After getting arrested for a crime, one of the first things to happen is that the police will take a mugshot. This will happen no matter what the circumstances of the situation are, and it almost immediately becomes available for the general public to find. Many people do not know that mugshots stay publicly available forever, no matter if the person was guilty, innocent, or the charges got dropped. The below will be going over methods of removing a mugshot from a Google search.
Why Remove a Mugshot?
Being arrested is bad enough to have to go through, but having a mugshot online can be very damaging to you. Without a removal request, they may remain on the internet indefinitely, even if your records get sealed or expunged.
If a potential employer of yours is conducting a background check before offering you a job, they could easily find a mugshot online. This could cost you the job, especially if the employer does not bother asking you about the circumstances or the outcome of the arrest.
Another reason to remove a mugshot is that it could harm any future relationships of yours. This is especially the case for online dating, as many partners will search each other on the internet before agreeing to meet in person. The other person finding your old mugshot may result in a lost opportunity for love.
Remove the Mugshot Yourself
The first thing you might try is removing the mugshot from the internet yourself. Run a Google search on yourself and make a note of all the websites that are showing your mugshot. Then, reach out to all the websites and find out what criteria you have to meet for them to remove the shot.
They may require that you get your criminal record expunged before they will comply with your request. In this case, you will need to start the legal process to get an expungement for the crime, permanently clearing your record. This is usually a lengthy and expensive process. Then you would send a copy of the legal order to the website for their consideration. They are not obligated to remove the photo, but this will improve your chances that they will.
Talk to a Third-Party Removal Service
Certain companies will remove your mugshot from the internet in exchange for a fee. What these companies do is contact the mugshot websites on your behalf. They will continually follow up looking for results, saving you the hassle of doing it yourself.
Pay close attention to what company you go with if you choose to hire a removal service. Their contract may only guarantee removing the mugshot from one website, and not the rest of them. In general, the services are fairly effective, but they may run into difficulties preventing them from completing the removal.
Consult a Lawyer
You may already have a lawyer that you worked with previously. If not, now might be a good time to retain one. Lawyers can confidentially work with you to remove your mugshots from the internet. Typically, they will write up a demand letter and explain the personal difficulties that the situation is having on you, including concrete proof of their rationale. The letter will also outline the consequences that the website may face by ignoring the request. These consequences usually involve heavy fines.
Most law offices offer free consultations in which you can explain your case, and they can come up with a plan of attack. Many are flexible in terms of meeting in person, through video calls, or over the phone. After that, they may require a retainer upfront if you decide to work together.
Contact the Search Engine
Your next option would be contacting the search engine where you noticed your mugshots appearing in search results. If they have a legal reason, the search engine can suppress results when people attempt to find your mugshot online. You will need to demonstrate that having your mugshot online is potentially putting you at risk or is directly harmful to you.