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In theory, mugshots help law enforcement identify past or repeat offenders. Officials may also use them to help victims identify an assailant.
But, when individuals have a photographic record or mugshot taken in Texas showing up online, it can cause damage to their reputation, employment, and personal life.
In this blog, we’ll answer important questions on how to keep your Texas mugshot off of public or private websites. We also show you how to prevent serious and permanent damage to your reputation and remove your mugshot fast.
Following your arrest, the criminal justice system records your personal information, description, and fingerprints. Officials also take your mugshot, which is a part of the booking process.
As required by the Texas Public Information Act, a person’s arrest file (including your mugshot) is a public record. And public records are accessible to all US citizens.
But, what happens when the state dismisses the charges – or finds you innocent of the crime? Well, a simple internet search will still reveal your mugshot. Unfortunately, you’ll be subject to hardships simply because your Texas mugshot is still online on their site.
Renting an apartment, obtaining a loan, finding employment, or even getting a date can all be impossible with a mugshot online.
If you have criminal charges dismissed, the police department will still have a photographic record of you. And, sometimes, police departments may have published your mugshot on one of their law enforcement websites. Legally, they should remove your photo when you’re no longer under investigation in Texas, or have been cleared of charges.
The problem is this: third-party websites or search engines like Google may still feature your mugshot on the web. They are under no legal obligation to follow your case or remove your mugshot from their website. And, indeed, it is a daunting task to contact every webmaster of all these sites to remove your Texas mugshot.
Yes. You can remove your mugshot from search engines. But first, you need to find all search engine records of your picture and arrest record. Then, you can visit each website’s Contact Us page and provide the information that proves the mugshot is yours. The documentation may include a lawful expungement or prove the Court dropped the charges.
Often, the easiest way to remove all instances of your mugshots in Texas is to hire a professional mugshot removal service. These companies specialize in mugshot and arrest records removal. It doesn’t matter if the charges were dropped, expunged, or dismissed. These experts can help remove Google results and go after websites refusing to take down your mugshot.
You can find and remove old mugshots for free. But remember that some mugshots made in Texas are easier to find than others.
Here is a list of the places and people to contact to start the removal process:
Depending on the agency and employees involved, it may be difficult to remove a mugshot from the public record.
Remember, you need detailed information on the person. This information may include the person’s full name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, and more.
You may also need detailed information on the nature of the particular crime, including date and location.
Yes. Everything depends on the city or county in question, as well as the unique process for accessing mugshots. All Texas criminal records are available through the Texas Department of Public Safety website. But, these records may not include a mugshot of the individual. Some smaller counties in Texas keep booking photos accessible to the public only by written request.
Some counties publish Texas mugshots online only after the person is convicted. Most cities and counties in Texas post the names and booking photos of all suspects, even before a decision has been made.
In Texas, employers may conduct background checks on job applicants. These typically include both a criminal background check and a credit check. This is because companies can face future legal trouble when they hire workers that have been convicted of crimes like property damage, assault, and, of course, theft.
The bad news is that an employer may find your mugshot even if no conviction took place. And, they may use it as an excuse to not hire you.
While federal and state laws may restrict the release of criminal records, especially those with no conviction – every company has the right to set its own hiring policies. If you have an online mugshot and a criminal record, this could affect your ability to become employed.
Also, remember many employees do their own Google search on potential employees. So, any social media posts, negative information, and photos associated with your name and state may easily be found.
One of the actions that can be taken to clear your name and digital footprint is to file a petition for non-disclosure. This is basically a court order that prevents public entities such as police departments, sheriff’s offices, and courts from releasing certain criminal records. Including your mugshot.
This can be helpful if you have a criminal record in Texas. However, there are restrictions to how and when it can be used:
A deferral period is the time after the defendant has completed probation and the sentence is suspended. But, all stipulations handed down by a judge must be fulfilled for the deferral to take effect. Afterward, the conviction, sentence, and guilty plea can be thrown out.
If your offense is expunged, that means the courts have ordered your personal data concerning the case to be erased from the public records. Not even law enforcement agencies should be able to find information for an expunged case.
The only times your record and mugshot are expunged from the public record is when you are found not guilty of the offense, or your case was dismissed without any stipulations for probation or court-ordered supervision.
All public documents of the offense held by government agencies should be destroyed once a judge grants you an expungement. But, will all instances of your mugshot be deleted from online websites? Not necessarily!
Many mugshot distribution companies make money by posting mugshots. Then they charge people a fee to have the mugshot removed from their private website.
The short answer is no. But it still depends on your specific situation. In reality, the easiest way to have your images taken down is to have your charges dismissed.
However, if the Court was the one dismissing these charges, or you were found not guilty, you can use the help of a lawyer, especially to expunge or seal your record. As mentioned above, the Texas State Law requires sites to remove mugshots if a non-disclosure agreement is made.
Yes, we sort of answered this before. But to be crystal clear, mugshots all over the United States can stay online for years! And, as you know, these are publicly accessible to anyone Googling your name. The only way mugshots “disappear” from the web is to have them purposely removed. This applies especially to private mugshot websites.
Yes, there are online mugshot removal services that offer to contact all the websites that have your Texas mugshot posted to have them removed altogether.
Posting criminal records, mugshots, and other negative information that can ruin a person’s reputation has become a big business. Across the nation, victims are bilked out of thousands of dollars to remove old mugshots from the internet.
Then you must consider the reputable companies that serve a need by gathering and making available arrest records, mugshots, and court records. For instance, during a court case, you may need the details of an offender. In these cases, public records can help victims locate, identify, and prosecute their assailants.
Contact a mugshot removal service like EraseMugshots.com. We are experts on removing Google results that expose mugshots that should’ve been deleted or not even posted in the first place. We can find arrest records and mugshots and keep them from ever appearing online in the future.
Contact our removal team to learn more about our complete mugshot removal services.