4701 Oleander Drive, Suite A
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
After the arrest, jail, and bond hearing, you immediately found and retained the best SC criminal defense attorney that you could find.
You didn’t do it. You were not guilty, your attorney knew you were telling the truth, and your lawyer fought tooth and nail to put together the evidence you needed and get your case dismissed. After the case was dismissed, you had all records of the arrest and prosecution expunged. Finally, the nightmare is over…
Or so you thought.
Now you’re staring at your computer screen, and staring back at you is your mugshot, in all its glory. Someone – not the police, just some company – has broadcast this humiliating piece of your life to the world. Will your boss see it? Your customers? Your mother-in-law?
You track down the website operator and ask that the information be removed, and they say they won’t remove it unless you pay them. What the…!
Luckily, South Carolina lawmakers have recognized this for what it is – blackmail – and have passed a law to put an end to it. But, of course, that doesn’t always stop people from trying.
In 2016, SC lawmakers passed the “mugshot extortion bill” to put an end to this kind of strong-arm business model. The law makes it illegal to publish information about a person’s arrest and then demand money to remove it. Specifically, the law prohibits:
Violations of the law can lead to fines of up to $1,000 or 60 days in jail. Lawmakers also authorized a cause of action for anyone who has been targeted by “mugshot extortion” to file a civil case to recover damages, costs, and attorney fees.
So, what do you do if your arrest information and booking photo still show up online?
You should immediately call your SC criminal defense attorney at Axelrod and Associates. We will need to:
If they demand payment, we can report them to law enforcement. Anyone who publishes your arrest information and asks for money to take it down is committing a crime in SC that is punishable by jail time and fines.
Just publishing the information is not necessarily a problem – when you are charged with a crime, that information is a public record.
It is subject to Freedom of Information requests, it can be released by law enforcement or government agencies, and it can be reported by the media, individuals, or other companies.
However, even if no payment is being demanded, SC law allows you to send your written request, and, if they don’t comply, you can file a civil suit to force them to remove the information.
Once your charge has been dismissed or expunged, or you have been found not guilty, continuing to publish information about your arrest may be defamation and you may have a lawsuit against them depending on the circumstances.
If your criminal case was dismissed and expunged, but some company is still displaying your arrest and booking information for the world to see, call your SC personal injury lawyer at Axelrod and Associates today at 843-353-3449 or fill out our online contact form to find out how we can help.
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