Removal of Mugshots Under Florida Law And Florida Statute §901.43, et. al.
The publishing of mug shots by private companies seeking to make money from arrests is a practice that is now actionable under Florida Statute § 901.43.
Indeed, companies have been profiting from these mug-shot publications by asking for payment from the arrestee to remove the mug shot.
As recently as the legislative session of 2021, the Florida Legislature enacted F.S. § 901.43(1) which makes it unlawful for a private company to disseminate mug shots and ask for a fee. Moreover, under Florida Statute 901.43(2) demand can be made to the company making the publication, to remove the mug shot. After receipt of the demand letter, the company has 10 days to take down the publication. If it fails to do so, a lawsuit can be filed, entitling the claimant to an injunction, and all attorney fees and costs. Additionally, if the company violates the injunction, the Court may impose a penalty of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) per day . See Florida Statute, §901.43(3)(a).
Additionally, if a company republishes the mug shot after it has been caused to take it down, an additional penalty of $5,000 per day may be imposed.
It is noteworthy to point out that this statute does not require an expungement of a sealing of the record. Instead, simply upon request to take down a mug shot, even if there is a conviction, is protected under this statute.
Case law has also made it clear that in addition to the protections afforded by Florida Statute Chapter 901, additional protections exist under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (FDUPTA) as codified by Florida Statutes Chapter 501, et. al., and expungement protections as codified and delineated under Florida Statute §943.0585, §943.0582 and §943.059.
Moreover, in addition to the protections afore-described, Florida Privacy Laws and Defamation claims may be available depending on the circumstances of your claims and harms.
You should be mindful that each circumstance is unique, and you should consult with an experienced expungement attorney or an attorney with experience in pursuing misappropriation of likeness claims.