Can You Have Your DWI Mugshot Removed from the Internet?
We all make mistakes and if one of yours was being pulled for driving under the influence, you may be wondering what happens to your DWI mugshot photos.
Unfortunately, the way technology is today, it is probably a good idea to not only wonder about it but also investigate and find out where those photos are online. Many websites search for any arrest photos and make them public on their site.
You owe it to your reputation to do your best to have any arrest photos removed from all websites.
Let's take a look at DUI and DWI arrest photos, and their impact on your life.
Your Online Reputation
We live in the age of Google. If anyone wants to know anything, it is easy to plug something into the search field. This is very true when it comes to finding out information about a person.
Your online reputation is very important. It is what people see sometimes before they even meet you. It tells your story before you even get a chance to say hello.
Whether it is part of a job search, a rental agreement, a financial transaction, a college entrance, or even dating, it is very common for someone to search your name. One of the first things that can come up is the website with your arrest photo.
If you find out this has happened to you, act quickly to preserve what others find out about you online.
Is It Legal for Others to Post Your DWI Mugshot?
The quick answer to that is yes. Once there is an arrest photo, it is uploaded into a public database in most states. From there, anyone has access to it. Some websites claim to be doing the public a favor by posting the photos of criminals in the area. However, many of them are just looking for a payout.
These websites will take down the photo, but only when you pay a fee. The website is the one benefiting, and not the community.
What If You Were Never Formally Charged?
Just because you were arrested for a DUI doesn't mean you were ever really charged. The information with the photo comes from the original arrest.
There are even times when someone gets all the charges dropped. But those pictures still remain online.
Once the original DUI photo is there, most of these websites never checked back to see what happened with the case.
Who Do You Pay to Have It Removed?
You can contact the website that has posted your photo and ask them to remove it. They will almost always require you to pay a fee. You can then decide whether or not to pay the fee.
The problem is that there is no way to know for sure that they will take it down. You will be handing money over to them and they could still choose to keep it up. Then not only are you still dealing with the embarrassment of the photo but you are also out the money.
Other websites claim to be on your side and will offer their services to have the photo removed on your behalf. They also charge a fee and all they do is simply request that the photo is removed.
This approach really does not work. If the website that posted the original photo was going to remove it after being paid, they would do it when you provided the money. The third-party service provider has no more leverage than you, and the bill will be higher because they want their take.
When the Case Is Legally Sealed
There is a little more hope in having the DUI arrest photos removed when there is a sealed file. This makes it illegal to access any information from that file.
When documented information is presented to the website that proves the case and everything involved (including the photos) were sealed, then they are legally obligated to remove it. There should be no charge at all for you when this happens.
Some websites still do not follow that law, however, and it may take legal action to force them to comply.
How Can You Get The Case Expunged?
In addition to wanting all embarrassing online photos removed, it is also in your best interest to remove all mention of the incident. Background checks happen all the time, and even if something happened years ago, it will still show up. Mistakes from your past can haunt you for a long time.
You may also have questions regarding your legal rights at the traffic stop. Here is information on if you can refuse a breathalyzer test.
It is possible, though, in some circumstances to have the case expunged. One circumstance is if the DUI was made while you were a minor. Many of these cases will be removed so your adult life is not negatively impacted by a youthful mistake.
There are many arrests made that do not follow up with charges. Since the arrest is still on record, if you were never formally charged, you can petition to have the arrest expunged and removed from your history. You can do the same thing when your case is dismissed.
When You Need a Lawyer
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you are unable to successfully have your DWI arrest photo removed. When you run into this situation, it is a good idea to enlist the aid of an experienced attorney.
Not only will they fight for you on the charges and work to get your life back on the right track but they will also work with the websites on your behalf to make sure all embarrassing evidence is removed.
If you need more facts, here are the seven reasons you need a lawyer for a DUI arrest.
It's Your Life
Everyone makes mistakes. The ones you make should not have to define the rest of your life, especially if it includes a DWI mugshot.
For information on how we can help in moving on with your life, please reach out.