In recent years, certain websites have profited off arrests made in Miami, FL by collecting booking photos from recent arrests and posting those pictures online. The posting of these photographs can have an immediate negative effect for defendants because there arrest photos would be accessible within days of their arrests by employers, family, and friends.
These websites would commonly then only agree to remove the photographs from the website if the defendant paid a monetary fee. This form of extortion preyed on the weakness and vulnerabilities of defendants who were supposed to be entitled to the presumption of innocence until found guilty in court.
Fortunately, the legislature made recent changes to Florida law under Florida Statue 901.43 making it illegal for any business to solicit or accept fees in exchange for removal of the booking photos. In addition, the law provides remedies for defendants who have booking photos online by allowing them to demand in writing that the photographs be removed. If the business fails to remove the photographs from the website within 10 calendar days of receipt of the notice, then they could be subjected to a civil penalty of a $1,000 per day and attorney’s fees.
What is the process for removing my mugshot photo in Miami, FL?
Florida statute 901.43 requires that written notice be sent to the registered agent or person or entity who published the booking photo. The written request must be sent by registered mail and include sufficient information of the individual in the photograph.
What are the penalties if the mugshot is not removed?
After proper written notice is made to the person or entity to remove the mugshot photo, then after 10 days the person or entity can be subjected to a civil penalty of $1,000 a day plus attorney’s fees. Refusal to remove a booking photograph can also constitute an unfair or deceptive trade practice under Florida law.
Can I hire an attorney to demand that the mugshot photo be removed?
Yes, the statute specifically provides that the written request can be made by either the individual or his/her legal representative.
What other options do I have?
The most powerful way to remove a mugshot photograph is to have your arrest and court record either sealed or expunged. If you are eligible for sealing or expunging, then a criminal judge would sign an order that would order all law enforcement and courts to either destroy or seal the records. For more information on sealing or expunging your record, click here: https://www.hubbslawfirm.com/state-criminal-defense/expunction/.
If you have been arrested or need legal representation in Miami, FL, contact us today at (305) 570-4802 to let us get started on your case.
Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.