Whether you got stopped at a Los Angeles DUI checkpoint on Wilshire, or pulled over in the Valley after partying too hard at a TV animation company’s soirée, your recent arrest was embarrassing.
Many possible problems now confront you:
• Jail time;
• License suspension;
• Mandatory IID installation;
• Higher insurance rates;
• Loss of your job / relationship;
You also fear for your reputation. And rightly so.
Google your name right now. Odds are high that a news article featuring your DUI might come up on the first page of the Google results – or at least near enough to the first page to cause problems. Even if you ultimately clear the charges, what you can do to protect your reputation going forward? Will the specter of your DUI forever haunt you (online), whenever you develop new relationships, take out loans, apply for jobs, meet new friends, etc?
It’s a scary situation — not necessarily an easy one to resolve.
After all, the virtual world creates challenges for all of us.
Pictures taken years before the internet even existed now pop up regularly on Facebook and other social media sites. A friend or colleague from years ago can tag your name in these pictures. A potential client (or date) can now see you in a ridiculous or embarrassing light. Even “normal citizens” are vexed by this effect.
For people who’ve been arrested for a serious crime in Los Angeles, like DUI, the problem can be much worse. Fixing one’s virtual reputation is just no small task, particularly if your arrest involved major news, such as serious injury or death to somebody else.
Here’s the core problem that you face: Google ranks sites and search terms based on relevance as well as on the so-called “authority” of sites that use them. So if ABC News, KTLA News, the Los Angeles Times, and other big publications all run stories about your Los Angeles DUI arrest, Google will look first to these “authority sites” first when returning information about your name, when it’s entered as a search query.
The situation can get even more complicated – and difficult to fix – if your story generated a tremendous amount of interest in the blogosphere or in the social media world. For instance, perhaps you did or said something ironic or ridiculous after the stop. Or perhaps you’re a celebrity or major executive or corporate figure whose arrest was “newsworthy” in and of itself. All the commentary creates more relevance. In other words, when Google looks for your name, it won’t just find articles linking to big authority sites like ABC News, CNN, etc — it will also find threads on big blogs discussing your name and the incident/arrest.
We’ll dive into detail about what you might be able to do to reclaim your online reputation in a future post.
For now, the most important thing is to get exceptional legal input to protect your rights. Connect with widely respected Los Angeles DUI defense attorney, Michael Kraut, today for more insight into your case.