Florida Mugshot Law Protects Those Arrested but not Convicted

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Florida Mugshot Law Protects Those Arrested but not Convicted

By |2018-06-27T20:40:40+00:00June 27th, 2018|criminal defense law, juvenile defense law|Comments Off on Florida Mugshot Law Protects Those Arrested but not Convicted

Chances are, you likely have seen a banner ad online for any number of websites that shows pictures of local persons who have been arrested by the police.  You may even have clicked on the ad or the website to see if your neighbor or someone you work with may have been arrested and his or her mugshot is there.  However, what many people do not realize is that these websites are not just innocent fun for someone passing time on the Internet; instead, they can be a nightmare for those whose pictures end up on them.  A person’s mugshot may appear on the Internet and he or she may never have been convicted of, or even charged with, whatever crime they were arrested for.  This is a huge problem, as anyone who has been ever been arrested in Florida knows.  Certain websites collect mugshots and then demand thousands of dollars in order to remove the mugshot for someone who was arrested but never convicted.  This leaves such a person in a terrible situation, because a prospective employer, landlord or significant other may Google the person and the mugshot is the first thing he or she sees.  However, starting July 1st, Floridians who were arrested for a crime but never convicted and whose mugshot has been posted online will be eligible to request that their mugshot be taken down without any charge for doing so.  Previously, some websites were charging as much as $2,500 for removing a mugshot from their website, according to one report.

The Law Protecting Floridians Whose Mugshots Appear Online but Who Were Never Convicted of a Crime

Florida’s Legislature passed legislation in June 2017 that permits people whose mugshots appear on the Internet to request that the mugshot be taken down if the person ends up not being convicted of the crime.  The requester cannot be charged for removal of the picture from the website.  The law in question takes effect on July 1st of this year.  To give it additional teeth, the law also provides that a website could be fined up to $1,000 per day plus attorney’s fees and court costs if a person has not received a response after submitting a request to have their photograph taken down by the website by registered mail.  This provision applies if the website does not comply with that request within ten days and the person is forced to obtain a court order requiring the website to remove the mugshot.

An Arrest Does Not Equal a Conviction

Unlike Europe, which has stronger protections than most of the United States against the use of personal and private data, and the posting and dissemination of such information, information like mugshots are considered a matter of public record in most U.S. jurisdictions.  The problem with this, of course, is that mugshots are taken when someone is arrested.  If you are arrested, it means that a police officer or a judge believes it is more likely than not (i.e., 51% or greater of a chance) that you committed a crime.  However, in order to convict you of a crime, prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed an offense with which you are charged.  This is commonly understood to mean there was 99+% of a chance you actually committed the offense.

However, to further complicate matters, prosecutors have to look at what they can prove based upon admissible evidence.  This must be evidence that Florida’s Evidence Code believes to be sufficiently trustworthy, not inherently prejudicial, and reliable enough to be admissible in a court of law.  Therefore, as any prosecutor will tell you, what the police can arrest a person for and what a prosecutor can prove in a court of law are two entirely different things.  The disservice this does to people whose mugshots are on the Internet is that someone is often arrested for a crime and then prosecutors either decline to press charges or the person is determined not to be guilty by a jury of his or her peers.  However, that person’s mugshot still remains on the Internet.  Prior to the passage of Florida’s law permitting Floridians to request removal of their mugshots in such circumstances, someone arrested but not convicted of an offense would have no recourse to ensure the removal of his or her mugshot.

Contact Experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Bryan Raymond if You Have Been Arrested for a Crime in Palm Beach County 

To ensure that your mugshot does not end up staying online, it is important to fight the charges against you if you have been arrested of a crime in Florida.  If you were arrested in Palm Beach County for any criminal offense, experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Bryan M. Raymond of the Law Office of Bryan Raymond represents both adults and juveniles who have been charged with all manner of criminal offenses in Palm Beach County.  Bryan will fight for you every step of the way to ensure that you are not convicted, which will later ensure you have the ability to make sure no future employer or significant other sees your mugshot on the Internet.  Therefore, if you have been arrested for a criminal offense in Palm Beach County, Florida and need a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney who will stop at nothing in defending you, immediately contact experienced criminal defense attorney Bryan Raymond today at (561) 682-1115 or bryan@raymondlaw.net.


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