Arrest records and mugshots can not only be embarrassing — they can damage your online reputation. Learn five top strategies on how to remove mugshots online with our ultimate guide.
When people search for information about you online, what results are they finding? If you’ve ever been arrested, chances are your arrest records and mugshots can be found in search engine results.
Getting your mugshot removed from the internet can help you restore your personal privacy. More importantly, when you erase mugshots online, you are protecting your online reputation, which can help you to achieve your personal and professional goals.
In this guide, we will explore mugshot removal solutions and present the 5 leading strategies to get your mugshot removed from the internet. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Arrest Records and Your Online Reputation
We’ve all made mistakes in our lives. Sometimes, those mistakes come back to haunt us when we least expect them.
People can be arrested for any reason, even minor offenses such as:
- Minor drug offenses
- Mistaken identity
- Reckless driving
- Non violent crimes
- Nonpayment of fines or judgements
If any of those incidents apply to you, your mug shot and arrest records are likely to be found in online search engine results. What does that mean for your digital reputation?
Google is the most popular search engine. People turn to Google every day to learn about people and places. In fact, the search engine is used every day to conduct informal background checks on others. Arrest records and embarrassing mugshot photos found in search results can have a devastating effect on your digital reputation, creating a negative image of you in the eyes of others. A bad reputation can affect numerous areas of your life and prevent you from achieving your goals, including:
- Being accepted into the school of your choice
- Starting a relationship with someone you met online
- Landing that dream job
- Getting approved for a home or vehicle loan
Mugshot images found online can stand in the way of your ability to be successful. It only makes sense to remove mugshots and arrest records from Google search as quickly and as permanently as possible. Thankfully, mugshot removal services are at your disposal.
How Did My Arrest Record Wind Up Online?
Across the country, a patchwork of local, state, and federal laws require government agencies to post public records online. These records are in the public domain; specific laws allow your arrest records, mugshots, and other records to be placed on freely accessible websites. In other words, anyone with an internet connection can pull up your public record, including:
- Federal mugshots
- State and local mug shots
- Arrest information
- Criminal records
- Information about other criminal offenses
- Commission of a criminal act
Whether or not you are found guilty in a court of law, your mugshots and arrest data may be posted on government websites or on other sites. From there, they often appear in search engine results. Every damaging mugshot can interfere with your digital reputation.
Mugshot Websites and Your Digital Footprint
Over the past decade, so-called mugshot websites have become incredibly popular. These sites post mugshots of celebrities, sports figures, and everyday people. Many of the most popular mug shot sites get millions of visits per day, making them highly visible to search engines.
Mugshot websites are part of a broad web category called data brokers. Data broker sites like mugshot publications claim to host information about criminal offenses, federal mugshots, and local/state arrest details as a form of free speech.
There is more to these sites than meets the eye. As a business practice, many of these sites rely on advertising to generate revenue. Companies advertise on the sites, knowing that each mugshot added to the site drives up traffic. As a result, data brokers can be very lucrative business operations.
Remember that your arrest record and mugshot photos are part of the public record, which often includes minor offenses or false arrests. Because of that, mugshot reposting sites use automated tools to scour publically-available databases, then post the data they collect. These mugshot sites aren’t breaking any laws; every mugshot image posted to these sites comes from public arrest records.
Where mugshot publications run into trouble is when they charge visitors for access to public records — and when they charge money for mugshot removal services. If you have to pay money to remove your mugshot from a particular website, you may have legal reasons to force removal of your embarrassing arrest records and mugshot images.
Risks to Your Safety from Public Records Availability Online
Arrest records, mugshots, and embarrassing details posted to government websites and mugshot sites can harm your digital reputation. Unfortunately, they can also put you and your family at risk.
Consider that arrest reports often contain personal details like your driver’s license number, home address, telephone number, and more. Armed with this arrest data, criminals can steal your identity, potentially causing you thousands of dollars in damage. Identity theft is commonly tied to the public availability of records found on public and private databases.
When you choose to remove your mugshot from the online environment, you are protecting your reputation and your personal safety. Mugshot removal services can help you take charge of your internet privacy, allowing you to avoid the certain harm that comes from having your mugshot images, personal info, and arrest details posted online.
5 Strategies for Mugshot Removal
Now that we have learned how your mugshots wound up online and the reputational threats posed by data broker sites and mugshot publications, it’s time to dive deep into mugshot removal strategies. These mugshot removal solutions are not always foolproof, but they are generally quite successful at getting your mugshot removed from the internet once and for all. Here are our top 5 mugshot removal ideas for you to try.
