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When an individual is arrested, their photograph, or “mug shot” is taken as a matter of police procedure at the precinct. Have you ever wondered what happens to the mug shots, especially when charges are dropped or the person is found not guilty? According, to David Segal of the New York Times, popular websites related to the publication of the mugshots are becoming extremely popular. In fact there are more than 80 mug shot sites up and running today. Many of the websites attempt to extort money out of people by claiming to remove the photographs for a price. As alarming as this sounds, what is even more is that people have paid to have a mug shot removed, only to have it appear on another site again asking for money.

The websites also show up high in Google Internet searches. What does this mean? When the name of a person is “Googled” if their mug shot is on one of the sites, it will be one of the top hits for the search. It is common practice nowadays for employers to “google” a prospective employee. If one of the top results is a mug shot, the likelihood of the person receiving an offer for that job is miniscule. Unfortunately, the web sites do not differentiate between mug shots of people convicted and those of people exonerated.

You may be asking if there is a way to prevent this from happening. It all starts with the steps taken in those minutes and days following an arrest. You must be proactive in choosing your defense counsel. Depending on how your case is resolved, the mug shot may possibly be sealed. The actions by your defense attorney in the days after an arrest can have long lasting impact on your future.

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You or a loved one has been arrested for a crime; it can be a scary and confusing time. What happens after the actual arrest? Before appearing in court, the arrestee will face about 24 hours going through the criminal system and eventually the first appearance will be made before a judge in Court. This is referred to as the arraignment. At an arraignment, the person arrested is referred to as the defendant. The defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney at the arraignment. Because of the importance of this first court appearance it is imperative that an attorney be present on behalf of the defendant.

At the arraignment the charges are read to the defendant by the judge and a plea may be entered. This can be extremely overwhelming for anyone to go through as the courtroom will be filled with many people including attorneys and other defendants. Remember, this is the first appearance and it is not time for a trial. However, the first important decision will be made by the judge at the arraignment – will the defendant remain in jail or will the defendant be released while the case proceeds? If the judge decides to release the defendant, bail may be set which must be posted before the release. This should not be left to chance. By hiring an experienced attorney for the arraignment, you will have representation from the very beginning and the attorney will fight for the best possible outcome, Consider the recent case of a first time defendant, Casey Kays, a teacher arrested for sending explicit texts to a student. Maybe he did or maybe he didn’t but would you want to be represented by a public defender or worse yet have nobody at your side in a situation like this. The Local TV station filmed and broadcasted the arrangement. A good lawyer may have prevented this situation and gotten a much lower bail.

“Casey Kays, 39, appeared Saturday in arraignment court at Louisville Metro Corrections, where he was being held after being arrested Friday. A judge set his bond at $1,000 cash and ordered him not to have any contact with minors after Kays and his public defender asked for a $500 bond.” Watch the arraignment of teacher accused of sending explicit text to a student

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It's important to trust your lawyer. His/Her job is to defend you and protect you from the system, whether you're innocent or guilty. If you committed the crime or participated in some way and don't feel comfortable telling your lawyer, you should get a different lawyer.

You're not helping yourself if you think your lawyer will do a better job if he/she thinks you're innocent. It's not a good lawyer/client relationship if you don't trust your lawyer enough to be truthful. Your lawyer can't advise you effectively if you keep things from her. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential, even if you eventually hire a different lawyer. The lawyer’s obligation is to her client, no matter who is paying the fee. Ask your lawyer to explain what's happening with your case. Don't think your questions are stupid just because you don't understand the system. It's a complicated system - that's why you need a lawyer’s help.

Just because your lawyer isn't in touch with you all the time, doesn't mean s/he isn't working on your case. There will be times when your lawyer may have to give priority to someone else's case. This is most likely to happen when s/he's doing a trial. Trial is the most important and difficult part of a case. It demands the most attention and concentration. Don't be upset if your lawyer can't appear on your case when He /She is on trial with another defendant. It doesn't mean your case isn't important, just that at this time, another client's case needs priority. You'll appreciate this when your case goes to trial. You wouldn't want your lawyer distracted by less pressing matters when you face your moment of truth.