You do not have to be convicted of a crime for a Florida arrest to affect your reputation: even if you were wrongfully arrested, your mugshot could still stay online, raising red flags for potential employers and anyone else who might search your name. For years, Floridians had few options to remove their mugshots from public and private databases. However, a recently enacted law makes it easier than ever to rehabilitate your reputation and ensure that the past remains the past.

Florida’s Mugshot Removal Law

Empty Police Department MugshotIn the past, predatory websites would scour public archives, news websites, and law enforcement databases to find mugshots. Once they matched a booking photograph with a name, they would put it online—and then charge people to have their listing removed, regardless of whether they were ever convicted.

Florida’s new mugshot removal law, passed in October of 2021, allows people to request that public and private databases remove their arresting and booking photographs. You must:

  • Submit a written request to the website.
  • Send the request by registered mail.
  • Include “sufficient proof of identification of the person whose arrest booking photograph was published or otherwise disseminated and specific information identifying the arrest booking photograph that the written request is seeking to remove.”

Once a publisher receives a written request, they have 10 days to remove the photograph.

If the website refuses to remove the photograph within 10 calendar days, they could be subject to fines up to $1,000 per day of noncompliance.

How a Lawyer Could Help You Take Your Florida Mugshots Off the Internet

Florida’s recently enacted mugshot makes it substantially easier to get mugshots taken off the internet without paying exorbitant fees.

However, most mugshot publishers are private, for-profit companies. They might have their own requirements for removal. These requirements are often intentionally burdensome.

If the publisher is particularly unscrupulous, they might:

  • Ignore your certified mail.
  • Claim that your removal request does not meet the benchmark set by Florida law.
  • Continue to demand payment, even when they are obliged to remove your photograph for free.

Flaherty & Merrifield Criminal Defense could help you contact and compel mugshot publishers to remove your information, regardless of whether they are located in Florida or another state. We could also help you petition the court to permanently expunge or destroy your arrest information, diversion documents, or juvenile record, allowing you to rebuild your life without worry.

Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one are seeking to remove your Florida mugshots or expunge your criminal records, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.

 

Tim Flaherty
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney