If you have ever been arrested you have probably come across your mugshot on Google. What many people don’t realize is that your online arrest record can have a lasting impact on your life.
Every year, thousands of individuals are wrongfully arrested or their charges were dropped immediately, yet they still struggle with seeing their dreaded mugshots within the search results. Forget about finding a better job, buying a new home, or if you’re single, even landing a decent date scene is hard to come by.
In response, everyone turns to Google for answers but don’t know where to look. Fortunately for you, you have come to the right place. Our job is to make sure to remove your arrest record from the internet, giving you the second chance you deserve.
Before we dive into how to remove arrest records online, let’s talk about why your mugshot is appearing on Google in the first place.
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Why Arrest Records Exist Online
Unfortunately, mugshots are considered public information in the eyes of the United States government. This means anyone can easily access your arrest records and mugshot or booking information in just a few clicks.
In the past, mugshots were not as readily available as individuals would have to call or visit the county office and ask in-person for a copy of a particular person’s criminal history. These requests were typically made for employment purposes as well as housing agreements (i.e. renting or purchasing a new home, most require a background check).
In the early 2000s, we started to see the emergence of more and more “mugshot publishing websites” such as Mugshots.com, Arrests.org, and Rapsheets.org. This is when individuals just like you or I would appear if we had been arrested in the past.
All of a sudden, criminal records from decades ago were starting to resurface, hindering employment, housing, and relationship opportunities for millions of individuals. Most of which had their charges dropped, dismissed, expunged, or sealed from the county records.
Freedom of Information Act (1966) | Remove Online Information
Today, mugshot websites such as Mugshots.com are sadly protected by the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) as long as they do not solicit and demand that individuals pay a fee to remove online information and their mugshot they were within the legal guidelines and able to freely display millions of arrest records to the public.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) generally grants that any person has the right to inquire access to federal agency documents or data, except to the degree the records are shielded from exposure by any of nine exemptions contained in the bill or by one of three special law enforcement record omissions.
As you could imagine, a few years into the birth of the mugshot publication industry started several “corrupted” websites that would publish public mugshots and demand that person pay them or the content (their arrest record) would remain on Google, Bing, and Yahoo infinitely.
To make matters worse, many local police stations are actively publishing arrest records and mugshots with no option of having it removed. The only way to successfully remove online information, especially your arrest record from the county office would be to file for an expungement.
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By definition, an expungement is a court-ordered process where legal records referencing an arrest record or a criminal conviction is “sealed” from the general public. After being granted an expungement your arrest records are essentially hidden from the public eye and “set-aside”.
Here at Erase Mugshots, we have worked to combat these pesky mugshot publishers with the use of our powerful legal partners through means of takedown notices, defamation lawsuits, and other various denial-of-service tactics.
Let’s help you remove arrest records online as well as remove online information.
Here Are the 9 Exemptions in the Act:
- Protects information that is correctly identified in the matter of national security compatible with Administrative Order 12958.
- Protects records related only to the internal organization laws and practices of an agency.
- Protects information exempted from discharge by law.
- Protects trade mysteries and business or financial data which could harm the competitive aspect or business interests of an organization.
- Protects the honor of the deliberative or policy-making rules within the business by releasing from necessary disclosure opinion, results, and references included within inter-agency or intra-agency records or reports.
- Protects information that would establish a clearly unfair invasion of individual privacy of the individuals affected.
- Protects records or information collected for law enforcement purposes the release of which could reasonably be demanded.
- Protects information that is included in or related to review, operating, or status reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of a company responsible for the management or guidance of financial organizations.
Protects geological and geophysical knowledge and data, including maps, concerning origins.
Finding Mugshots In Google Images
If you have not already come across your arrest records or mugshot on sites such as Google. Try searching your name in various ways.
One of the best and easiest ways to locate your mugshot and arrest record information online is by typing in the following. *For the purpose of this example please switch your full name where we use ‘John Doe’.
