The Problem with Publishing Mugshots Online
Many websites publicize arrest information. Even charges that were dismissed or arrests that occurred due to law enforcement error may appear on such websites, and these websites often charge a fee to remove an individual’s criminal record information. While these websites profit, many individuals are denied employment or housing opportunities due to the publishing of their arrest information.
Georgia’s Laws on Mugshots
Georgia Justice Project supported two changes in Georgia law to address the issue of online mugshot publication.
2013: Mugshot Removal – Ga. Code Ann. §10-1-393.5
Requires mugshot companies to remove photos free of charge if an arrest is eligible for restriction or has been restricted. The websites must remove photos within 30 days of receiving a written request. Websites that fail to comply will face civil and criminal penalties.
2014: Mugshots Online – Ga. Code. Ann. §35-1-18
Prohibits law enforcement from publishing mugshots online and prevents mugshot companies from accessing booking photos for the purpose of publishing them online and charging removal fees.
Resources for Assistance with Mugshot Removal
If you have an arrest that is eligible to be restricted and/or has been restricted, and you would like to request removal of mugshot and arrest information, you must send a written request with your name, date of birth, arrest date, and name of the arresting agency. It must be sent to the mugshot company via certified mail with return receipt requested, or statutory overnight delivery. You may include a copy of the final disposition obtained from the clerk of court where your case was resolved, but it is not required. Please see attached or visit www.GJP.org for a sample mugshot removal letter.
If a company fails to remove your arrest booking photograph within 30 days, you can submit a complaint with the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division. Visit www.consumer.georgia.gov/consumer-topics/mugshot-websites for details.
Georgia Justice Project does not assist with mugshot removals, but we may be able to assist you with criminal record restriction and sealing. For more information about our Criminal Records Program, call our intake line at 404-827-0027 ext. 238 or visit www.GJP.org.