An online mugshot can severely curtail your business ambitions
Most companies perform background checks and the results of your Google search could prevent you from getting a job you are otherwise qualified for.
This is a problem that 50% of all US adults suffer from. They don’t have a positive online reputation. And a reason for this is mugshots and online arrest records.
So is it legal for a website to post your mugshot online?
The Legality of Posting Mugshots Online
The majority of law enforcement divisions will post your mugshot and arrest record online. This is a matter of public record and can be legally accessible by anyone. Even if the law enforcement agency in question doesn’t have a policy of publicizing mugshots, anyone can submit a request and get that picture.
But what about websites reposting these mugshots?
That is perfectly legal because they are not posting private information. They’re republishing a public record that anyone can access.
This is protected by the Constitution under the First Amendment, which gives people the right to freedom of speech. So it’s impossible to use a legal argument to have a mugshot removed.
What about Sites that Charge People to Remove their Mugshots?
The online industry has grown up in recent years. Sites will post your mugshot online and you will have to pay them to remove that mugshot. Most people assume that this is blackmail and you can sue them for that.
Again, the truth might shock you.
If you have compromising information on someone and you demand money to not publicize it, this is blackmail. But in this case, the act has already happened, so there’s no case of blackmail if they charge you to remove the information.
It’s why this is a protected industry and most people don’t have any legal recourse.
To this day, there have been no successful prosecutions in this field. The Constitution protects this freedom to post mugshots under freedom of speech laws.
So What Can You Do about It?
Now that we know that anyone is able to publish public records, you now need to know what to do about it.
Some reputation management services are able to work with these websites to have arrest records and mugshots removed on behalf of their clients.
You can also have your record expunged from the public eye to prevent any further proliferation of your mugshot. However, the best option is to have the result suppressed.
That is the art of reputation management. It’s about burying the bad results with good results. It means making yourself into a brand and making those difficult pieces of material impossible to find.
Remember that reporting on someone’s arrest with a mugshot is not slanderous because it’s factual. It happened and you can’t sue someone for slander if they’re reporting on a fact, such as your conviction for a crime.
Last Word – Removing Your Mugshot Online
There’s no legal case for removing a mugshot. These websites are well within their rights to repost public records. That’s why you need a comprehensive reputation management service to protect your image by burying these bad results.
Do you have a mugshot you need to get rid of?