No matter the charges, every inmate that gets booked into jail has their mugshot taken for public records. These public records can then be on the internet in a matter of hours or days. The instant uploading of an inmate's mugshot means that anyone can access this picture almost instantly after being booked. Even if an inmate is never convicted of a crime, the mugshot may stay on internet sites.
A lot of inmates worry about their mugshots being shared online, as it can affect their employment prospects and other future endeavors. How can an inmate remove their mugshot from public records? There are a couple of ways to go about the removal. We'll discuss why inmates should consider removing mugshots from public records, as well as the process inmates need to go through to remove them.
There have been many for-profit websites that publish mugshots popping up in recent years. These websites make a profit from publishing mugshots online. Though there aren't any federal laws in place limiting these types of websites, some states have started to enact laws that limit what these sites can publish or charge. For example, the state of New York no longer publishes mugshots or other booking information about inmates for the general public.
However, in states where there are no laws prohibiting the publishing of booking information, websites can keep mugshots available for public consumption. Often, these sites charge a fee for taking down the photo. If an inmate wants their mugshot and booking information private, they'll have to jump through some hoops to get it taken down.
The Negative Effects of Mugshots Available in Public Records
There are many reasons why someone with a mugshot wouldn't want the photo easily accessible on the internet. For starters, people can make quick judgments or assumptions based on the booking information regardless of whether the inmate has been convicted of a crime. This easily accessible information could also harm an inmate's future career and job prospects. With these websites, a quick Google search can reveal a former inmate's mugshot, which can have a negative impact on people trying to move past their arrest.
The Process for Removing Mugshots From Public Records
The process for removing mugshots may be long or expensive. If you want to remove your mugshot completely from public records, you'll need to go through the process of expungement. However, for inmates that can't get an expunged record, there are ways of removing mugshots from popular websites, though this process often costs money.
Removing Your Mugshot From Public Records
One of the first things you should consider if you want to remove your mugshots from the public eye is expungement. Though this is a long and complicated process, it may be worth the effort. With expungement, the records of your arrest (booking information, mugshots, etc.) will be sealed. Though this process doesn't entirely destroy a former inmate's records, they are kept out of public view. Law enforcement agencies and public officials may still have access to expunged criminal records.
How do you get your record expunged? For people looking to have their records sealed, they'll need to petition the court for expungement. If the petition is successful, they'll be able to remove inmate mugshots from public records.
However, this process is somewhat time-consuming and challenging. If someone wants to get their criminal record expunged, their crimes must fit certain criteria. For example, for a crime to be expunged, the charges must be non-violent. In general, the crimes likely to get expunged will be minor offenses. Additionally, there may be a necessary waiting period. For a conviction to get expunged, a specific time period must pass in which the person has not been convicted of more crimes.
Removing Your Mugshot off of the Internet
For some people, getting their records expunged is not an option. Whether it's the nature of the criminal charges or the fact that not enough time has passed since being charged, expungement is not always the right route for everyone. Luckily, there are other ways to try to remove your mugshot from public websites.
If you're willing to spend a bit of money, you might want to try paying a mugshot removal company. With this method, they'll attempt to remove all information from popular websites. However, this method isn't foolproof, and your mugshot could end up on another website anyway.
You could also try contacting a website directly. The owner of the website may decide to take the photo or booking information down. However, with this method, you'll need to contact every website individually, which can be time-consuming. Oftentimes, websites may request money to take down inmate mugshots.
If other methods of removing inmate mugshots aren't working, then you may want to request that Google remove the image from search results. However, it's important to note that going with this method often yields unsuccessful results. Google has strict image removal policies and may not be able to complete your request. It's also important to remember that this method only removes the mugshot from search results, not the websites themselves.
Removing inmate mugshots from the internet can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. But for inmates who are facing housing and job discrimination based on their public records, finding ways to remove a mugshot from websites may be the only way to move forward. For those who have been convicted of a minor offense in the past, expungement may be the right option, as it will seal the public record. If you're looking for more information about inmates or specific jails, try using our search function to find the facts you need.