Are Expungements Effective? Not According to the Internet.

Why Expunging a Criminal Record is Useless

Last year there were over 10.5 million arrests in the United States. Most of these individuals are found not guilty or their charges are dismissed within minutes. However, even after been set free they have to deal with the backlash online.

 

That’s right, online mug shot publication websites are real and they don’t care about your expungement.

 

Depending on the location of the arrest an individual could potentially find themselves listed on dozens of privately owned websites.

 

So what is the point of expunging your record when it is plastered all over the internet for the world to see?

 

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Real Life Example:

John, a 45-year-old engineer living in the sunny state of Florida was having dinner with his family in their new home they recently purchased. When all of a sudden John hears a stern knock on his front door.

 

To his surprise, there were two police officers standing there with their hands on their holsters. John initiates the conversation after being shocked at what he saw, John has never been in trouble before. A matter of fact, he was an honor roll student and graduated Suma Comlaude from USF.

 

The officers were not as shocked, they began to question John about his whereabouts that day and why he never showed up to his hearing.

 

John has baffled. What hearing? He was not aware of a court date or anything related to this matter.

 

Within minutes the police began to escort John to their squad car and then to the station. Once there, he was handcuffed, fingerprinted and had a mug shot taken.

 

John sat in a holding cell for 4 days until there was an available time for him to appear in front of a judge. Once in the courtroom, the judge informed him that the warrant was granted due to unpaid tickets.

 

Here’s the kicker. The summons was mistakenly sent to his previous address. John honestly had no clue where to begin. He begged the judge for forgiven and how it was an honest mistake.

 

The Judge was quick to dismiss the case after hearing about the mishap with delivering the mail to the incorrect location. John’s charges were dismissed however, he now has an arrest on his record due to this nonsense.

 

At the end of the hearing, the Judge granted John an application for expunging this charge. An expungement, in layman’s terms, is the act of permanently removing a charge from an individual’s criminal history or background check. 16-weeks later John’s expungement was approved and mailed to his new address.

 

During the 4 days, John spent in that holding cell his charges were “public information”. This means that all those mugshot websites as previously stated had already collected his arrest information and posted online for the world to see. Most websites automatically scrape recent arrests every 48-hours. So regardless of the legal outcome, John was guilty in the public eye.

 

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John’s case was expunged and thrown out of court. However, the internet tells a different story.

 

In 2019, it is extremely easy to file an application for either expungement or sealing criminal records. Everyday individuals are acquitted of their past judgments but still trapped in the never-ending vortex of the “dark web”. Seeing their mugshot on Google, Bing, or Yahoo even after everything was thrown out of court.

 

In order for an expungement to truly relieve someone of past discretions, everybody must abide by it. Unfortunately, many mugshot website owners have found a loophole in the system.

 

As long as the information was published prior to the expungement being finalized they are not legally obligated to remove the information. (depending on the state where the arrest occurred)

 

Consequently, John not only lost his job over his coworkers and boss hearing about the incident but it also lost him some friends along the way. As nonviolent and minor as his crimes were, individuals tend to feel a certain way after seeing a mugshot on the internet.

 

This is when John took it upon himself to seek a solution for his misfortune. To his surprise (he had never looked himself up before) his mug shot and personal information was appearing 6 times on the first page of Google.

 

John assumed the only place to locate a mugshot would be at the courthouse or sheriff’s website if that existed.

 

“I have never been so embarrassed in my entire life, all of this over a few unpaid tickets! My life is ruined.” John explains, “It should have never reached this point, I have tried contacting the local and state authorities but they all tell me the same thing… my hands are tied”.

 

This is when John’s creative juices started flowing, he was a smart guy and know if nobody else was going to help him he was going to have to take matters into his own hands.

 

With having the knowledge of how the internet works after working as an engineer for decades, John visited a website to help uncover the owners of these mugshot publication websites. He started with a simple WHOIS search from a website called ICANN. Tools such as these will uncover any names, phone numbers and email addresses if the website it registered publicly.

 

To John’s surprise, all of the domains were registered privately, go figure. He sent various messages to the proxy email addresses given within the WHOIS report but his messages went unanswered.

 

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expungement

 

John was stomped, no clue of where to go next. That was until he was surfing the internet one day and came across the term “online reputation management”. This is a practice of helping individuals reclaim a positive web presence by removing exactly what he needed, his mugshots.

