One unfortunate byproduct of newspapers going digital is that online arrest records are now published on the internet. Moreover, what is published online usually stays online forever – for all to easily see. Sometimes these articles can appear years after the charges are filed, due to the news archive recently being digitized. What’s worse, some of these articles are misleading or even inaccurate.
While newspapers can report the details of arrests, they are under no legal obligation to update or remove these stories, even after the criminal charges have been dismissed and/or expunged. Obviously, it’s not very useful to have your criminal record cleared when the original charges top your Google search results.
News articles regarding arrests can have devastating impacts on people’s lives. These articles can not only cause people to lose jobs, careers, and livelihoods, but they also strain and sever relationships with family, friends, and significant others. At Katherine O’Brien Law, we understand how damaging these articles can be.
Many believe that there is no way to remove these articles, but this is simply not true. In fact, at Katherine O’Brien Law, unless we are successful in removing or deindexing your news article, you owe us no fee.
Important Removal Tip! It is important not to google your name and then click on the negative news articles. Every time you or someone else does this, it tells Google that the negative news article is relevant, and Google thereby increases the ranking of that article, meaning it will increase the article’s position in the search engine results page. Thus, rather than googling and clicking on the article, keep the direct URL of the article saved and only access the article by clicking on the direct URL.
Understanding Your Options for Removing Court Records
There is a lot of misinformation on the internet regarding the removal of news articles relating to arrests. Thus, before hiring a removal service or lawyer to represent you, it is important that you fully understand your options.
If your arrest was published up by an online newspaper, there are generally three options available to you, each of which is discussed below.
- Complete Removal/Unpublishing
Hands down, the best solution is to have the article permanently removed, or “unpublished.” In order to accomplish this, you will need to reach out directly to the publisher directly and convince them to remove it. Once they delete the article, Google will automatically stop showing it in search results.
In an effort to sell you their article suppression services, some reputation management services will tell you that this is impossible to accomplish complete removal of these articles. It is, however, possible to completely remove these articles from the internet. That being said, it’s not an easy feat to accomplish and any attempts to do so must be carefully planned out and strategic.
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we understand that news agencies are under no legal obligation to remove your article. Therefore, we refrain from threatening to sue or sending other hostile demands or other correspondence and, instead, take a diplomatic approach to the situation. Moreover, when approaching a news organization regarding removal, the news article removal lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law understand that it is important to understand how newspaper publishers and editors view unpublishing requests and tailor our communications accordingly.
Specifically, we know that editors are more likely to unpublish an article that is viewed as inaccurate or unfair or one that is misleading or contains inflammatory or defamatory language or comments. Thus, it is important that a trained attorney review the underlying court records, together with the article in question, in order to point out anything that can be seen as misleading, inaccurate, or defamatory. We also understand that editors are not likely to respond well to certain arguments, such as those regarding the need for privacy of your information, among others. These insights drastically increase our chances of article removal.
Newspapers are an important historical resource, and they’re proud of this fact. As such, they can be quite hostile to the idea of deleting or removing published articles. Sometimes, news agencies will refuse to completely remove the article. For example, the details of your offense might be listed in a police blotter type of “news” article, along with other defendants with unrelated cases. The news agency might not want to delete the article in its entirety due to the fact that it would delete information unrelated to your case. Other times, the news agency might just flat out refuse to permanently remove the article.
This is where having a lawyer — as a trained negotiator — is vital. The skilled lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law don’t give up. Even after being told “no,” we will continue to persuasively and creatively negotiate with the publisher to reach some other beneficial outcome. This could include redacting your name completely from the article or making other edits or corrections to the article that will make your identity anonymous.
Sometimes, despite even a skilled attorney’s best efforts, the news agency refuses to remove or redact the article. Fortunately, there are a couple of other options for mitigating the reputation damage an online article can cause.
Deindexing from Google
Deindexing means removing a link from Google so that the content is no longer visible in search results when someone googles your name. Although the article still exists, it would only be accessed if someone has a direct link to the URL (in which case they already knew about the article to begin with) or if someone goes to the website where the article is posted and finds it there.
First, understand that Google does not create or control online content. Thus, in order to remove content, you need to reach out directly to the publisher. If the publisher refuses to remove the content, then Google may still agree to remove the article from its search results if it violates its terms of service.
If the news article removal lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law are not successful at removing the article entirely, this is the next best option for almost all of our clients. Rather than reaching out to the website administrator to remove it, we will instead reach out directly to Google and advance arguments as to why they should deindex the article.
As discussed above, the news article removal lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law guarantee that we will either permanently remove or deindex your article – or you owe us nothing.
Search Engine Suppression
In the event that complete removal or deindexing is not possible, the next-best solution for most clients is search engine suppression. This process involves creating and posting positive internet content (such as blog posts, social media profiles, etc.) regarding you in an effort to push down — or suppress — the negative content down in search results where it is less likely to be seen.
Thus, if when you google your name, the news article or articles regarding your arrest appear on the first page of Google, content suppression services will push them down so that they are harder to see. Of course, with content suppression, the negative articles still exist online, and might in fact still be found. When complete removal and deindexing have failed, however, this solution is better than nothing as it at least makes the article(s) harder to find.
For some clients, we might recommend search engine suppression as the best course of action for their particular situation. Although content removal is the best possible solution to negative online content, it is not always possible to accomplish this, particularly when the content in question is newsworthy or has not been dismissed or expunged. Fortunately, content removal is not your only option for dealing with negative news articles.
How Long Does the Process Take?
The time frame for article removal varies widely from case to case. While some cases take only a couple of weeks to complete, others might take several months. When we need to request and obtain further information or documentation (such as underlying court records), this can add to the overall processing time. Most cases, however, are resolved within three months.
No Fee Unless We Successfully Remove or Deindex
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we handle news article removal cases on a contingency basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless we successfully remove or deindex your article. Thus, we guarantee you that we will either remove or deindex your article, or you pay nothing.
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we represent clients on news article removal services nationwide. Thus, regardless of where you are located, we can help remove or suppress your negative online content.
Why Choose Us?
When removing online news articles, you have the choice between hiring an attorney to represent you or an online reputation management company. There are several reasons why you should always choose an attorney over an internet-based service run by non-lawyers.
First, unfortunately, there are many scams operating online that purport to offer article removal services. Some of these companies are even owned and operated by or closely associated with the same people who operate mugshot and other police blotter websites. Thus, these people are essentially extorting you. Moreover, many of these companies are located abroad and cannot be held accountable for their conduct. Attorneys, however, are ethically and professionally regulated by state bar associations. As such, we are always acting with your best interests in mind.
With reputation management companies, your case will be handled by a “reputation specialist.” At Katherine O’Brien Law, your case will be handled by an experienced lawyer, who is not only well versed in content removal techniques and strategies but who is a trained negotiator by profession. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized, since the removal of your article will ultimately come down to how your case is presented.
In addition, our contingency fee structure is the most advantageous for you as the client. Most lawyers who handle content removal service do so on an hourly basis, meaning that you must pay the lawyer for their work, regardless of whether or not they are successful in removing the content. This type of fee structure can incentivize lawyers to rack up legal bills, regardless of any ultimate benefit to the client.
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we don’t get paid unless we remove or deindex your article. This incentivizes us to work hard to obtain removal. Moreover, since we charge a flat rate of $3,000.00 per article successfully removed, you can rest easy knowing what your legal bill will be.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you have questions regarding news article removal, call today to speak with one of our content removal lawyers for a free consultation. You can reach us at (856) 832-2482 or by filling out our Contact Form.