Mugshots and Arrest Records in Florida
Mugshots in Florida
In the realm of law enforcement and criminal justice, mugshots in Florida play a significant role. But what is a mugshot?
A mugshot is a photographic portrait taken when an individual is arrested. This term hails from “mug,” which is slang for face, and “shot,” referring to the photograph. In Florida, as in most states, taking a mugshot is a standard part of the arrestee’s booking process.
After an arrest in Florida, law enforcement agencies record the suspect’s personal information and fingerprints and capture two photographs – a front view and a profile. These mugshots become an integral part of an individual’s Florida arrest records, which are generally open to the public unless expunged or sealed.
Why are Florida Mugshots Published Online?
“Mugshots Florida” might yield numerous results if you type it into a search engine. But why are these often unflattering photographs made public?
The primary reason is the United States’ commitment to openness and accountability within its criminal justice system. Florida’s Public Records Law categorizes most government documents, including mugshots and arrest records, as public information. This means any individual can access these records, and it’s perfectly legal for websites to publish them.
These websites might publish Florida arrest records and mugshots to keep the public informed about recent arrests, entertain, or simply make money for the website owner by generating ad revenue. But this practice raises a critical question: Can websites charge a fee to remove these mugshots?
The Business of Removing Mugshots in Florida
A contentious industry has grown around Florida mugshots in recent years. Certain websites publish mugshots and then charge a fee for their removal. This practice is widely viewed as exploitative and has led to legal changes.
Under Florida’s SB 1046 law, enacted in 2017, it’s illegal for websites to charge fees for removing mugshots. The law requires any website that publishes mugshots to take down the photo at no cost if the person in the photo submits a written request. If they don’t comply within ten days, they may face penalties.
While the public availability of mugshots and arrest records in Florida stems from a commitment to transparency and accountability, it’s essential to understand the potential personal implications. Knowing your rights concerning the publication and removal of mugshots is critical, particularly in Florida, where laws have been established to prevent misuse of this practice.
If your mugshot has been published online, remember that you’re not helpless. Under certain conditions, you have the right to demand its removal, and websites are legally bound to abide. If you encounter difficulties, it might be wise to consult a criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are fully protected.