Are Mugshot Websites Legal?

Are mugshot sites illegalPrior to the days of the Internet, people could hide the fact that they were arrested at some point in their lives because it was not easy to find mugshots. Even though mugshots have always been public record and available to anyone who wants to see them, people still had to be made aware of an arrest and then had to go through the process of searching the police records to find a mugshot.

Pre-Internet Reputation Management

Defending your public reputation before the 90s was more of a focused task. The outlets that could print or distribute damaging information were easier to monitor because there were not nearly as many of them around. Today, the Internet offers instant information to millions of people all over the world and some of that information can be very damaging to your public reputation. Search (Google et al) makes this information available almost instantaneously.

Since mug shots are damaging to a person’s reputation and legally available to the public, it can be easy for someone to post a mugshot on a website and make it available to anyone that wants to see it. The various police departments around the country post mugshots as public domain and mugshot website owners copy and post those pictures on their websites.

Personal Information

A mugshot website leaves no question as to whose picture is being posted. Each mugshot is accompanied by the person’s name, the charge they were arrested for, the person’s address and the arresting officer’s name. If there is any other information included in the public arrest report, such as a phone number, then that information is included on the website as well.

Removing Your Mugshot

There are only two ways to get your mugshot removed from a mugshot website. You can apply to the courts to have your records sealed, or you can pay a fee to each mugshot website to have your picture and information removed.

Applying to have your records sealed is an expensive process that usually does not result in the request being granted. That means that you will have to pay to have your picture removed. If your mugshot is on 20 mugshot websites, then you will have to pay 20 times to have it removed. However, most webmasters who own these sites own a bunch more. So, paying to have Charlie Sheen mug shotthese removed is not really a viable strategy to clean up your name from online search results.

Is It Legal?

Since mugshots are considered public record, posting them on any website is legal. Private website owners can put all of the publicly available information they want on their websites, and those website owners can also develop any policies they want to have certain content removed. Posting your mugshot on a website is legal, and forcing you to pay to have it removed is legal as well.

Fight Fire with Fire

If you are facing the challenge of having your mugshot and personal information posted on a variety of mugshot websites, then you do have options. We can help you to get your mugshot pushed so far down on the search engine results that it would never be seen. Not only will we bury these pictures on the search engines, we will push positive content about you up to the top of Google search engine results pages.

Keyword Tactics

Each mugshot website utilizes certain keywords to get your mugshot to the top of search engine results pages. The higher up on page 1 your mugshot appears, the more urgently you will feel the need to have it removed. We know what strategies the mugs hot websites are using, and we will create new Internet content that will push your mugs hot off of page 1 of your search results.

There will be articles created that feature your name and all of your positive accomplishments posted to blog sites and Internet article sites that get large amounts of traffic. The use of the right keywords in those articles will mean that the positive content will replace the mugs hot content by ranking higher than the mugs hot.

We will also work to get new images of you up on the Internet that gives you a professional and responsible image. By attaching the proper tags to those pictures, you will start to see a much more positive image of you appearing on Internet image searches.

Social Media

When it comes to personal names appearing in Internet searches, few things are more powerful than the social media. You can use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to encourage people to make positive statements about you. As your name starts to circulate in a positive manner on the various social media outlets, then you will start to see that appear on your Internet search results. Those results will further aid to push the mugs hot results down.

You can also start to post videos of yourself doing charitable acts and appearing at civic events on the free video hosting websites. The more traffic you generate to those videos by using positive Internet tags, the better your Internet search results will be.

Don't WaitDon’t Wait

If you have a mugshot that appears on a mugshot website, then you need to take immediate action. Rather than paying hundreds, or possibly thousands of dollars to mugshot websites to remove your picture and information, you can have a professional online reputation management firm handle the situation for you.

With the right kind of reputation management approach, your good name can be restored while the transgressions of your past are buried forever deep in the pages of an Internet search engine. You can replace that small amount of negative publicity with a significant amount of positive information. Controlling your name on search results is also a great long term strategy as internet and search will only become more prominent in the future.

Optimum 7 is ready to help you reclaim your good reputation. We will get to work immediately analyzing the situation and then putting an effective plan into place that will replace the mugshot websites with professional images and words about you on the Internet search engines. Contact us today and let us get started on your reputation management program.


July 10, 2012

Written by Duran Inci

Duran Inci is a Digital Marketing Executive with over eleven years experience in e-business, including Content Marketing, Paid Search, Ecommerce Systems and Integrations. As Co-Founder and COO of Optimum7, Duran has developed sophisticated processes resulting in leading-edge execution of marketing strategies. Combined with his strong leadership of the Optimum7 team, Duran has successfully generated many millions of dollars in revenue for his clients. His strong analytical skills consistently result in businesses meeting and exceeding online business objectives. Duran has taught a Digital Marketing Bootcamp at Florida International University for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He also hosts workshops at South Florida Universities such as FIU (Florida International University), AIU (American Intercontinental University), UM (University of Miami) and various universities in Europe. He's also very active in the development of South Florida IT Cluster and planning. 

Duran has been a featured speaker at various SMX, eMetrics, eMarketing and SES Conferences.