 

Although John’s case was dismissed he was having a hard time finding a new job as most employers passed on him after hearing about his little incident. As minor as John’s charges were, comparing an individual who was arrested next to someone who wasn’t is no contest.

 

John’s problem is worsening each day. As more websites are created, his arrest information is constantly spreading onto more and more sites.

 

Finally after 6 months of suffering from this negative information online John decides to test out a few companies to see how they can assist. To his surprise, most of the companies would require money upfront with no guarantee of successful removal. John managed to remove three out of the six photos by submitting his expungement paperwork but the other three websites would still not comply.

 

On his last attempt before giving up John simply went to Google and typed in “erase mugshots”. Luckily for John, EraseMugshots.com appeared as the first result and he figured he would try one last company.

 

There was one slight difference, EraseMugshots offered a guarantee! Could this be John’s saving grace in order to regain control of his online reputation?

 

After a brief phone call with Joe a Senior Reputation Analyst he was quoted $1,299 to remove the remaining links. John was given a detailed statement of work that guaranteed not only the work today but if anything should resurface there was no additional fee.

Within the next 72-hours, all of John’s mugshots were removed. In fact, EraseMugshots even went the extra mile by removing his personal information from 45+ background websites or data aggregate sites.

 

Now the only thing appearing online for John is his Facebook, a few old pictures from college and miscellaneous results of other individuals with the same name as him.

 

Finally, John has the chance to reintegrate himself into the workforce. He was hired by a large IT firm roughly 2-weeks later thanks to the disappearance of his criminal record online. And all of this thanks to a few unpaid tickets.

 

You would be surprised at the amount of information that is housed on the world wide web. As harmful as an arrest is in the first place, having your charges expunged and still seeing your mugshot online is a nightmare, to say the least.

 

If you or someone you know is currently struggling to remove negative information online, especially arrest records and mugshot photos please contact us via the form below. One of our knowledgable reputation analysts will reach out to you in a few hours with a detailed plan on how EraseMugshots can remove your criminal history.

 

Get the peace of mind you deserve, put your past behind you, for good.

 

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The Difference Between Expungement and Sealing

What’s the Difference Between Expungement and Sealing

Expungement and sealing records are often confused as meaning the same thing. Most states receive numerous requests every year for both.

 

For example, in the state of Illinois 7,601 records were successfully expunged in 2016, and 6,660 records were sealed.

 

But it’s important to be aware of what they mean so you can make an informed decision on the best option for you.

 

Expungement vs Sealing

Expungement is the complete deletion of records from the database of the court. In other words, it’s like the offense never happened in a legal sense.

 

Previously, expungement was a fresh start. Unfortunately, the cyber age has changed that, which we’ll discuss in the following sections.

 

Sealing one’s records is an automatic process for juveniles in many states. When the juvenile turns 18 the records are sealed. However, the records are never deleted. They can be still reopened if a court order is presented.

 

That isn’t possible if a conviction has been expunged from the records.

 

Why Expungement has Changed in the Digital Age

Expungement is a procedure well worth using so that nobody can find your name in the public records any longer. However, there are still problems with expungement because of the way the Internet works.

 

What it doesn’t cover are mentions of the record online. For example, if the story in question was published on a local news site or on social media the expungement doesn’t force the original author to take anything down.

 

So, a juvenile criminal could still have their story published online, despite expungement removing their name from the public records or even if their records are sealed once they become an adult.

 

Furthermore, private background check companies regularly download court records, so if they have your court record before it was expunged it hasn’t disappeared from the public view.

 

Should You Seal Your Records?

You may live in a state where the sealing of records isn’t automatic. In this case, you may be wondering whether you should have the records sealed or expunged.

 

In all cases, it’s best to have your records expunged. Sometimes your request may be rejected. For example, maybe not enough time has passed in the eyes of the court.

 

However, if your criminal record is from your juvenile years once you become an adult you should have no problem submitting a request.  It’s the initial step on the way towards expungement.

 

Expungement is generally harder to obtain, so a lawyer may suggest sealing the records instead.

 

It all depends on the specific situation because every offense is different. Legal outcomes get confusing when sites are reporting conflicting information.

