With the advent of technology in the digital age, access to information has never been easier. This can be a good thing, but it also can be a detriment and an invasion of privacy. If you have online court records that are easily accessible with a quick Google search, it is understandable to want to remove them. Read on to find out how to do so.
Seal the Records
The first thing that you should try to do is get the records sealed or expunged. This means that the records will no longer be publicly accessible. Consequently, the only way that a member of the public could access them is if they had a court order. Keep in mind that these records may still appear on certain background checks, including if you were to apply for a gun license or a job as a police officer.
You can file a motion in court to seal a record and then pay a fee. The time it takes to process this request will depend on factors such as the severity of the crime, length of time since the incident occurred, and whether the record was a criminal or civil court case.
Request a Removal from Google
Google Support provides a form titled “Remove Content for Legal Reasons.” If you have completed the process to seal or expunge your court records, you have a valid reason to request the removal of the information. This is because it is no longer relevant and is spreading invalid data to potential employers or clients.
If your request to seal the record got denied or is still pending, this step will not work. As a result, Google will not have an obligation to remove the data, as it is still factual information that the public has a right to know.
Contact the Website Directly
Court records are usually found on third-party websites. They are rarely used for official legal purposes and are simply available for the public to view. These are what will show up on the Google search results. If you have successfully sealed or expunged your records, the database will eventually update. In turn, these third-party websites will take down your records and replace them with more current data.
You could also request a court order to remove the content and send it to the websites. When they see that the records are no longer current, they will likely remove the data from their sites.
Improve Your Reputation
If typing your business or personal name into Google is still bringing up bad memories, you can try to improve your online reputation. One way to accomplish this is by creating a website and branching out to external pages. Fill this space with blog posts, how-to documents, and paid sponsorship. Build your reputation back to where you feel comfortable about it again.
You also have the option of hiring a reputation management company. This company will do the work for you and make your brand name shine. They will put a positive spin on the incident that caused the public record and try to make you appear in a favorable light. The records will still be available to people who have a determination to find them, but they will be displayed much farther down in the search results.