File a Removal Claim with Google
Search engine results on Google are the most likely place where mugshots can be found online. Google is an incredibly popular tool and dominates search engines on a worldwide scale. To start the mugshot removal process, going to Google is always the first option.
To get your mugshot removed, locate your mugshot images in search results and note which websites those images are hosted on. Then, use Google’s contact page to request mugshot removal from search results. If Google agrees to remove a mugshot or other personal details from search engine results, it may take a few days for that process to happen. Typically, the request to remove records from search must be accompanied by a compelling reason, such as a court order, in order for the search engine to comply with your request.
Contact Google or visit their information removal request page to learn more.
Once you have submitted your request, keep checking back to see if your mug shot was removed successfully. If not, check out more strategies below.
Have Your Arrest Records Expunged
Most states have some form of expungement law. This means that after a period of time, your arrest records and criminal histories can be erased from the public domain. This is especially true if you were never found guilty of committing a crime.
You can visit your local clerk of the court to start an expungement request, or hire an attorney who specializes in a removal service of this type. When you try to erase mugshots by getting your records expunged, the process requires time and effort. Be prepared to wait for results. If you’re successful, it may take additional time before your arrest record and mugshots disappear from search engines.
Ask Website Owner to Take Down Your Mugshot
Believe it or not, some site owners of mugshot hosting sites are receptive to takedown requests. Once you have found your arrest record and mug shot in search engines results, you are able to pinpoint which sites are hosting your images.
To remove mugshots from a particular website, locate that website’s contact details. Certain companies hide their contact information; a good way to locate the right email address and phone number is to perform a WHOIS lookup.
You may also try sending registered mail requests to the site owners. State why you want your mug shot removed and provide the information needed for the site operators to know that it is you — the person with the embarrassing negative image — making the request.
It should be noted that this technique does not always work, but is worth a try. Many mugshot hosting sites won’t remove a mugshot unless there is are specific and compelling legal reasons to do so. If that’s the case, continue reading for more strategies below.
Seek Legal Assistance
An experienced lawyer with a background in personal privacy and public records requests can help you get your mugshots removed from the digital environment. These attorneys use a wide range of legal strategies, including:
- DMCA takedown requests
- Violation of Terms of Service (ToS) notices
- Submission of court records or a court order compelling mugshot removal compliance
- Google search ToS violations
- State or local law violations
Your arrest record remains part of the public record unless it was expunged or you were not convicted of a crime. With enough time and a lot of legal wrangling, a mugshot removal lawyer can work to protect your reputation, allowing you to reach your goals.
Hire a Mugshot Removal Service
A mugshot removal service is often provided by online reputation management (ORM) firms. The best ORM companies leverage their experience in mugshot removal by applying proven tactics.
When you want to erase mugshots, a mugshot removal team can help. They directly negotiate with publishers and webmasters hosting your mugshot online. They also leverage legal strategies with attorneys and other legal professionals. Finally, they can help you opt out of data broker information collection practices, keeping your personal information safe and off the web. These special methods are ideal for getting your mugshots removed quickly and permanently.
Mugshot Removal Services: How Can They Help?
ORM companies offer many services for businesses and individuals. Each is designed to protect your digital reputation, build brand awareness, and restore reputations damaged by embarrassing details like arrest information or mug shots found in online searches.
Even if mugshots can’t be removed using the strategies presented above, ORM teams still have more solutions up their sleeves. One of these is the practice of search suppression. By creating positive content and flooding the web with images, news items, press releases, and social media posts in your name, this has the effect of manipulating search engine results.
With search suppression, this technique can be extremely effective. Essentially, the negative details that are harming your reputation are pushed down off results pages, sometimes out of view altogether.
Beware of removal websites that claim to get your mugshots removed fast. True professionals know that the process can take time, and the leading service providers let their customers know that without reputation monitoring, your arrest information may reappear on a different site at some point in the future.
Selecting a Mugshot Removal Service
Mugshot removal is a difficult and time-consuming process. Your arrest record is part of the publically-available records, and those records are often required to be posted for access to anyone who is interested.
The best mugshot removal companies offer proven strategies and solutions to help you recover your reputation, push down negative search results, and get your arrest record taken offline. Speak to a mugshot removal professional for a free consultation. When you’re ready to remove mugshots from the digital environment, the best reputation companies have the tools and experience you need to be successful.