Not only are they embarrassing, but a mugshot is also downright dangerous when posted online. That’s because the public will instantly assume that the suspect shown was involved in criminal activity, regardless of whether they received a conviction or were acquitted.
Unfortunately, this also means unfair impressions are made, even for innocent people. In addition, these images can negatively impact a person’s personal life (like new relationships or friendships) or professional career (giving the impression of being a criminal).
If you happen to have children, it may demand explanations from them or a friend’s parents if discovered. Some websites may only have the photograph, but others may include all public information regarding the arrest. The searcher doesn’t even have to try to find a mugshot online; the first and last name will occasionally pull up the information.
Why are Mugshots Online?
Generally speaking, any records connected to an arrest is considered public information. That means most websites can post photos, along with criminal records online, without consent or permission. As they are public domain, they are freely accessible and traceable online.
Most mugshots fall into this category, despite some states having specific laws or regulations about photographs. You can still try to remove the negative image from Google; it just requires a bit of time and effort.
Method One: Contacting the Website Owner
If you happen to find a damaging image online, the easiest method of removal is asking nicely. First, copy the URL at the top of the website that contains your specific photo and document any relevant details attached to the image. After you’ve recorded the relevant information on your mugshot:
- Look for a contact us page with an email address or additional contact section.
- Include all the information you documented with your email, and ask for a follow-up when that’s finished.
- If you can’t find an email address or contact page, visit WHOIS for more detailed information about the domain owner.
Benefit: This method of removal is free, assuming the webmaster is willing to remove the record. If removed, it will no longer index by various search engines., deleting it from the internet when the site gets reindexed.
Method Two: Contacting Google Directly
Although it’s the most popular search engine, Google tends to be difficult to block or remove search results. This is exceptionally true when it comes to public photographs (mugshots fall under this category). The best method of removal with this method is explaining the direct harm, danger, or risk the photo poses online. Keep in mind, Google is only one search engine; the photograph may still turn up on other web results.
Benefit: Removing the mugshot using this method is entirely free, although tricky when it comes to public domains. Always be sure to approach the reason for removal from the point of safety.
Method Three: Have Your Record Expunged
This method only works for minor offenses (including minor drug crimes), non-violent, and non-sexual crimes. You’ll need to ensure that a specific amount of time has passed before asking for expungement, ensuring you have no other charges after that date. To have your file expunged, you would go before the court and ask for the arrest record to be sealed or removed. If granted, you can request the offending site take the image down. Some websites may require a court document or order to prove the record no longer exists before removing the photo.
Benefit: Once a record is deleted, it essentially means the charges no longer exist. Granting a pardon doesn’t happen for everyone, but it can help your chances of removing the damaging photos overall.
Follow Techdee for more!