When an individual is arrested, their photograph, or “mug shot” is taken as a matter of police procedure at the precinct. Have you ever wondered what happens to the mugshots, especially when charges are dropped or the person is found not guilty? According, to David Segal of the New York Times, popular websites related to the publication of the mugshots are becoming extremely popular. In fact there are more than 80 mug shot sites up and running today. Many of the websites attempt to extort money out of people by claiming to remove the photographs for a price. As alarming as this sounds, what is even more is that people have paid to have a mug shot removed, only to have it appear on another site again asking for money.
The websites also show up high in google Internet searches. What does this mean? When the name of a person is “googled” if their mug shot is on one of the sites, it will be one of the top hits for the search. It is common practice nowadays for employers to “google” a prospective employee. If one of the top results is a mug shot, the likelihood of the person receiving an offer for that job is miniscule. Unfortunately, the web sites do not differentiate between mug shots of people convicted and those of people exonerated.
You may be asking if there is a way to prevent this from happening. It all starts with the steps taken in those minutes and days following an arrest. You must be proactive in choosing your defense counsel. Depending on how your case is resolved, the mug shot may possibly be sealed. The actions by your defense attorney in the days after an arrest can have long lasting impact on your future.