Learn about Texas mugshot law and how to remove that embarrassing image fast!
If you have ever been arrested in the Longhorn State, odds are your mugshot is showing up on Google.
In the state of Texas, mugshots and other arrest information are public information. And due to documents like the Freedom of Information Act, there can be no Texas arrest laws barring the publication or distribution of that data.
Certain state laws require courts to send legal takedown notices to mugshot sites. But even if they dismiss your case right after the arrest, there is no guarantee these mugshot websites will remove your information.
How do I find my mugshot or mug shots in Texas? In this guide, we’ll explore your options.
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Law Enforcement Agencies and Mugshots: Critical Information
Arrest information is typically seen as a public record. This means there are no laws requiring the removal of arrest information distributed by law enforcement. This is the case in many states; local, county, and state laws governing the availability of any public record, including mugshots, booking photos, arrest records, and information about criminal charges. In the state of Florida, Florida mugshots are posted to county-run sites available to anyone. The result of this free and open access to public records — in Texas, with Florida mugshots, and in most other states — means that anyone with an internet connection can find your mugshot and arrest records online. The mugshots Texas posts to publically-available databases are free of charge to access; all you need is a few minutes of time and an internet connection to view your mug shot.
The Texas Department of Public Safety stores all arrest reports, arrest data, court dockets, and more for anyone to see. But though the Department allows you to view reports, obtaining a copy may come with a fee. There is no fee for accessing booking photos or arrest records via web browser.
How Texas Mugshot Law Affects Removal of Records
There are cases where you can submit documents to webmasters to remove your mugshots from a website.
For example, the Texas legislature recently passed a law demanding mugshot sites remove mugshots when they receive a nondisclosure petition via written request. Getting a mugshot removed in this way can work, but it can be a time-consuming process. You may need an attorney and an experienced law firm to handle this type of request.
Boiled down, this Texas mugshot law states that to legally demand information removal, you must send a certified letter to their address. Unfortunately, most mugshot site addresses are offshore or extremely private. Finding contact information that works is often a challenge; such information is intentionally hidden to make it harder to submit a request.
Can a Law Firm Remove Booking Photos from Mugshot Websites?
Because online mugshots and arrest details are public records, you have very few legal remedies in mugshot removal from county-operated websites. The same may hold true for mugshot websites. The mugshot industry has exploded over the past decade. Today, dozens of such mugshot websites post details and images of arrests, not only of celebrities but of everyday people. These sites scrape the web for any public record they can access; these records are often collected and sold to data brokers as well.
A website operator that posts embarrassing arrest photos is under no obligation to pull your mugshots off the site. However, hiring an attorney may persuade the site owner to remove your mugshot quickly. When you hire a law firm, you enter into an attorney-client relationship that can often prove beneficial when it comes to removing images posted online. Legal advice is only one of the many benefits of hiring a law firm. With the help of legal advice from your attorney, you can take charge of protecting yourself online. Remember that personal information — including mugshots and arrest details posted to the web — is more than embarrassing. Free access to this information also represents a public safety risk.
Lawyers use a variety of legal strategies to have your information removed from websites. These can include:
- Obtaining court orders.
- Filing Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests.
- Filing Terms of Service (TOS) notices.
- Claiming violations of applicable local, state, and federal privacy laws.
Direct negotiations with website owners is another tool that can protect your online reputation by getting photos removed from mugshot sites. In addition to contacting the owners of a particular mugshot site, many sites will comply when provide dismissal or expungement documents. If the court dismissed or expunged your case, the site may even remove the content for free.
The Truth About Mugshot Sites
Although there is no Texas mugshot law forcing them to do so, most websites are somewhat ethical and understanding. Some of these sites may claim to be champions of the First Amendment and share mugshots as a means of providing free access to information. The truth is a bit more complex. Posting mugshots is intended to provide entertainment and to drive revenue by increasing traffic to websites. These websites exist for no malicious reason other than to make money. Still, web owners may agree to remove your mugshots through an informal or formal request.
Mugshots in Search Results
Mugshot websites receive a lot of traffic on the web. These popular sites publish booking and arrest photos of celebrities, sports figures, and everyday people. Because of the sheer volume of traffic these sites get, mugshots may appear at or near the top of internet search results. Whether you are guilty of committing crimes or not, a mugshot posted to one of these sites can have long-range consequences for you and for your future.
Whether you are found guilty, found innocent, or were arrested in error, the publication of mugshots in Texas by law enforcement officers poses a very real threat to your reputation. If you were arrested but are innocent, your mugshot may still appear online for all the world to see.
Mugshot Websites are Putting Your Online Reputation at Risk
As part of your digital footprint, your online reputation is critical. Your reputation tells others who you are and what you stand for. If you are a business owner, your online reputation can open new doors of opportunity — provided that reputation is strong.
Arrest photos, mugshots, and embarrassing personal information posted on the internet can harm your online reputation. Your business can suffer if people find negative information about you in search results. NetReputation knows that protecting your online reputation and repairing it if it has become damaged from the publication of embarrassing information is an essential part of maintaining your online visibility in a positive light.
Additional Information About the Texas Mugshot Law
Mugshot websites are online media distributors that publish and showcase public records in connection to recent arrests.
Mugshot removal laws in Texas have loose guidelines regarding mugshot sites and removals when you send a nondisclosure request. This request must include all necessary legal documents prepared by an attorney.
All mugshot sites must include contact information somewhere on the site. Most of the time this is a phone number that is never in service. And unless you get lucky, emails will most likely go unnoticed. The contact information provided by the website may not work at all, leaving you with no way to make contact.
Mugshot publication sites are penalized $500 per day as a civil penalty. This happens after refusing to alter the website after receiving the proper documents. These fees take effect if the site does not respond in 45-days. Although law enforcement action is not typically a remedy, civil penalties can provide a financial incentive for a person running a mugshot site to honor legal requests.
Although there is no Texas mugshot law demanding these websites remove personal information, sometimes a civil email (or a few) may suffice. Just be polite and explain that your charges were dropped. If you were found not guilty, were found innocent, or were arrested in error, you may be able to get your mugshots removed just by asking.
Call NetReputation Today for Mugshot Removal That Produces Results
If you are struggling to remove your arrest records and the mugshot removal laws in Texas are giving you a hard time, we offer you our complete mugshot removal service. In our free consultation, we provide details about our service and how it works.
Our team utilizes proven legal strategies to get your mugshots taken down once and for all. Our methods delete unwanted content at the source. Since 2014, we have helped thousands of clients in Florida and around the world restore their reputations and protect their online privacy. From businesses to individuals, our methods produce the results you deserve.