likely end up in our database.” Unfortunately this approach fails to consider changes to the criminal justice system including the passage of statutes that mandate that an arrest is made regardless of the officer’s professional judgment or opinion. Perhaps most notable among statutes of this type are domestic violence laws that require an arrest when a compliant is made. Depending on the state where the complaint is made, even if the officer finds no signs of domestic violence he or she must arrest one party to satisfy the law. Presenting such an arrest can lead to false impressions and false conclusions regarding the events and the character of the accused.
Furthermore, a criminal case can take a long period of time to develop and while the facts may initially appear to implicate you in the crime, it may later turn out that you had nothing to do with the act. It is at least possible that the site could fail to update their records. Furthermore, it can present the arrest that was found to be baseless in such in a way that it is unclear that the charges were dropped or you were found not guilty leading to additional and unnecessary damage to your reputation.
Finally, in the case of an expungement or a sealed record, the site is unlikely to remove these records due to the nature of the legal process. The site will not receive notice that your arrest and other records have been sealed or expunged and thus it is possible for expunged and sealed records to live-on indefinitely in private third-party databases like BustedMugShots unless the individual takes action to have it removed.
The Damage Wrought by Inaccurate & Defamatory Internet Posts
Posts on the internet about a person that are false, inaccurate, or cast the individual in an untrue negative light can have profoundly negative and far-reaching consequences. Internet defamation can result in great embarrassment and the development of fear and anxiety in social situations. In terms of tangible effects on one’s life, Internet defamation can lead to a loss of social standing and a narrowing of one’s social circles. Potential or current employers who google the individual’s name may decide to terminate, not hire, or pass the person over for a promotion they otherwise would have received. In short, statements that have a negative effect on how other people perceive your character can cause a number of social and professional problems. Those statements are unacceptable when they are defamatory.
Work with an Experienced Internet Slander & Libel Removal Team
If you have been shocked to find false and defamatory posts, photos, or reports about you online you are likely seeking answers about how to remove those posts. The lawyers at Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA can fight to protect your reputation by working to remove false and defamatory materials from Internet web sites like Bustedmugshots.com or Google. To schedule a no-cost, private initial legal consultation call our firm at (216) 373-7706 or contact us online. If we don’t successfully remove the false information from the website we GUARENTEE your money back.