Having your mug shot show up on the internet could affect your ability to get a job, form new relationships, and negatively hinder other areas of your life. What the public does not realize is that you could be arrested, but never charged with a crime. In some states like Florida, however, your mug shot could show up within hours and still be online for years, even if you are innocent.
Criminal records are big business, and some companies profit from posting negative information online, then charging you to take it down. The Washington Post reported in 2018 about a company called Mugshots.com that charged people $399 to remove their mugshots from the internet. During a three-year period, that company bilked $2.4 million from 5,703 victims. The three owners were arrested and sued. They have since changed their business model.
Thankfully, there are legal and safe ways to get your mugshots removed from the internet without being swindled.
How Long Does It Take for Mugshots to Appear Online
Arrest records are public records and can be obtained easily through legal and law enforcement channels. Depending on the state laws, all arrests may be legal fodder for anyone willing to troll the intake pipelines and scoop up new mugshots, arrest records, and police reports. There are dozens of reputable companies that compile this information making it easy to find someone or see a complete picture easily. However, there are other disreputable organizations like Mugshots.com who just want to profit from posting something awful about someone to get them to pay up to remove it.
How to Get Your Mugshots Removed from Mugshots.com
Since their legal troubles and arrests, Mugshots.com now offers free removal for anyone who can provide paperwork proving they were never charged with a crime or expungement documents showing their crimes are now sealed. There is a contact form on their website that you can use to do this.
Fill out the form with your name, address, phone number, email address, and a message about your issue. Don’t be aggressive; they don’t have any legal obligation to remove your mugshots, so try to be nice. Send an email to their legal address: Pictures@Mugshots.com and attach your legal documentation proving the dismissal of charges or expungement paperwork. Check back between 7-10 days, and your mugshots should be removed.
Remove Your Mugshots off the Entire Internet in 3 Steps
First, you will need to know who owns the websites. You can find this information by going to ICANN or WHOIS to look up the owner’s information. Then you should contact the owner of each site, explain the situation, and, if you can, provide documentation that you were never charged with a crime. Politely request that they remove the mugshot from their website. They may request a fee. It is up to you if you want to pay for it or not.
There are also online services that offer to contact all websites for you and have them removed altogether. These companies do charge a fee, and it’s not cheap. In some cases, you could be looking at $1,000-$5,000 easily to have it cleaned up. You always have the option of doing it yourself.
Here's How to Remove Your Mugshots Information Online for Free
To do this, you need to take a bunch of pictures of yourself and post them on various websites such as:
- Other photo-based websites
Be sure to caption each one with your name (exactly how it appears with your mugshot) to replace the content with fresher, more relevant content. Don’t forget about using alt tags (if you are posting within a WordPress site). Do this for a few months and it will work.
Another helpful tip is to start a WordPress blog and post to it a few times a week, using your name, and a photo. This will help to flood the internet with new information about you and push the old mugshots down further and further into obscurity, very quickly.
Removing Your Mugshot Information from Google
It is a pretty well-known fact that hardly anyone ever clicks beyond the first page of Google. So, if you type in your name and your mugshots come right up, then you could use a practice of replacement rather than removal to get rid of your mugshots. Basically, anything that is less “new” and less relevant will be pushed down further on Google in subsequent pages, and hardly anyone will ever see it.
It doesn’t take very long for Google to pick up the information, and your mugshot could potentially show up on the first page when someone searches for your name. That is why it is so important to get on top of it and remove it quickly.
Although Google is known for being difficult when it comes to content removal, if you stick with it and contact them repeatedly and explain the situation, they may remove your mugshots from the search results. Therefore, even if they stay on the websites, your mugshots will be hidden from the public view.
Are There Any Other Ways to Remove Mugshots Online?
There are a few other ways you can tackle the job of removing your mugshots from the web.
Hire a legal company to remove them for you. Some lawyers specialize in content removal and reputation repair. These legal representatives will take care of sending threatening letters to all the websites who have posted your picture and get them removed. If you don’t like negotiating, it might be better to have someone fight for you.
If the arrest and coordinating mugshots are legitimate and you were charged with a crime, you may have the option of applying to the courts to get the record expunged. Once you do that, you can take your expungement paperwork to each of the websites and plead your case to remove them. Once your record is sealed or expunged, it is no longer legal for the information to be floating around out there. So, you will have an easier time getting it removed.
Although it may not be quick or easy, it is possible to get your mugshots removed from the public eye.