An arrest can leave you with a long to-do list. There are fines to pay, lawyers to consult with, prosecutors to meet and family members to apologize to. It's likely that the weeks that follow an arrest involve a lot of running around and cleanup work. You might be tempted to deal with your online mugshot later, just because you have so much other work to do.
We'd like to make you think twice about that. Here are five reasons your mugshot removal should be at the top of your to-do list.
1. They're popular.
As long as there have been mugshots, there have been people who want to look at them. As a writer for The New Yorker puts it, the photos are popular because they are, "gossipy, visually stimulating, and free." People just like to look at images of other people who are down on their luck, especially if they have the opportunity to see someone they know.
Put it this way: A mugshot gallery is a spot in which people can spy on one another, and see what their friends and neighbors look like when things are going badly. The sites can be a nasty little pleasure that people simply cannot do without.
If your photo appears on a site like this, chances are good that hundreds of thousands of people will see it. These sites get a huge amount of traffic every single day, and each viewer might be thrilled to see your photo.
2. They often go viral.
Many mugshot websites don't lock down their photos, so they're easy to copy and share. That means a particularly notable mugshot can go viral in minutes. Readers might share that photo on social media and see it take off, or they might blog about it or email it. When that happens, it's almost impossible to control the damage.
Just ask Jeremy Weeks. In June of 2014, he was arrested in California, and his mugshot was posted on Facebook. Within about 4 days, his mugshot had racked up 86,000 likes and had been shared 11,000 times, according to news reports. Now, when I run a search for this man's name, the details of his arrest are the first things I see. It's hard to imagine that he'll ever be able to erase this from his history.
3. They're easy to find on a web search.
Even if your mugshot doesn't achieve the level of fame seen by Jeremy Weeks, it might still haunt you when people search for you online. Why? Because most people search by name and location. And not coincidentally, that's the same information mugshot websites enter for each photo they post.
On Google, your mugshot could appear in two places when people search for your name:
- Up top in the "carousel" of images Google has associated with your name.
- Down below in the mugshot websites.
The same site could be indexed twice by Google and appear in results twice. Just think about how devastating that could be to your reputation.
4. They make you seem guilty, even if you're not.
An arrest doesn't mean guilt. You'll need to go through a trial and conviction for that, in most cases. However, a mugshot can make you seem incredibly guilty. The bad lighting, the jumpsuits, the board with numbers… It's a familiar setting that most people associate with criminal activity and guilt.
That association could stick in the minds of people who see your photo. And when that happens, they'll assume you're guilty, even if you're not. That could be hard for you to explain.
5. They could cost you a job.
If people do think you're guilty, that could keep you away from a great new job. Consider this: Researchers suggest that 80 percent of employers go to Google before they offer a candidate the opportunity to interview for a job. That means a potential employer might not even give you the chance to explain your mugshot. You may never get the opportunity to speak, all because that person has seen your mugshot.
If you're feeling motivated to get those mugshots removed right now, we'd like to help. Click here to find out more about our stellar mugshot removal services.