 

Last Word – Know the Difference

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that expungement is just a fancy way of talking about sealing one’s records. It is the deletion order of the record, so in the eyes of the court, it never happened. Sealing the records doesn’t delete the records but they’re not accessible to the general public.

 

But keep in mind that it is limited to what it covers in the digital age.

 

If you are struggling to remove your mugshot from mug shot websites please contact us today!

 

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Expunction Does Not Mean You are in the Clear

An Expunction of a Criminal Record

Expunctions often seem like the silver bullet you need to erase a criminal record from the public record. With almost a third of adults being arrested by the age of 23,a lot of people are finding it hard to find a job and to rent a home.

 

The expungement process is quite a simple thing to understand. It means that your criminal records are no longer accessible to the public via the courts.

 

But expunction doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

 

What Does Expunction Actually Cover?

Once you have had your criminal record successfully expunged, nobody can go to the courts and find out that you have received a conviction for the offense in question.

 

Previously, this meant that you were essentially completely clean and a background check would reveal no criminal convictions. The problem is that this process has failed to keep up with the digital age.

 

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It Doesn’t Cover Online Articles and Blogs

For example, you live in a small town and you got a misdemeanor a few years back. It naturally made a random local news page online. Years later you had that conviction expunged from your record.

 

The problem is that the local news page that originally published the story is under no obligation to remove their story or any of the details.

 

Someone performing a background check can simply look up the story and find out that you were convicted, despite the expunction.

 

Private Background Check Companies have a Way Around Expunction

It’s also true that expunction only determines the result of a background check in the future. Employers that enlist a private background check company to look up a prospective hire and still see that expunged record.

 

Why is this the case?

 

Court records are downloadable and these companies periodically download the latest records.  Performing a background check will uncover all personal pieces of information about someone.

 

What Can You Do About It?

In the cyber age, the role of the expunction is nowhere near as powerful as it once was. It doesn’t apply to people talking online or records that were downloaded before the expunction became active. That’s why you’re not in the clear just because you were successful.

 

So what can you do about it?

 

Most employers will appreciate the honesty and may still decide to not hold it against you.

 

Last Word – Is an Expungement Still Worth It?

The expungement is still worth it because it reduces the chances of any future damage by having your name appear in the records of the court.

Plus an expungement is far more respectable than having an active criminal record that anyone can access. But there’s no doubt that expungement still has its flaws.

Have you applied for an expungement of your criminal records?

An Expunction May Still Be Necessary

An Expunction May Still Be Necessary

Expunctions are the gateway to your freedom as most attorneys say. A criminal arrest record can be like the legal equivalent of a sickness.  It can cost you a job, a promotion at work, or countless other opportunities.  Expunctions ensure your mugshot is no longer public information.

 

Do not bother explaining the detailed on your dismissed case to the interviewer. Once they see your criminal record you lost. Costing you the job in the end. Curing your sickness is a great example of what an expunction does, works to leave no trace.

 

Your records will be destroyed once approved by a Judge.  Including records that reference the arrest. Remove court records, the district attorney’s file, and even transcripts of the trial are all examples of this.  People often refer to expunction as wiping their past clean.

 

This also means that the state’s agencies can’t give information about these arrests to private companies who gather criminal data for distribution for private background checks.

 

In some states, this allows for a person with an expunction to “deny the occurrence of the arrest…” in certain circumstances.  Furthermore, this varies state to state and you should know local laws.

 

What is unknown by most is qualifying for an expunction can be somewhat difficult.  Expunctions are simple and straightforward, they remove a case from your record. Even remove a mugshot that is actively displayed on Google.

 

Do Automatic Expunctions Exist?

Once barred you should receive an automatic expunction. Next, the prosecution can be barred where you are acquitted by a judge or jury, where the statute of limitations has expired and the case hasn’t been filed, or if the prosecution has been barred for some other reason.

 

In addition, a common misconception is that getting deferred adjudication ‘magically’ drops the criminal arrest record on its own for any offense.  Deferred only entitles you to an expunction for (most) class “C” misdemeanors in Texas.>

 

These are the lowest level of offense, which includes traffic tickets and petty offenses ranging from minor in possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and theft below $50 in value as examples. An Expunction may still be necessary even if a “C’ level charge as given.

 

Deferred adjudication for offenses from class “B” charges and above may allow you to apply for a petition for non-disclosure which generally limits who can know about your criminal case but is different from an expunction.

