Are All Mugshots Public Record?
Are you wondering why all mugshots are public record? The simple fact of the matter is because our government shows great transparency when it comes to the criminal history of individuals.
In the past, you would like to physically visit a local county courthouse in order to obtain legal documents such as a mugshot, arrest record or criminal background report. However, in 2019, it has become all too easy.
Virtually anyone with $10 and an internet connection can locate your home address, phone numbers, email address and lots of other personal pieces of information.
However when it comes to mugshots, thanks to the infamous websites such as BustedMugshots or Mugshots.com it has become too easy to locate another person’s mugshot online.
All you have to do is Google their name.
Let’s dive into the background behind how this occurred and where your personal information might be hiding on the dark web.
Quick, Private & Effective
What is Considered Public Record?
All court documents, from government cases to estate deeds, are usually public records. These are registered with or preserved by a governmental office and accessible for examination by residents in the local community.
For example, if you’re intrigued in purchasing a new home, you can gather the previous owner’s name. You can do this by exploring the county’s land reports at your district registrar or division clerk’s building, most of the time these can be found online considering these documents are public records.
Nevertheless, specific documents or data may be redacted from the public eye because it adheres to the privacy or confidentiality exemption clauses within a particular state or specific federal law.
Freedom of Information Act
Dating back to 1966, the FOIA, otherwise known as the Freedom of Information Act came into fruition. FOIA provides you with the freedom to legally collect public records from within a federal agency. This would even include the U.S. Department of State.
Despite whether the public record was generated by the bureau or directly collected by them. In order to obtain this data, you must send them a signed application or request, directed towards the most fitting agency.
Furthermore, you must describe the data you want to obtain with great detail. Truth be told, there is no special form. All you have to do is ask.
Under FOIA, you can inquire about any public records conceived or acquired by that specific agency. You may additionally be asked to pay a fee, although this is rare.
Exclusions From FOIA
Your freedom to collect reports under FOIA is not without boundaries.
Documents may be excluded from public records under special conditions.
For example, because it would end in an undesirable intrusion of another individual’s privacy or is associated with a subject of national security.
How To Obtain Public Records
Commonly, a public record is a report registered with any particular city, county, state or federal government office. In layman’s terms, public records are simply documents and official reports that anyone can access.
Although public records are typically records. These records can include anything from maps to recordings, to films, to photographs, to tapes, to software, to letters, and books and so on.
Court records are a popular illustration of public records. For instance, if you discovered that your next-door neighbor Max was convicted for a violent domestic charge a few years ago, you can inquire for a copy of the public records to learn more about the event. In some cases, these findings can only be observed or collected online.
Florida and Maryland permit the general public to search for the following within their database:
- & Traffic Records
You can hunt for a person’s name, case number or home address.
Moreso, you can even obtain copies of transcripts from that person’s hearing and trial (Florida only). Additionally, you can scour the internet for bankruptcy matters using the national database called PACER.
Why Are Mugshots Public Record Before the Verdict is Given
Mugshots can assist others when they are trying to find people who have been absconded. In opposition, mugshots can warn the local area for when an individual has been released and if they are dangerous. So there is a good reason to share some mugshots.
Our judicial system expects transparency by the federal constitution. Any attempt to hold mugshots privately would end in lawsuits by those affected.
Nevertheless, back in in 2016, a federal court ordered that federal mugshots are no longer regularly and as accessible under the federal FOIA. However, this did not change much.
This is somewhat the perception of the harm that mugshots can create when online. The court clearly states websites that put mugshots online, in its analysis. Mugshots.com being one of the leading mugshot publication websites was included on that list.
Some states have enacted legislation in order to limit the number of released mugshots prior to a conviction. One of these states today is New Jersey.
The entire idea of public records is to bypass the government from collecting money from people. Also to restrict abusing their power.
It was understood that making records public would better protect individuals. As it certainly does when you have a secretive government.
However, it also may still create harm in the digital era we are experiencing today. The internet goes both ways, people want to be able to locate whatever information they want. But when the information makes them look bad there is an uproar, total catch-22.
As citizens of the United States, we have the freedom to identify problems and freedom of expression.
However, when others are legally allowed to show the negative past of others it carries irreparable damage onto another’s. Especially for those individuals who have not been convicted of a crime.
Removing Criminal Documents From Public Records
Mugshot posts normally begin to surface online after roughly two weeks after the arrest. Approaching these mugshot publications immediately provides you with leverage while working to remove criminal documents from public records
Throughout advanced background checks, it is possible that your criminal history will reveal itself. Websites such as WhitePages or Spokeo reveal everything from your name, criminal history, relatives, home addresses, etc.
Removing online mugshots and public records are what EraseMugshots concentrates on and has for the past decade. Our mugshot removal team will notify all search results immediately following the successful removal of your public records.
After about one week, Google will refresh its search results to display any alterations online.
Read more about how to remove your mugshots and arrest records in Florida.
Why Choose EraseMugshots
There are many reasons why people should want to have your background report restored to its former glory and cleaned up.
If you would like to learn more about how you can work to remove public records such as mugshots online, please fill out the form below and we will contact you as soon as we can.