We build trust through reputation.

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Many things can severely impact your image in the eyes of the world. However, not all are as trivial as simply posting a disagreeable comment on social media. Sometimes, we find ourselves in legal trouble that puts us in a terrible position. Specifically, if you have ever been arrested for a crime, you will find that your reputation will have taken a major hit. After all, trouble within the bounds of the law can utterly shatter the faith the public has in you. This can ruin your life personally and professionally unless you clean up your reputation.

Finding ways to undo an arrest’s effects on your overall reputation is not easy. After all, little can be done in many regards since most crimes are grievous enough to warrant lifelong destruction of your reputation. However, when it comes to more commonplace and minor crimes, you might find that you have a better chance of recovering from the hit your reputation has taken if you are willing to take the appropriate steps. With this article, we hope to provide some potential measures you can take to clean up your reputation following your arrest.

Step #1: Gauge the Media Reaction

Whenever a significant development like an arrest occurs, there will generally be a media response to it. News articles, blog posts, and other information will be posted on the internet for public consumption. While the average browser will be able to find this information themselves and, therefore, affect your reputation, it can be used to your advantage as well. This information can be easily located to understand the extent of your arrest’s reach. This is an essential first step so you can estimate the lengths you will have to go to try and undo the damage it has done to your public image.

Arrest Media Reaction

All you need do is log on to your preferred search engine and type your name into the search bar. Then you need to scan the articles that are pulled up to see how much information about the circumstances is available for public view. This way, you can determine what information you need to focus on clearing up to begin salvaging your reputation. Once you have a general idea of what you need to do, you can move on to the first real step toward cleaning up your reputation.

Step #2: Look Into Expunging Data

While your arrest record is typically not something you can override, some states actually enable you to request that your arrest record be expunged. This can be a huge benefit since the expunging of an arrest record brings a clean sweep of all associated information surrounding the arrest. So, information made public on search engines about your arrest is also purged to protect the privacy of your criminal history. However, there are some exclusions when it comes to the ability to expunge your arrest record that determines whether or not you have the option.

Getting Data Expunged

As we mentioned earlier, the state where the arrest occurred has laws about what sorts of criminal activity can have arrest records expunged. Otherwise, the case is too severe to warrant being expunged or is something regulated at the federal level. The laws are also subject to change if you live in another country besides the U.S. or Canada. Ultimately, your chances of expunging your arrest record can shift depending on geographical location.

The severity of the crime is the other side of the coin in this regard, as you will never get an arrest record for murder expunged. However, misdemeanors and other lesser crimes can be expunged with relative success in those states that permit it. However, not all information regarding your arrest is maintained by government and law enforcement entities.

#3: Contact the Owners of Media Sites

More often than not, articles posted online will be the sorts that are regulated by the domain owner and are not regulated by government entities. So, even when arrest records can or cannot be expunged, the article owners can still post as they please. However, you can take steps to try and have the information removed or altered in some way to help undo some of the damage to your reputation. This will often involve you having to reach out to the domain owner to negotiate the removal of information.

Contacting Site Owners

That said, few websites are willing to remove information from their domain completely. This is due to the concept that freedom of information and speech is paramount to human rights. However, they might be willing to negotiate an alteration to their narrative to implement your side of things. Such efforts can often paint you in a more favorable light and earn you some goodwill regarding the reputation you have cultivated following an arrest. This can even spin the situation to shed light on your other actions beyond the arrest if you can put in the effort.

#4: Put a Focus on Positive Stories

While taking measures to have the information on certain articles surrounding the circumstances of your arrest can be highly beneficial to your reputation’s recovery, it is also important to shed light on your better side.

Having these sites alter or even take down their posts can help control the damage; those who have already read what they had to say initially will still retain their original opinions unless convinced otherwise. Following the arrest, you would do well to engage in community service or charity activity that benefits the people around you more than it benefits you. Doing so provides an amazing service to the community and does a world of good for people, but it also helps show you as a generous and remorseful individual.

Positive Online Story

In some cases, depending on your notoriety, you might even find that your actions are being monitored and reviewed by the same sort of media outlets that covered your arrest. In this sense, you can convert what was once detrimental to your reputation following the arrest into a tool to restore your image. It will allow you to demonstrate selflessness and kindness in the face of the poor image you might have shown from your trouble with the law and help reinvigorate the general public’s goodwill. That said, even with the efforts put into enhancing the general perception surrounding your reputation, there will be people looking for an excuse to drag you back down.

