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In the state of Texas, mugshots, as well as any other criminal information, are classified as public information. Due to documents such as the Freedom of Information Act, there can be no Texas arrest laws barring any publication or distribution of arrest data.
Certain states such as Georgia will have the courthouse send legal takedown notices which would suffice. The sad part is that even if your case was dismissed minutes after being arrested, there is no guarantee these sites will remove your information.
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WHY IS IT LEGAL TO PUBLISH ARREST RECORDS ONLINE?
Criminal information in the eye of the U.S. government is categorized as public records. This essentially means there are no laws requiring the removal of any arrest information distributed from law enforcement agencies.
The Texas Department of Public Safety houses any and all arrest reports, court dockets, and much more for anyone to see. Although the Department of Public Safety allows you to view reports, obtaining a copy may come with a fee (most of the time this is simply the cost of paper, so 10 cents/sheet).
HOW TEXAS MUGSHOT LAW AFFECTS REMOVAL OF RECORDS
There are several circumstances where you can submit documents to each individual webmaster in efforts to remove your mugshots from their domain.
Texas legislature announced a brand-new state law that demands mugshot publication sites (i.e. Mugshots.com) to remove mugshots if you submit a nondisclosure petition in accordance with SECTION 1. Subtitle C, Title 5, Business & Commerce Code, is revised by supplementing Chapter 109.
What this Texas mugshot law basically states is that in order to legally demand your information be removed, you must send a certified letter to their address. The only problem here is that most of these websites are hosted offshore or kept extremely private.
CAN A LAW FIRM REMOVE FROM MUGSHOT WEBSITES?
Due to the fact that online mugshots and arrest details are considered public records, there is no legal stance you can take. Sure, having a distinguished attorney with deep pockets may persuade the site owner towards a quick mugshot removal.
In addition to contacting the webmasters of a particular mugshot publication, websites will help if you can provide any dismissal or expungement documents. If your case was dismissed or criminal record has been expunged they may remove the content for free.
Although there is no Texas mugshot law demanding them to do so, most webmasters are somewhat ethical and understanding.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TEXAS MUGSHOT LAW
Mugshot publication websites are labeled as online media distributors that publish and showcase public records in connection to recent involvements with the police.
Mugshot removal laws in Texas have loose guidelines in regards to how mugshot sites are expected to remove records if the arrestee sends a nondisclosure request. This request must include all necessary legal documents. For example, if the charges were dropped, dismissed, or expunged and signed off by a Judge.
All mugshot websites must include a way to be contacted. Most of the time the phone number that is included is a burner phone or never in service. Unless you get lucky, simply due to the email volume they receive, email attempts will most likely go unnoticed.
Mugshot publication sites are penalized $500 per day. This happens after refusing to alter their website after you provided the proper documents. These fees begin to incur if they do not respond in 45-days.
Although there is no Texas mugshot law that demands these websites to remove personal information, sometimes a civil email (or a few) may suffice. Just be polite and explain to them how your charges were dropped.
If you are struggling to remove your arrest records and the mugshot removal laws in Texas are giving you a hard time, we can offer you our complete mugshot removal service.
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