After visiting Google, there is a single search bar where you are free to search for anything you desire. You do not have to go in order however here are some of the most popular ways we find arrest records on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
*Use quotation marks when searching, this tells Google you want these words to be included in the results and to exclude/filter out any unwanted websites*
- “John Doe” arrest
- “John A. Doe” arrest
- “John Doe Florida” arrest
- “John Doe Sarasota Florida”
- “John Doe” mugshot
- “John Doe” arrested
- … there are endless options, however, you get the point
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How to Remove Your Arrest Records: Detailed Guide
Let’s get started.
After you have successfully located your mugshot, be sure that you are searching many variations of your name as it is likely your arrest record has been published on multiple mugshot publishing sites.
Here are a few to search directly if you are still unsure:
Step 1: Read Mugshot Website’s Policy Guidelines
Many sites will offer a free removal or case update if your charges have been dropped, dismissed, or expunged. If this is you, a simple email to the webmaster should get your mugshot off their website. Download this free extension, Hunter.io (click here to download Chrome extension), this tool will automatically show you any available email addresses where you can contact or submit your removal request.
Step 2: Contact Website Owner
After utilizing the tools given above to find more contact information about the owner of a particular website. Reach out to them to seek all possible removal options. This process may take time so stay persistent until you get the answers you want. However, it is important that you remain calm through all lines of communication and do not come off as threatening or rude.
Send a polite email requesting them to remove online information about you. Do not threaten or demand that your mugshot and booking information must be removed. Remember, these websites are under no legal obligation to remove your arrest records online so sending an angry email will most likely find its way to their trash folder, quickly.
Most of the time if your arrest is older than 5-10 years your chances are much greater of having them comply with your request.
Step 3: Create Various Social Media Accounts
Unless you are a celebrity or an executive for a Fortune 500 company the odds are that your web presence is subpar or non-existent.
Nearly 50% of US adults who Google themselves say the results aren’t positive
To further assist your efforts in removing arrest records online it is wise to create various social media accounts in efforts to “flood” Google’s search results. This can be easily accomplished by uploading pictures of yourself to Facebook, Tumblr, Crunchbase and many other social platforms that rank favorably amongst the search results.
Here is a list of our top 10 do-follow social media platforms we highly recommend you create these now to get rid of your arrest records on the first page of Google.
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Step 4: Monitor Your Search Results
After a few weeks (possibly a few months) you will start to see your search results shift for your name.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that when you are attempting to alter or suppress search results is that, it takes time.
Do not expect to create social sites and have them outrank your mugshot in a few days. Google does its best to recrawl search results in order to give the best user experience as possible.
Tip: Do not click on the mugshots within Google. When you do this you are telling Google that you are “interested” in that content which can cause it to potentially rank higher.
We advise that you Google your name from various devices in different locations (on Wi-Fi) throughout each day and click on the new content you created. Over time this will alert Google that there are more important things online about you instead of your dreaded mugshot.
By monitoring your results you are also able to quickly pinpoint any new negative mugshot publication so you can address them accordingly.
Visit Google Alerts and add your name in all of the various ways you used to search in the section titled “Finding Mugshots In Google Images”. This free tool will automatically send your email alerts and notifications when a new article is posted online referencing your name or arrest record. (Read more on how to properly use Google Alerts here)
Conclusion: Remove Arrest Records Online & Remove Online Information
By now we have covered why your mugshot is online, steps you can take to remove arrest records online, and how to actively monitor your search results so this never happens again. Granted you are never arrested again.
Even if you do not purchase one of our award-winning removal solutions, our knowledge removal team can walk you through additional ways you can alter Google search results to be in your favor.
Mugshots are great to look at when it’s about a celebrity, however, make sure you know your options when and if this should unfortunately ever happen to you. The internet is a double-edged sword. You only have one shot at a first impression, don’t let old mugshots get in the way of you finding success.
What charges mugshots publication websites WON’T remove?
- Violent Domestic Abuse
- Sexual Offenses
- Contact us to see if you are eligible to remove arrest records online.
How long does it take for a website to remove your arrest record after making a removal request?
On average, if a website owner approved your request it can take anywhere from 2-5 business days for them to remove arrest records from their website.
Afterward, Google may take in a few days to a few weeks to make changes within their search results.