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Is The Business Of Publishing Mugshots Illegal?

by Ruben Trevor

An arrest can haunt you for life even if you were found innocent or a judge dismissed the case for being completely baseless. One of the biggest reasons is that your mugshot will usually be published online for anyone to see when they search your name in the future. So how can this practice be legal?

Are Online Mugshot Websites Legal?

Online mugshot websites are generally protected by the First Amendment. As long as they’re just reporting the facts that you were arrested for a certain charge at a certain time and place, it’s not much different than the evening news program or a newspaper. If the site is calling you a criminal or saying that you were convicted when you weren’t, that would become a separate issue of libel or slander.

An interesting thing to know is that mugshots were originally used to protect the defendant. The police having to distribute mugshots prevents them from arresting people without anyone knowing about it. However, this started long before the internet meant that mugshots became a permanent, public, easily accessible record.

Are There Any Limits on Mugshot Websites?

Since mugshot websites simply repost public records, there are few limitations on what they can do. However, some states have passed laws such as the following.

  • Preventing law enforcement from releasing mugshots online or at all. This makes it much harder or impossible for mugshot websites to get mugshots.
  • Banning mugshot websites from charging you to remove your mugshot.
  • Requiring mugshot websites to remove your photo on demand.

How Do You Erase Your Online Mugshots?

If you’ve ever been arrested, you probably want someone to erase mugshots and all other records from your arrest from the internet. Even when you live in a state with very strong laws regarding online mugshots, it can be difficult to track down all of the different sites that have your mugshots and make sure they take them down. That’s where a background check removal service helps you.

For example, you might need mugshot removal from arrests.org, BustedMugshots, and who knows how many other sites. In theory, you can contact each individual website on your own and hope you found them all. Another option is to have EraseMugshots contact arrests.org and all of the other mugshot websites on your behalf.

When you use a mugshot removal service, the service already knows who posts mugshots and how to contact them. They also have form letters prepared for each state and type of charge that demand your mugshot removal to the fullest extent of the law. The mugshot websites know that the removal service knows what it’s talking about and won’t stop until the mugshot is gone. To see how a mugshot removal service can make your mugshots disappear, request your free mugshot removal analysis consultation now.

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