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Internet mug shots meant to shame people before conviction

Anyone in Maryland who has been stopped by police, arrested and spent the night in jail knows how embarrassing it can be to deal with a drunk driving charge. Just because a Montgomery County resident has been arrested, however, doesn't mean he or she has been or ever will be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol; a mug shot doesn't mean a person is guilty of anything. Sadly, not everyone realizes this and many websites are now capitalizing on it.

Even if someone hasn't done anything wrong, it may be embarrassing to have one's picture on the internet with a criminal charge. For people in sensitive jobs, such as teachers, there is a huge pressure to remove any trace of an arrest and many Internet entrepreneurs are putting mug shots online with the apparent goal to charge exorbitant prices to remove the picture.

Mug shots are public information and can often be found on sheriff or police department websites, but when an Internet business puts that picture on its own website in an effort to shame someone before they have even gone to trial it causes problems. It is a fundamental right that anyone arrested is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but these websites are trying to profit on the misconception that a mug shot or an arrest implies guilt.

In some cases, there are websites that charge around $400 to remove a mug shot from a website. While publishing mug shots isn't exactly new, putting them online makes them much more accessible than before.

Regardless of if your mug shot has been put online, it is important to get a strong criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with drunk driving. The negative consequences that follow a conviction are often too harsh to try and deal without the help of a legal professional.

Source: ABC News, "Businesses Charge Hundreds To Remove Mug Shots Online," Susanna Kim, April 23, 2012

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
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Silver Spring, MD 20910

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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013