This entry was posted in Reputation Management and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted July 11, 2012 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Great advice. Its worthwhile, beneficial and profitable employing a specialist online reputation agency to mitigate the damage done. Great post

  2. Posted August 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s just a shame that you need to negative SEO them down on Google rather than there be some law in place. It’s actually a very important legal issue and the kind of issue which the growing availability of the internet has created. I hope there is some law for this in the future to make things more streamlined. Perhaps a central database for mugshots.

  3. Lloyd Green
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t aware that mugshots are legally available, am not sure this is the case in the Uk, but as it’s such an interesting point, I am going to go and check this now. Thanks for posting.

  4. Sirenita Lake
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I do not believe it is legal to demand money to remove damaging information from the web. I have researched the law in one state, Kansas, where the statute defines blackmail as coercing or attempting to coerce someone into giving you something of value in exchange for not publishing a “statement” that could cause embarrassment. The statute does not have an exception for public records, nor does the statement have to be untrue, merely harmful. Not all defamation torts can be defended as truth. Mixing mugshots of people who have not been charged or those arrested for traffic offenses with those of people arrested for serious felonies and sex offenses places the victim in a false light, suggesting that a determination of guilt has been made or that the bust was serious. While you have your profit motive for claiming this practice is legal, in fact it is being challenged in many lawsuits and people are calling for legislation and prosecution. That may not suit you, but you could then move to a more dignified business than profiting from the misfortune of those who made a mistake like so many others, or even those who are totally innocent.

  5. Blog Blogger
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The webmaster’s openly tell mainstream media that they are stealing public records and each state and the fed’s charges money for the records. The amount stolen goes into the hundred’s of millions of dollars.


    18 USC § 1030 – Fraud and related activity in connection with computers
    (2) intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains—
    (C) information from any protected computer;

    18 USC § 641 – Public money, property or records
    Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof;

    Whoever receives, conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted—

    Department Of Justice Manual
    Criminal Resource Manual 1663 – Protection Of Public Records and Documents. “The taking of a public record or document is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 641.”
    DOJ. Retrieved from

    Converts public records to his use or the use of another. Without authority, sells conveys or disposes of public record.

    18 USC § 1028A – Aggravated identity theft
    Whoever, knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses (website), without lawful authority, a means of identification (government photograph) of another person shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such felony, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years.

    47 USC § 223 – Obscene or harassing telephone calls in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communications
    (a) Prohibited acts generally
    (1) in interstate or foreign communications—
    (C) makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number or who receives the communications;

    18 USC § 2261A — Stalking
    (2) with the intent—
    (A) to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or
    (i) that person;

    18 USC § 2319 — Criminal infringement of a copyright & 17 USC § 506 — Criminal offenses
    For the purpose of commercial advantage (website) and private financial gain.

    Governmental Prima Facie Evidence of name and likeness copyright:
    State Certified Birth Certificate, State Driver’s License, Passport and other government documents and records “created” to identify and validate name and likeness.

    18 USC § 1584 – Sale into involuntary servitude
    (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully holds to involuntary servitude or sells into any condition of involuntary servitude, any other person for any term, or brings within the United States any person so held, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

    Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act of 2007
    “Intentionally obtains (steals/screen scraps), or transmits (internet) to another person information with the intent to defraud (unpublish/repair reputation).”

    18 USC § 875 – Interstate communications
    Transmits (internet) communication interstate (world wide web) with the intent to “injure reputation” to extort (unpublish/repair reputation).

    18 USC § 873 — Blackmail
    Whoever, under a threat of informing, or as a consideration for not informing, against any violation of any law of the United States, demands or receives any money or other valuable thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

    18 USC § 1962 – Prohibited activities
    (b) It shall be unlawful for any person through a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt to acquire or maintain, directly or indirectly, any interest in or control of any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce.

    18 USC § 880 – Receiving the proceeds of extortion
    A person(s) who receives, possesses, conceals, or disposes of any blackmail (unpublish/repair reputation) money.

    Bizarre Logic and Reasoning
    If kidnappers called the ransom amount the returning person fee would it bedazzle the system again? If the kidnappers rationalized their acts with the same logic would the system be mystified by them? Reasoning, they had to go through the hassle of kidnapping someone hence they are entitled to the returning person fee (Ransom Money).

    If blackmailers called the extortion amount the unpublish/reputation repair fee would it bedazzle the system? Further, if the blackmailers rationalized their acts with the same logic would the system by mystified be them? Reasoning, they had to go through the hassle of stealing government property, identity theft, stalking people, holding people to involuntary servitude, injuring their reputation, blackmailing them, collecting an unlawful debt and collection extorting money hence they are entitles to the extortion and other money (unpublish/reputation repair fee).

    Governmental issuance of public record voids it from public records.

    Public Records of an individual.
    Birth Certificate
    Drivers License History
    Court Records
    Marriage Records
    Divorce Records

    I’m an American so I must “promote” and make “money” for individuals and corporations both foreign and domestic with my Public Records (Life).

    Why is the USA government so bewildered that they invalidate their own identification records and documents?

    18 USC § 2319 — Criminal infringement of a copyright & 17 USC § 506 — Criminal offenses
    For the purpose of commercial advantage (website) and private financial gain.

    Governmental Prima Facie Evidence of name and likeness copyright:
    State Certified Birth Certificate, State Driver’s License, Passport and other government documents and records “created” to identify and validate name and likeness.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>