#5: Alter Your Social Media Privacy Settings

When you are a figure of some renown, you will find that your every post on social media is scrutinized even without legal troubles. Following an arrest, that scrutiny practically doubles overnight. The simple fact is that once you have done wrong in the eyes of the public, you are immediately reviewed with a more critical eye for any potential past wrongdoing. Such is the sociopolitical climate we now live in.

When it comes to social media, it is generally a good idea to maintain a high level of privacy regardless of your legal standing. Therefore, you would do well to review the settings of your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social media accounts you manage.

Locking Down Social Media

In those settings, you will be able to alter the privacy of your account to limit who can access or even view your account. Doing so will allow you to control what parties will be able to review your social media presence for potential ammunition against your reputation. It will also allow you to control any disagreeable posts that might be blown out of proportion concerning your arrest. Social media management is crucial for maintaining an image and becomes vital after legal issues.

#6: Consider Hiring an Attorney

While this step should likely be taken earlier on in the list, we put it at number six because the previous five can all technically be accomplished on your own. However, an attorney will certainly ease the effort involved and enhance your odds of success in comparison. In addition, a trained legal representative can negotiate on your behalf and process any legal paperwork needed to begin expunging eligible arrest records.

Attorney For Hire

It is probably in your best interest to consult with a licensed attorney in your area. In most cases, probably the same attorney you would have hired to protect you from the initial allegations of your arrest.

However, attorneys can even serve a highly beneficial purpose in salvaging your reputation. Arrests are a highly sensationalized occurrence, with many journalism sites often attempting to exaggerate the circumstances to get more readers interested in what they have posted. Sometimes, these articles can delve into potential libel that further damages your reputation. If this is the case, you can go through your attorney to have the libel taken down regardless of any hesitation on the poster’s part.

#7: Consider Hiring a Reputation Manager

Maintaining your reputation can often be a full-time job, especially if you were arrested. Between managing your social media presence and ensuring that your name is not being used maliciously, it can be nearly impossible to do on your own. To that end, you might want to consider setting up a consultation with a reputation management firm specializing in the finer points of overseeing your social media posts and double-checking any potential information involving your name. For example, some firms will take over reviewing your social media posts for controversial opinions and verify articles posted by third parties for potentially libelous content against you.

Reputation Management Service

Once these sorts of firms locate information that needs to be altered, actions can be taken to accomplish any of the goals mentioned in this article. The trick is finding a firm that can offer these services cost-effectively and comprehensively to ensure ideal management of your public image.

Take Your Reputation Back

When you are arrested, your image takes a hit that is extremely difficult to mend. Violation of the law to such an extent that law enforcement agencies are forced to apprehend you gives the impression that you are uncaring of the law and the people around you. Salvaging your reputation will require you to try and manage the public information surrounding your arrest to start.

Still, it will also require you to take steps towards managing your public speech and even hiring aid to protect you from libelous content and further mend your overall image. With enough time and work, you can start to recover from the damage your reputation has taken due to your mistakes, though you will likely never be entirely free of it. While hiring an attorney is an important step, so too is trying to find a group to help you manage your reputation after the fact.

Repairing Damaged Reputation

If you are interested in hiring a reputation management firm, we at Reputation are here to help. We offer all the essential services necessary to reinforce your public image against the consequences of your arrest. These services include oversight of your social media accounts, protection against cyber libel, and even employing software to track your reputation on a semi-automated basis for any important shifts.

We know that being arrested was not a pleasant experience, and having your name dragged through the mud is likely just as unpleasant. So, if you want to take back your reputation, check out our website and see what help we can offer.

Do you have any questions or concerns about what you may need to do to restore your reputation following an arrest? Was there anything that we mentioned in today’s article that you would like a little more explanation on? Or, are you, by chance, simply curious about the services that we offer which can assist you throughout the process? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact us whenever you feel the need! We take your reputation as seriously as you do, and would be more than happy to assist you however we possibly can through this potentially difficult process. Shoot us a message whenever you need us, and we’ll be sure to be there to assist you to the best of our ability!

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    Matt Earle

    Matt Earle, Founder of Reputation.ca, is a leading Canadian expert on online reputation management with over 15 years of hands on experience working in the space. Mr. Earle’s educational background includes an H.BSc from the University of Toronto and certification as a Google Professional. His expertise has been acknowledged through national television appearances on CBC, PBS and CTV, being a guest host on CBC radio, and numerous quotes in print and online media.