Online Shaming: One More Reason You Need an Expungement20-May-2015
In this social media age, even law enforcement is getting in on the act. Both the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office and the Oklahoma City Police Department, as well as other law enforcement agencies around the state, have Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, and more. This can be a good thing as they work for public safety, but it can also bring significant problems for people who are arrested by these agencies.
Both the OCSO and the OCPD post pictures of suspects and mugshots of arrested people. While there may be a legitimate need to post a picture of a suspect if public safety is endangered by an at-large suspect, typically these measures amount to little more than public shaming, particularly when it comes to posting mugshots.
Remember, an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction, and just because someone is arrested for a particular crime does not mean that he or she ultimately
committed the crime. Having a mugshot splashed across the internet can be embarrassing, and it can cause significant problems for the arrestee. In
most cases, law enforcement social media managers do not go back and remove mugshots after a short period of time, after the charges are dismissed,
or after the defendant is acquitted. Having this social "record" of an arrest seems unjust.
That is one reason why it is so important to have your criminal record expunged. While an expungement does not require law enforcement to remove your mugshot from a social network, it does clear your criminal record--in some cases, even your arrest record. If someone stumbles across your mugshot and asks about your arrest, you can truthfully respond that although you were arrested, you have no criminal record.
In fact, state law says that a record sealed pursuant to an expungement "shall be deemed never to have occurred." Even if a prospective employer sees your mugshot online, you are not required to disclose information about the sealed records, nor may you be denied employment solely on your refusal to talk about the matter:
Employers, educational institutions, state and local government agencies, officials, and employees shall not, in any application or interview or otherwise, require an applicant to disclose any information contained in sealed records. An applicant need not, in answer to any question concerning arrest and criminal records provide information that has been sealed, including any reference to or information concerning such sealed information and may state that no such action has ever occurred. Such an application may not be denied solely because of the applicant's refusal to disclose arrest and criminal records information that has been sealed. 22 O.S. § 19(F)
Click here to find out more about your options for record expungement, or call (405) 778-4800 to speak with an Oklahoma expungement lawyer about your case.
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