Do you need to remove from your Google search results negative information concerning your court cases, or arrest records ? 


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How can you have local newspaper remove the record of my arrest on their website? You need to contact the editor again and diplomatically find out why he has not followed his stated policy of deleting the arrest record,especially since the charges were dropped [convictions are expunged, not arrests]. point out to him the harm it has caused you. I am not a libel expert but I think you do not have a legal case. Sorry. You were arrested and that is all the newspaper reported apparently. They had the right to report the arrest; the dismissal of the charges is a separate event. Charges can and are dismissed for reasons other than the DA feeling the party is innocent.

One of the first questions we are asked by client is whether or not an expungement order issues by the state in which the arrest took place will require these news articles to be removed from the Internet.  The short answer is no.


Perhaps your record has been expunged, or perhaps you are contemplating expunging your criminal record.   Regardless, you might be wondering whether it even makes sense to expunge your record so that it no longer shows up on criminal background checks when a quick Google search of your name will easily reveal your arrest information.


Expungement laws vary widely by state.  While some states allow for the expungement of criminal records (also known as sealing in some states) others do not.  Moreover, even assuming your state allows for the expungement of criminal records, you should be aware that the expungement order will only direct law enforcement agencies (such as the courts, police departments, or the FBI) to refrain from disclosing your expunged records in response to a background check request.

An expungement order in no way will require the press, news organizations, or any other private company to take down articles that mention the expunged matters.  In fact, to do so would violate the first amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Thus, expungement unfortunately will not force news organizations to remove the expunged information from the news article.  As discussed in further detail below, however, if we are able to provide news agencies with evidence that the record has been expunged, it will usually strengthen our case.


If a private website -- such as a newspaper or online database -- has published information about your criminal history, others may be able to find it even after your record is officially expunged or sealed. For this reason, it is important to conduct an online search for your name after your record is expunged, and to correct the information if possible.


You may contact the private website to request that it remove the out-of-date information about your criminal history. Be prepared to provide a copy of the court order showing that your record has been officially expunged or sealed. Also be forewarned that this procedure may take some time, and may not always lead to the results you want. For example, if an online news service posted a story about your arrest at the time it happened, it is under no legal obligation to remove that story later, even if no charges were brought against you or you were acquitted in court. Whether or not a news service will unpublish such an article depends on its policies and, sometimes, the moods of the individuals involved on the day that you ask. If you can document your expungement and you are persistent but polite, you may succeed in having old news stories removed.


Also, some government agencies may simply fall behind when it comes to removing criminal records from their databases. If your record continues to show up in a government database that should have removed it, contact the agency to learn when you can expect it to be removed. To expedite the process, you may need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Keep in mind that, after your record is expunged or sealed, you don’t have to disclose it when you apply for a job or housing, except in very limited circumstances described by state law. In other words, if a potential employer asks you whether you have a record, you can usually say “No,” as long as your record was officially erased or sealed. If the employer or landlord has stumbled across the stray information about your arrest or conviction, be prepared to prove that it was expunged and briefly explain the situation. Familiarize yourself with state laws that govern how others can use information about your criminal history -- including what employers are allowed to ask you about -- and assert your legal rights if necessary.


Removing a News Article from Google Search and the Internet


 If the news article you are attempting to remove is not false or defamatory, your options as far as removing the article go are limited.  In essence, the only way to remove the article is to directly contact the news agency or the individual that published the article and to request that they remove it.  This request is known in the industry as a request for “unpublishing.”

Whether or not the news agency will depend on the policies and procedures that agency has adopted in terms of unpublishing requests.  While some agencies have adopted a strict “no unpublishing” policy, often times news agencies have not adopted a formal policy regarding unpublishing requests.  In those cases, it is highly recommended that you retain a lawyer to advocate on your behalf and work to: (1) research whether or not it is possible to remove the content in your case; (2) find the right individual within the news agency to speak with regarding your request; and (3) convince the organization to remove the article, to amend it, or to come to some other agreement that will benefit you.


In addition to completely removing the article, other available options that news articles might agree to could include:


  • Publishing edits or corrections to articles that contain inaccurate or outdated information

  • Coding the webpage in a manner that will prevent the article from showing up in search results

  • Making other edits or corrections to the article that will make your identity anonymous


In determining whether or not to remove or amend a particular article, news organizations will take the following factors, among others, into consideration:


  • The reasons you are requesting an unpublishing

  • Whether you were ultimately convicted or found guilty of the criminal offense mentioned in the article

  • Whether you have had the criminal offense mentioned in the article expunged from your record

  • The age of the news article

  • Whether you were a minor at the time the article was written

  • Whether the news article is inaccurate in any way


In short, you will usually one have one chance to “make your pitch” as to why the news agency should remove or amend the article in your case.  Thus, it is vital that you retain an experienced news article removal lawyer to persuade a news organization to unpublish your article.