UPDATE: This Bill was signed by Governor Deal and became effective on May 6, 2013.
Clients who are facing criminal charges are often embarrassed about the situation and worried about who will find out, especially an employer. They are especially worried when they discover their mugshot has been published on the internet. Unfortunately, there are an endless number of websites that make money by posting mugshots from all around the country, headless of the facts of any particular case.
This can often be detrimental to a person’s reputation and employment. The harsh consequences are especially unfair in cases where the charges are subsequently dropped or dismissed. These website’s capitalize on that vulnerability by charging a fee to have your mugshot removed from their site. However, the arrest photo often pops up on another similar site shortly thereafter. A person could spend a small fortune trying to eradicate every posting on the web.
The Georgia Legislature has introduced a bill to put a stop to this. HB 150 proposes that an individual can send a written request to have the mugshot removed from a site, free of charge. A failure to comply with such request would be a violation of the law. This would apply to situations were the case was never referred to prosecution, the case was dismissed prior to indictment, the case was dismissed or nolle prossed after indictment, the case was subject to the Georgia First Offender Acct, or several other similar situations.
The law does not set forth any particular punishment for a violation, but is specific that anyone conducting such activities for profit is going to be subject to the suit here in Georgia, regardless of where they are located.
You can follow this bill, or any other, at the Georgia General Assembly.