Florida mugshot removal is getting easier by leveraging Florida’s mugshot law. Enforcement of the law does not seem to be a priority for law enforcement officials in Florida. In fact, the Flagler county sheriff keeps the image of anyone they arrest public on their New Order system. Lee county Sherriff officials publicly state on their website: Photos (mug shots) and arrest information are public records and can only be removed by F.S.S. 119 exemption, court order, or expunction. This is regardless of your case outcome. To file for an expunction, you will need to contact the Lee County Clerk of Court. Once the record is sealed or expunged, please allow two to four weeks for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to be notified, and the record will be removed. Website arrest information reflects publicly available arrest information and does not reflect the disposition of a criminal case. For the disposition of a criminal case, please contact the Lee County Clerk of Court. This creates the need for a balance between public safety and a need to know.
Every year, hundreds of people in Florida are arrested for various crimes. Unfortunately, the information about their arrest is often published online, sometimes even on a mugshot gallery page. This can lead to many negative consequences down the line including being refused employment or housing. Luckily, it is possible to have these posts removed by filing a petition under Florida’s “Unlawful Posting of Personal Information” statute. The law states: A person commits unlawful posting if he knowingly publishes personal information on any website accessible via a computer network without first obtaining consent from each individual whose image appears in such publication. In other words, you must get permission before publishing someone else’s picture and/or name. If your case goes to court, there are two ways that this could be proven. First, you would need to show that they posted the photo themselves. Second, you can prove it was done with their knowledge or consent. This is not an easy task because most people do not realize how much damage can occur when photos are published online.
In Florida, or other states with strong public record laws anyone can come along and publish a mugshot and leave it online. This simple search of your name can result in pages of personal information on people arrested, people charged with a crime, and those who have been taken into custody. Many people are unaware that a mugshot is technically a crime scene photo and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection and a desire to search online for public arrest records.
Florida Mugshot Removal Law
Florida Representative Jason Fischer (R -Duval) proposed a new bill that would force mugshot websites and other booking sites to remove booking photos upon request by the person in the photograph. Any publisher that fails to comply with a written removal request within ten days is subject to a civil penalty. Failure to comply with the request would result in a $1000 daily penalty until the mugshot is taken down. To develop the bill, Fischer collaborated with Aaron Bean, a Florida State Representative, and Blake Mathesie (a Florida law student).
This bill will offer a second chance for thousands of people whose lives and reputations have been damaged by websites that publish arrest photos. This bill requires such publications to remove mugshots within ten days of receiving a sanctioned request.
What happens if the sites refuse to remove the mugshot within 10 days?
The website can be sued for an injunction that will require them to remove your mugshot. For non-compliance, the judge who is presiding over the case can impose fines of up to $1, 000 per day on the company.
In some cases, a Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act allows you to sue a website. Some mugshot websites have changed their policies to not accept payments for the removal of mugshots. Some site records can be deleted by simply giving dismissal or expungement documentation granted by a Judge. RemoveMyMugshot.org can convince websites in many cases to remove mugshots with help from our legal team. Predatory websites search public archives, news sites, and databases of arrest records from law enforcement for mugshot images then publish them online. These images remain online if nothing is done to remove them.
On October 2021, Florida’s mugshot removal law allowed individuals to request that their booking and arrest photos be removed from public and private databases. In order to make a request under the law you need to:
- Submit a written request
- The request must be sent by registered mail and 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.”
- Within 10 calendar days after receipt of the request for removal, the publisher must remove the mugshot for free and cannot republish it.
- The law states “if the arrest record and photograph is not removed within 10 calendar days after receipt of the written request for removal. The court may impose a civil penalty of $1,000 per day for noncompliance”.
How can mugshots be removed from the internet in Florida?
In general, mugshots can be removed from the internet in Florida with a court order. If a person has a mugshot online and need to have it removed, they should contact a local attorney to help them obtain the proper legal paperwork. The attorney will advise them on how to proceed and what they need to do. The attorney will also likely charge a fee for this service.
Other methods to remove a mugshot
Mugshot removal in Florida is governed by state law. Anyone can petition to have mugshots removed in cases where the charges were dismissed, the case was adjudicated without judgment, or upon a reversal from an appellate court. The Miami-Dade county clerk’s office has a mugshot removal process on their website. In order to remove your mugshot, you must fill out and submit a form with all of the necessary details about why you want it taken down. If approved, they will send you a letter stating that your mugshot has been deleted.
Alex Adekola is a thought leader in the reputation management industry who has targeted mugshot publishers since 2012. Alex Adekola is the longest-serving reputation management director online and has written a book on mugshot removal. He is the creator and director of strategy at RemoveMyMugshot.org and MyClearSearch.com.