Florida Mugshot Removal Lawyers

David Weisselberger | June 25, 2024

DO I QUALIFY?

If the criminal charges are withdrawn or you are not found guilty, the mugshot remains visible on the internet. In Florida, employers and companies may be able to view mugshots and information about your arrest that can affect their impression of you, lessening your chances of obtaining work.

Your mugshots are bound to stay online or anywhere unless you do something about it. Even if you got out of prison, your mugshots will still be there. However, hiring a mugshot removal lawyer can help you get your mugshot removed.

Thus, mugshot removal in Florida can help you gain better opportunities.

Why Should You Need A Lawyer to Remove Your Mugshot in Florida?

Florida law offers a strong right to have your mugshot removed from certain websites, but navigating the process and maximizing your chances of success can be complex. Here's why a lawyer specializing in Florida mugshot removal can be a valuable asset:

  • Understanding Eligibility: Florida's law has specific requirements for mugshot removal. An attorney can assess your case and determine if you qualify based on the charges, case outcome, and the website hosting the mugshot.
  • Crafting Persuasive Requests: Lawyers know how to draft compelling requests tailored to Florida law. They can highlight relevant sections and effectively argue for removal based on your eligibility.
  • Dealing with Unresponsive Websites: Some websites might ignore initial requests. An attorney can send follow-up letters emphasizing legal consequences for non-compliance, which can be more persuasive.
  • Navigating the Court System: In rare cases, court action might be necessary. A lawyer can represent you in court and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
  • Protecting Your Rights: Lawyers can ensure you understand your rights and explore all legal avenues for mugshot removal. They can also address potential pitfalls and advise on next steps if removal isn't possible.

Difference Between Mugshot Removal and Expungement

Can you get a mugshot removed? Yes you can, but you can also expunge one. Get to know the difference between the two as you read on.

  • The goal of mugshot removal is to make a particular photo disappear from the internet, whereas expungement removes a criminal record entirely.
  • Records that have been expunged are no longer publicly available and are mostly destroyed. The removal of mugshots only impacts the records' online accessibility; it does not affect the documents' existence.
  • The removal of mugshots is frequently easier to accomplish and can be done by requests or third-party services. Court authorization and legal processes are required for expungement.

Legal Basis for Mugshot Removal in Florida

The following are legal basis on how to get a mugshot removed:

  • Public Records Law (Chapter 119, Florida Statutes): The Public Records Law of Florida regulates the availability of official records, which includes data on criminal histories. According to this law, mugshots obtained by law enforcement are public documents.

Mugshots may be removed from the public access systems of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) by specific procedures in situations when charges are withdrawn, dismissed, or settled in the individual's favor.

  • A demand under Florida Statute 901.43(2) can be made of the publishing entity to have the mug photo taken down. It is important to note that this provision does not call for the record to be sealed or expunged. Rather, this provision protects you even in the event of a conviction when you just ask to have a mug photo removed.

Eligibility Requirements for Mugshot Removal in Florida

  • The individual received a withhold of adjudication
  • If a person's criminal records have been sealed or expunged under Florida law (Sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes)
  • Has must not have any records already sealed or expunged

How To Get Your Mugshot Removed in Florida

Florida law (Florida Statute § 901.43) empowers you to request the removal of your mugshot from certain websites. Here's a breakdown of the process:

1. Understand Your Eligibility:

Florida law allows mugshot removal for:

  • Dismissed charges: If the charges against you were dismissed or dropped.
  • Not guilty verdicts: If you were acquitted of the charges.
  • Arrests that don't lead to charges: If you were arrested but never formally charged.
  • Cases with adjudication withheld: In some cases, even if you pled guilty or no contest, adjudication may have been withheld. This can make you eligible for removal depending on the specific circumstances.

2. Identify the Websites:

Make a list of all websites where your mugshot appears. Focus on for-profit websites as they are legally obligated to comply with removal requests under Florida law. Non-profit or government websites might have different procedures.

3. Craft Your Removal Request:

Florida law requires a written request sent by certified mail with proof of receipt. Your request should include:

  • Your full name and date of birth
  • A clear identification of the mugshot you want removed
  • The specific website address (URL) where the mugshot appears
  • The reason for requesting removal (e.g., charges dismissed)
  • A copy of a valid ID (driver's license, passport)

4. Send Your Request:

Send your request with a copy of your ID to the website's registered agent (often listed on their website or through domain name lookup tools).

5. Follow Up (if necessary):

Florida law gives websites 10 days to respond to your request. If you don't receive a response or your request is denied, consider these options:

  • Resend the request: Sometimes, mistakes happen. A polite resend might be enough.
  • Seek legal help: An attorney specializing in Florida mugshot removal can significantly increase your chances of success and handle complex situations.

Important to Note:

  • This process only applies to for-profit websites.
  • There's no guarantee of success, even if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Be wary of companies that guarantee mugshot removal for a fee. Florida law allows websites 10 days to respond, and legitimate services can't expedite that process.

How Long Does It Take To Remove A Mugshot in Florida?

In 10 days, if the photos are not taken down, a fine of  $1,000 a day will need to be deposited in Florida's General Revenue Fund by the website or company posting your mugshots.

Hiring a Florida Mugshot Removal Lawyer

Hiring a mugshot removal lawyer will help you quickly undergo the process of how to remove mugshots from the internet and ensure that your case will be taken care of. It will also assist clean up your internet footprint if you are qualified to have your case sealed or expunged, or if you have already done so. 

Remove your expunged records with the help of a well-experienced mugshot removal attorney. Start with EraseTheCase and get a second chance in life. 

FAQ

Yes, In Florida, mugshots are public records and are often made available online by the Sunshine Law, commonly known as the Florida Public Records Law.

Laws and policies have been put in place in Florida to shield people from the negative effects of having a mugshot. You have the right to request the removal of a mugshot from websites, regardless of the outcome of a criminal trial.

Visit the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) Corrections Offender Network homepage to view local mugshots for free in Florida.

In 2021, Senate Bill 1046 in Florida was passed which allows you to ask for the removal of mug shots from any websites whether your charges were dropped or not.

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