Mugshot websites are seemingly protected by the “First Amendment” in that the information contained on the site is originally gained from public records. A person’s mugshot is only on the jail’s website for the brief time the person is in the facility. As well, not all jails have websites that post pictures of their current inmates. Those jails that do have sites, are the main source of the problem. So, the longer a persons sits in jail, the greator the likelihood for a person’s image is to be copied (or scraped) from the jail’s website and pasted into the various private companies databases/sites. For example, under Florida law, a person must sit in jail for at least eight hours after arrest prior to being released, even if they have their bond posted. For other charges, the duration a person sits in jail can be much shorter. The key is to post bond/bail as soon as possible to limit the chances your Mugshot gets leaked out to the internet. Once your Mugshot gets copied to any new media website or private mugshot site, chaos ensues. Further, the longer you do not take action, the greator the probability your image gets shared from site to site.
Privately owned Mugshot websites will usually then charge you to “unpublish” or simply delete your material from their website. While presently there are no laws to prevent this in the State of Florida, something needs to be done. Attorney Douctre is of the position that legislation needs to be enacted and/or case law made to protect the victims of Mugshot posting and removal sites. This need to be done to prevent Mugshot sites from keeping a person’s image (and charges) after the company is expressly told to take it down by the person or his/her legal representative.
While this “method” of getting money from people upsets those affected, it is still legal in most states because the sites make decisions as to which mugshots to include, and which to unpublish. Unpublishing is another major problem because even when the Mugshot is unpublished, Google (and other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, etc. may still have the page link or image indexed. Consequently, until the information becomes stale, the page link is cached. The only difference is that the Mugshot image does not appear once deleted from the page by the webmaster. Thus, even paying a site to remove it, may not delete all information about the arrest. With the ever growing number of predator Mugshot sites, time is of the essense. Your first phone call upon release from jail should be to a Mugshot Arrest Attorney like Shon Douctre.
An even bigger scam are some (but not all) of the internet reputation repair and/or mugshot removal companies on the internet today. While some are legit businesses, many are the actual owners of the Mugshot site themselves! Thus, a person is paying these compaines thousands of dollars to delete a picture from their very on site that they jointly own! So, these companies make multiple Mugshot posting sites and then make a fake ”Interent” Mugshot removal company/site that advertises a monthy campaign fee to remove Mugshots and restore ones internet reputation, when sometimes both the Mugshot Poster and the Mugshot Remover are one in the same. Be careful and either do your homework or call Attorney Douctre for more information and advice. This type of scam is clearly a fraud and is actionable in civil court and perhaps under the criminal RICO statutes. This type of internet scam is what Mr. Douctre had dedicated himself to expose and eliminate.