The Arrest Aftermath – Internet DUI Record
In the era of readily accessible information, erasing your past from the internet may be the long awaited sequel to the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Background check businesses make arrest records easily available today, while mug shot websites display your mug shot arrest photo with a simple search. Simultaneously, the mug shot removal service has emerged to meet this plight, turning it into a lucrative business opportunity. Individuals with an arrest record can spend thousands of dollars attempting to remove their mug shot from the internet. This expense can become a tumultuous cycle as new websites pop up, making the mug shot available, yet again. Sixty new mug shot websites have emerged in the past couple of years alone. It is legal to post your arrest photo online as it is considered publicly available information. Legislation in some states has stepped up to ease the blow of this booming industry, but meaningful restrictions are still slow on the rise. In September 2014, California enacted a law which makes it illegal for websites to charge state residents a fee to in order to have their mug shot arrest photo removed. In Arizona, it is still permissible for companies to charge a fee in order to remove your mug shot upon request. And the fee is not cheap, especially considering the number of mug shot websites in existence.
The easily accessible arrest record and display of the mug shot on the internet can have rather taunting implications on one’s livelihood. An arrest record, even for a minor infraction, may affect one’s ability to obtain an education, own a home, or gain meaningful employment. Most employers and even financial institutions perform background checks which are easy and cheap to obtain. The online mug shot aggravates the impact as nothing can be quite as graphic or telling as a picture. The consequences are certainly haunting, even more so for those who were wrongfully arrested, or whose charges were later dismissed.
A communication barrier between the background check business, the court system, and the FBI exacerbates this dilemma. A finding of “not guilty” or a direct dismissal of you criminal charge in court does not eviscerate the lingering effects of the ‘publicly available information’ stigma. The arrest record does not update with information of a dismissal or a conviction. Moreover, if the charges were never filed due to a wrongful arrest or otherwise, the arrest record does not update this information either.
Keeping a record of your police and court documents is essential in case a third party requires additional proof of the outcome. The court system may not keep complete files after a certain period of time. A file can also slip through the cracks. In some instances, the arrest record is no longer available due to poor administrative handling at the police department, or the arrest dates too far back.
If possible, it is imperative that you seek to expunge your criminal charge. An Expungement is the closest available process to wipe the traces from your criminal past. In Arizona, a “Set Aside of Judgment” is the equivalent to expunging your criminal record. This process may have a positive effect on employers and financial institutions, especially when the background check may not tell the whole story. If you were, in fact, convicted, expunging your criminal record informs a third party that you have complied with all necessary provisions of your conviction. It can even help restore your voting rights and right to own a gun, if these rights have been restricted as a result of your conviction.
To find out if you qualify to set aside your criminal charge, contact the Oracle Law Group Office for assistance.