 

Remove your information from the various mug shot websites fast with the proper documentation.

 

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Expunction of Criminal Records

Furthermore, an expunction doesn’t happen on its own.  The judge must review the expungement request typically given from your lawyer. (Time-frame is about 1 year)

 

In conclusion, we are not a law firm so no information above should influence any legal decisions.  Please consult an attorney for questions regarding this subject matter.

Expunction Can’t Scrub Case From Internet

Expunction | Your Information May Still be at Risk

Expunged Record : Google Inc. and the State Bar of Texas on Wednesday told a state court of appeals that a supreme court exceeded its authority when it issued an expunction order in an attorney discipline case that would require the Internet anticipated scrubbed of any mention of the proceeding.
Jackson Walker LLP attorney Chip Babcock argued to a panel of the First District Court of Appeals that a Galveston County District Court’s order forcing Internet search engines to delete publicly available information about a disciplinary proceeding against Houston attorney Calvin C. Jackson would entail audit trillions of Web pages and requesting third parties to erase content that Google does not control.

Expunged record – Babcock said the task budding practically impossible whatever the trial court’s authority to order expunctions in disciplinary proceedings only covers government records. Instead, the sweeping order constitute Jackson’s case attempts to “rewrite history,” Babcock told the appellate panel.

“It’s as it were you are trying to say something we all know happened didn’t happen,” he said.

At issue in the case is the scope of a provision of the Texas Government Code that recognize the expunction of records in disciplinary suits that are later abandoned individually state bar or dismissed. In that instance, Government Code Section 81.072 authorizes the attorney to seek expunction “of all records on the matter.”

Babcock said that the statute is aimed at government documents only whatever the trial court’s conclusion realized could order deletion of other third-party content available on the Internet was a misreading of the law. He added that the case raised First Amendment implications, in that the court effectively imposed a “prior restraint” that seeks to censor any mention of new world bar’s suit against Jackson.

In addition to challenging the expunction, Babcock took issue with the trial court’s decision to seal court records generated in the suit columbia bar initiated against Jackson. Babcock said that sealing case under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 76A was inappropriate in light of the public’s interest in open judicial proceedings.

Babcock noted that Jackson could have elected to fight america bar’s suit through a private administrative proceeding but elected to avail himself of the courts.

“Mr. Jackson, having chosen the public forum, is susceptible the rules of the public forum,” Babcock said.

Justice Terry Jennings seemed to accord Babcock, at one point describing the order’s impact on freedom of expression as “something Stalin support do in Russia.”

Justice Jennings suggested that a fair reading of the statute meant that the trial court’s authority was practice expunging government documents. Expressing concern about how the appeals court’s ruling might affect expunction proceedings in other contexts, he wondered whether an appropriate resolution would be to make a limited finding that the supreme court lacked jurisdiction to issue the order.

Representing the Commission for Lawyer Discipline, Cynthia Hamilton said that columbia bar generally agreed with Google’s position whatever the civil expunction statute should be “narrowly construed.” Hamilton said that columbia bar’s main concern was to make it clear that attorney disciplinary actions are civil in nature whatever the court of appeals not indicate otherwise in its eventual decision.

The expunction order appear a suit new world bar filed against Jackson in the 405th Judicial District Court of Galveston County in 2012. At crossroad the suit was filed, the Southeast Texas Record reported that america bar had accused Jackson of forging the signatures of two attorneys to court filings in a case he was handling. Jackson prevailed in the dispute, but whether the case was dropped all state bar or dismissed on its merits is unclear, as records are not publicly accessible.

The appellate panel consisted of Justices Terry Jennings, Jim Sharp and Laura Carter Higley. (expunged record)

Jackson did not play the appeal. Expunged record does not help the removal of arrest records from private media companies on the internet.

Google is represented by Charles “Chip” Babcock and Richard A. Howell of Jackson Walker LLP.

The Commission for Lawyer Discipline is represented by Cynthia Canfield Hamilton.

The case is Google Inc. v. Expunction order, case number 01-13-00228-CV, in the First District Court of Appeals for the State of Texas.

Free Mugshot Removal Analysis

The first step of the removal process is to locate all publications online. This is a 30 minute process and is done at no charge to the client. After the analysis is completed we will provide you with a cost and removal timeline. Most removals are completed within 72 hours.

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