Have you followed all of the steps necessary to have your criminal record Sealed or Expunged, kept a copy of the order directing the records to be Sealed or Expunged, only to find out that some offshore internet company has posted that horrible booking photo for all of the world-including your boss, to see? Upon learning that it will cost you at least $399.00 for that same offshore company to agree to remove your picture, have you felt extorted and that you have no recourse?
Well the Florida Legislature has taken the steps to prevent others from making money of off your arrest. Senate Bill 188 now provides that companies can no longer charge a fee to remove a person’s Florida arrest photograph from a website. Now if a company charges money to remove a mug shot, they can be served with correspondence requiring them to remove the photo. If 10 days passes and the photo is sill online, an injunction can be filed. The company can be ordered to pay $1,000.00 per day, and also subject the company to claims of unfair or deceptive trade practices for their extortionist activity of demanding money to remove an arrest photograph.
This new law, as well as the State of California’s prosecution of 4 South Florida owners of Mugshots.com with charges of extortion, money laundering, and identity theft, is giving those who have had their records Sealed or Expunged some recourse over those who refuse to take the sealed mug shots off of their website.
Until your record is either sealed or expunged, you have no legal basis to ask for a booking mug shot to be removed online. Until the record is Sealed or Expunged, the photograph is considered a public record, and as such, the sheriff that runs the local jail is not prohibited from posting that booking photograph. Others can then repost this public information. Once a record is Sealed or Expunged, the sheriff removes the photograph pursuant to a court order, and then the private companies must consider complying with your request to remove this reminder of your arrest, or face legal consequences.
In addition to being able to remove the booking photograph from the internet, did you know that once your record is either Sealed or Expunged, you can legally deny in person or on any application (i.e. job application) that your arrest ever happened, except when you are:
- Applying to a criminal justice agency,
- A defendant in a criminal prosecution,
- Applying for a subsequent Petition to Seal or Expunge,
- Applying to the Florida Bar,
- Applying to the Dept. of Children and Families,
- Applying to the Department of Education,
- Attempting to purchase a gun and is subject to criminal history check.
- Applying to the Division of Insurance Agent,
- Applying for the position of a Guardian,
- Applying to the Bureau of Licensing.
To qualify to have a select criminal court record Sealed, you must meet the following criteria:
- The Court must have withheld adjudication on the charge,
- You must not have had a criminal conviction for any offense, including criminal traffic offenses, such as Reckless Driving or even Expired Tag > 6 months,
- You must not have has never previously had any previous record Sealed or Expunged.
To qualify to have a select criminal record Expunged, you must meet the following criteria:
- The record must have either been No-Filed by the State Attorney’s Office, Dismissed by the Court, or a Nolle Prosequi was filed by the State Attorney’s Office.
- You must not have had a criminal conviction for any other offense, including criminal traffic offenses, such as Reckless Driving or even Expired Tag > 6 months,
- You must not have ever previously had a previous record Sealed or Expunged.
In addition to the above qualifications, there are also a series of offenses that despite the outcome of the case in Court, are still not able to be either Sealed or Expunged.
If you are not sure if you can have your charge Sealed or Expunged, having trouble with an online photograph, or you have any other issues about the removal of criminal charges contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Taracks & Associates, at 813-281-2897.
We offer a Free Consultation, to discuss your eligibility to have your record Sealed or Expunged, or how to get those online mug shots removed.