Do I Need a Mugshot Removal Lawyer?

February 18, 2021

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Need a mugshot removal lawyer to remove those embarrassing images? We show you when it’s time to hire a pro.

 

Someone sends you an email with “Click the link!” in the subject line. You click on the link, expecting a cat video or something about a hobby you enjoy.

 

But instead, you get one of your worst memories, back to life and in full color.

 

This link brings you to a website with your name scrawled across the top and bottom. Like it or not, it’s your mugshot.

 

But, that’s only the start.

 

Beneath your name and the mugshot is a list of crimes you were arrested for. There’s even some personal information about you, including your age, weight and location.

 

Understandably, you’re distraught. Your first impulse may even be to throw your computer or phone across the room. After all, having your arrest record and name online for anyone to see is no small thing.

 

Especially if the court dismissed the charges or found you not guilty of the crime.

 

Unfortunately, removing your mugshot and arrest record is a lot harder than posting them live.

 

Learn how a mugshot removal lawyer can help you remove those undesired images for good.

 

Can a Lawyer Take Down the Whole Mugshot Website?

The mugshot website industry is online only. It really took off in 1996, when a judicial move made it legal for anyone to make FOIA requests for city, county, and state arrest records.

 

Initially, mugshot sites operated in their own sort of wild, wild west, collecting all the records they could and posting them online. They would then monetize these websites with ads that allowed webmasters to make money whenever anyone visited their site.

 

But ads were just one way mugshot sites pulled in the dough. They soon started something even more notorious. Mugshot website owners began charging ransom fees, forcing people to pay to remove their mugshot photos and information from the site.

 

Sometimes, these fees were a few hundred dollars. Other times, they numbered in the thousands. But in reality, webmasters could charge whatever they wanted. Or, more clearly, they could ask for as much as someone was willing to pay to scrub their records from the web.

 

But was all this legal?

Initially, there was nothing really illegal about the mugshot scam. But that doesn’t mean people didn’t try. Many hired a mugshot removal lawyer to come to their defense.

 

A few years later, state legislatures began to catch up. New laws were passed to regulate the industry and stop some of its worst practices. In 2018, a mugshot removal lawyer team influenced the arrest of two of the owners of the most infamous mugshot website, mugshots.com. Charges included extortion, money laundering, and identity theft.

 

In most states these days, charging a fee for removing a mugshot is illegal. Still, most still allow the display of public arrest records. What’s more: most require individuals to take the necessary actions to remove their information online.

 

Hiring a mugshot removal lawyer is one such removal method.

 

Can an Attorney Remove My Information from a Mugshot Website?

If your mugshot and arrest record are posted on a mugshot website, the best way to remove them quickly is to get your charges dismissed. If the court dismissed those charges or found you not guilty, then a mugshot removal lawyer can help. Every mugshot website must remove arrest information when either situation is true.

 

But what if the court found you not guilty? In that case, an experienced mugshot removal lawyer may be able to expunge or seal your record.

 

Understanding Expungement and Case Sealing

When a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offense, law enforcement agency either creates a criminal record or adds to an existing record. This criminal record is publicly visible, no matter if the court dismisses your case or finds you not guilty.

 

So, even if one mugshot website removes your mugshot and arrest information, another website may still find and post it (thanks to an FOIA request). In other words, you might have to repeat the removal process on a regular basis.

 

Fortunately, there is a more permanent alternative: hiring a mugshot removal lawyer to expunge or seal your records.

 

Expungement

Expunging your records means erasing convictions from your criminal record. This makes it impossible for a web administrator or mugshot site web administrator to find that info. This is true even when someone submits an FOIA. Generally, a person must have a conviction to request an expungement.

 

Case sealing 

Sealing a case means hiding your arrest records from the general public (certain law enforcement groups may be able to see them on a limited basis). In most states, it is illegal for law enforcement to hand over information in a sealed case to anyone with a mugshot website or similar publication. A person convicted of a crime may get their case sealed.

 

If you have multiple arrests or charges, even arrests or charges in separate counties, a mugshot removal lawyer may be able to help. An experienced attorney will approach each county record separately and submit the appropriate paperwork.

 

In other words, each expungement must be handled separately.

 

Who Qualifies for Expungement or Case Sealing

Before hiring a mugshot removal lawyer to seal or expunge your case, learn if the process is worthwhile. After all, not all arrest records are eligible.

 

Most importantly, only people with convictions may expunge their records. Your eligibility for expungement depends on:

 

  • The type of crime you were arrested or charged with. Generally, any arrest and conviction for violent and/or sexual offenses cannot be sealed.
  • The length of time following the case. Mugshot removal lawyers can apply for expungement in 120 days. This is only available when the case was either stricken off with leave to reinstate or non-suit. In other cases, a two-to-five-year wait is required before you qualify. For case sealing, most situations require a minimum of two to four years after your last conviction before you’re eligible.

Can a Mugshot Removal Lawyer Remove My Mugshots for Free?

In some cases, yes. If your mugshot turns up online, call a mugshot removal lawyer first. An attorney will submit a request for removal relatively quickly. If your case is dismissed, expunged, or sealed, the mugshot site has no choice. How fast that happens depends on the state.

 

For example, webmasters have ten days after receipt of the request to remove Florida mugshots. They have thirty days to remove mugshots for arrests made in South Carolina.

 

If you didn’t expunge your records, you may still request information removal. And if the webmaster demands payment in exchange for removal, you may involve law enforcement.

 

What’s more: If they don’t demand payment but still refuse to remove your information, a mugshot removal lawyer can accelerate the process on your behalf. In this case, you may remove your mugshot and information – and get paid damages – at once.

 

Find your information online? Reach out for help today. A mugshot removal lawyer puts control of your information and reputation in your hands.

 

Don’t wait! Contact a Mugshot Removal Specialist today.

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