State rep takes on mugshot websites - FOX 35 News Orlando

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State rep takes on mugshot websites

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Sophia Andrade is woman who is on many mugshot sites, and for a crime she didn't even commit. Sophia Andrade is woman who is on many mugshot sites, and for a crime she didn't even commit.
ATLANTA -

At first, it was crazy celebrities whose mugshots began showing up online. Now, everyday people pop up on some very popular mugshot sites. It can be embarrassing not for a minute, but indefinitely.

Sophia Andrade is woman who is on many of mugshot sites, and for a crime she didn't even commit.

The court may have figured out the error, but Andrade says these mugshot sites won't take down her pictures unless she pays them. It's a common complaint, and a state representative wants to see these sites lose the ability to make money off of other people's misery.

It was a decade-old shot of actor Nick Nolte that got the everybody talking about celebrity mugshots, and the idea caught on. Nationwide, jailhouse mugshots turned into money making Internet criminal yearbook.

Under Andrade's mugshot it says she was locked up for domestic violence.  But, behind the random mugshot is a real person devastated by her arrest.   

"It was surreal. I just stood there. I cried endlessly cause I didn't know what was going to happen," said Andrade.

Andrade says it was all a big mistake.  She says her husband, after she'd asked for a divorce, filed a domestic violence claim against her. She was arrested, but that's about as far as it got.

"The charge was thrown out. So, I went through the process of trying to repair my life. I thought it was going to be, like, expunge your record and move on. Chalk it up as a bad experience," said Andrade.  

The court did erase her record, but the mughot lives on. Two years later, it's still on several web sites. She says one web site wants to charge several hundred dollars to have it removed. But then there is no guarantee it won't pop up on another site.

"I am not going to pay any of them. They're just extorting me and I'm not going to be a part of it," Andrade said.

Imagine yourself in a jail processing room.  No matter what you've done or maybe didn't do, that police photograph is now available to anybody who asks for it through the Open Records Act.  It's legal to post it. But there is one legislator who wants to stop these sites from profiting and turning somebody's bad day into the day that never ends.

"It will make it illegal for you to publish the information and then ask for a fee to take it down," said Rep. Roger Bruce, (D) District 64

It's not just one removal fee. Bruce says many of the mugshot web sites are connected, so one owner can charge to remove the same picture over and over again.

"And each time you're paying the same person or the same company," said Bruce.

The I-Team called one of the most well-known sites, mugshots.com. Their comment was "I don't have time for this, honey," and hung up the phone.

So, Andrade just remains another face on their Web site getting trampled by the internet's lasting footprint.

"It really affected me deeply. I was depressed for a little while. It was hard. It was hard. My kids were embarrassed about it," said Andrade.

This isn't just about innocent people having their mugshots online forever. There are plenty of people who've been arrested for pretty insignificant crimes, like forgetting to pay a ticket.

So, what do you do if you have a mugshot out there and you're job hunting? One major area employer told says don't bring it up, but if you're asked about it, don't lie, and be upfront about what happened.

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