You turn on the news – there’s a mugshot. You open the newspaper – there’s a mugshot. You look at a local news or police organization on social media – there’s a mugshot. Because of the way our system works, mugshots are public and show up everywhere.
The very first thought most people have when they see a mugshot is “what did this person do?” What’s unfortunate is that the answer to this question is often nothing. Mugshots aren’t a sign of criminality but just a sign of an accusation of a crime. Mugshots are taken when someone is arrested and booked for the alleged crime, not after a conviction.
These mugshots don’t just disappear from the internet after the charges are dropped or the person is found not guilty. Innocent people have to face the challenges that come with having a mugshot associated with their name in job searches and relationships moving forward. This unfair practice means there are countless Americans facing the consequences of crimes they never actually committed.
As criminal defense attorneys, we frequently get asked whether we can get a client’s mugshot removed from the internet. The plain answer to that is no, there is no legal option to have a suspect’s mugshot removed from the internet. Police departments and sheriff’s offices are not legally required to take mugshots off their websites or social media pages even after the person is absolved of the crime(s). It’s their right to post them for public information purposes, but there are no laws requiring them to reverse those decisions after a reversal of the charges.
The only option you have is to ask. In general, the team here at Blankenship Law has found that law enforcement agencies are generally open to such requests and will remove mugshots from the internet when asked by those who were found to not be responsible for the alleged crimes. News organizations will often do the same if asked. This only applies, however, if you secure an acquittal or have charges dismissed entirely. If you were convicted and served your sentence it’s unlikely you will be able to get your mugshot removed after you’re released.
Your best avenue to overcoming a mugshot on the internet is to defend yourself when charged with a crime. At Blankenship Law, we under that everyone makes mistakes. You don’t have to pay for it for the rest of your life. You can call our Carmel, Indiana office at 317-669-9010 or our Valparaiso office at 219-707-5495 or contact us online.