FL New Mugshot Law: Can You Get Your Mugshot Off The Internet? (2024)

Pumphrey LawBlogFlorida’s New Mugshot Law: Can You Get Your Mugshot Removed from the Internet?

July 14, 2021 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Seal or Expunge Criminal Record

Florida’ new mugshot law[1] came into effect on July 1, 2021 and provides Floridians with mugshots a remedy and means to fight against companies who post their mugshots online without consent. This new law requires that companies who publish mugshots remove the photos if requested by the person depicted in the photograph. If the company does not remove the photograph after being requested to do so, they could face penalties, like a $1,000 penalty if the issue is not remedied within ten days of receipt of a written notice. This new law, originally Senate Bill 1046 (“SB-1046”), was adopted unanimously by the Florida Legislature during the 2021 legislative session and signed into law on June 21, 2021 by Governor Ron DeSantis.[2] This bill applies only to businesses, persons, companies, or entities whose primary business model is the publishing and distributing of arrest booking pictures for a commercial purpose or financial gain.

Timeline[3]

  • February 3, 2021 – The Senate files the bill.
  • February 10, 2021 – The bill is referred to the Criminal Justice Committee and the Commerce and Tourism Committee.
  • February 25, 2021 – Introduced onto the Criminal Justice Committee agenda.
  • March 2, 2021 – The bill is voted favorable by the Criminal Justice Committee with 8 unanimous votes.
  • March 3, 2021 – Introduced onto the Commerce and Tourism Committee agenda.
  • March 10, 2021 – The Commerce and Tourism Committee speak about the bill.
  • March 15, 2021 – The bill is voted favorable by the Commerce and Tourism Committee with 11 unanimous votes.
  • March 16, 2021 – The bill is pending reference review under Rule 4.7(2).
  • March 17, 2021 – The bill is now in the Rules.
  • March 22, 2021 – Introduced onto the Rules Committee agenda.
  • March 25, 2021 – The bill is voted favorable by the Rules Committee with 17 unanimous votes.
  • April 1, 2021 – The bill is placed on the Special Order Calendar.
  • April 7, 2021 – The bill adopts amendments and passes unanimously with the amendments with 40 unanimous votes.
  • April 8, 2021 – The bill is referred to the House Calendar.
  • April 14, 2021 – The House reads the bill and it is voted favorable with 118 unanimous votes.
  • June 18, 2021 – It is signed by Officers and presented to the Governor
  • June 21, 2021 – It is approved by Governor Ron DeSantis.
  • June 23, 2021 – The bill now becomes Chapter Number 2021-132.

What Does the New Bill Say?

This new bill prohibits businesses or companies from publishing or otherwise disseminating mugshots and soliciting or accepting a fee or other form of payment to remove the photographs after being requested to do so.[4] It also states that, when an arrested person’s booking photograph is published online or in print, the individual or their legal representative can request, in writing, that the photo be removed. This written requested must be sent by registered mail and include sufficient proof of identification of the individual depicted in the photograph If the company or business does not remove the photograph within ten calendar days after receipt of the written request for removal, the individual can pursue civil action against them. The company cannot ever republish or disseminate the photograph after removal. The court can impose a civil penalty of $1,000 per day for noncompliance for companies who do not remove the photograph after being requested to do so in writing. The court can also award reasonable attorney fees and court costs related to the issuance and enforcement of the injunction to prohibit the publishing of the images, payable to the General Revenue Fund.

If a company or business was required to remove a mugshot and they later republish the image, the person whose picture is republished or redistributed can bring a civil action to enjoin the continued publication or dissemination of the photograph. The court can impose a civil penalty of $5,000 per day for noncompliance with an injunction prohibiting such publishing, and, again, can take reasonable attorney fees and related court costs from the company or business payable to the General Revenue Fund.

Additionally, if the company or busines refuses to remove or republishes a mugshot that they have received a written notice regarding, this action will constitute an unfair or deceptive trade practice pursuant to Chapter 501.

  • This blog post is intended purely for informational purposes, the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm does not assist in the removal of mugshot or arrest booking photographs*

This article was written by Gabi D’Esposito

[1] Senate Bill 1046: Arrest Booking Photographs, available at: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/1046.

[2] John Haughey, New Florida law penalizes publishers for not removing mugshots on demand, Washington Examiner, available at: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/new-florida-law-penalizes-publishers-for-not-removing-mugshots-on-demand.

[3] Senate Bill 1046 History, available at: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/1046/?Tab=BillHistory.

[4] Senate Bill 1046: Arrest Booking Photographs, available at: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/1046.

FL New Mugshot Law: Can You Get Your Mugshot Off The Internet? (2024)
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