A bill that would prohibit the practice of private mugshot websites charging a fee to remove booking photos is making its way through the Minnesota legislature. HF1940 would modify the language of Minnesota Statute § 13.82 to prohibit the publishing of a booking photograph if that website requires payment of a fee to remove the mugshot.
Currently websites such as mugshots.com and bustedmugshots.com collect publicly available mugshots and post them online for anyone to see. The problem is that even if the person was never charged with a crime or had the charges dismissed, the mugshot remains on the website unless you pay the website’s removal fee. Even those who have had their criminal record expunged by a judge’s order still need to pay the mugshot removal fee. A quick check of mugshots.com reveals a fee of $399 to remove one mugshot. The cost rises substantially if you want to remove multiple booking photos.
The proposed bill would prohibit publishing a booking photograph if the website requires a fee to remove the photo. Additionally, in cases where no charges were ever filed or there was no conviction, the law would require the websites to delete the mugshots immediately. Fines for violating the proposed law begins at $500 per posted photograph and can climb to $1,500 if the website continues to ignore the law.
Read the entire bill here.
Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota criminal defense and expungement attorney who regularly helps clients attempting to seal arrest and conviction records.