Mugshots and other criminal information is typically public record. So, if you know where to look, you can find someone’s mugshot. However, it’s important to look in the right places. If you’re not looking through the right databases or performing the right searches, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time.
The good news is that we’re here to help. We’ll take you through everything you need to know about mugshots and how to find them. While several methods are effective, we’ll only take you through the best one. Looking in the right places will help you save time and even money.
Read on to learn more below.
What Is a Mugshot?
Mugshots are photographs of people that focus on the face. The first known mugshots were taken in the 1800s and used by the British in London, Liverpool, and Birmingham. Then, a few decades later, mugshots became popular in the United States, specifically in populous states like New York.
Most mugshots are taken from the shoulders up, but full-body mugshots are available online and at police stations. The purpose of a mugshot is for law enforcement agencies to have a photograph of someone on file. While mugshots used to only be used by police agencies, many mugshots are available through online databases.
Today, mugshots are available online, and you can find them by looking through databases. People searches are helpful, along with viewing government websites.
Are Mugshots Public Record?
Yes, mugshots are a public record. Photographs of criminals are public records because they’re filed under arrest records. According to the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA), arrest records are available to the public. Aside from mugshots, you’ll also find traffic violations, sex offender status, and court documents in an arrest record.
While mugshots are almost always a public record, there are a few exceptions. For example, ongoing investigations will limit available information from reaching the public. During an ongoing investigation, mugshots may be removed from someone’s online report.
Mugshots are also not public records in Louisiana. The state has passed laws that remove mugshots from public arrest records. Other states like New York and California are also pushing for laws that limit people’s access to mugshots.
Who Gets Their Mugshot Taken?
People who commit crimes have mugshots taken. Mugshots are taken once someone is brought into a police station after committing a crime. However, mugshots don’t mean that someone is guilty. In some cases, people are brought in under false pretenses, which leads to them being innocent. Mugshots may also be taken before someone is sentenced or placed in jail.
They’re also taken during the booking process, which occurs when someone is brought into the station and puts their prints down. So, someone being booked has their mugshot taken too. Furthermore, people being added to the sex offender registry have their mugshots taken.
Where Are Mugshots Taken?
Mugshots are taken at police stations when someone is brought in. Photographs are taken from the shoulders up during the booking process, which includes fingerprinting, full body searches, and information discovery. Police may also take mugshots from multiple angles to help people identify them. The booking process takes between an hour to several hours.
Are Mugshots an Indication of Guilt?
In the US justice system, mugshots do not mean someone is guilty. Mugshots are taken when someone goes through the booking process, but the charges may be dropped. Additionally, people who have mugshots taken can go through the court process and be found not guilty by a jury. Therefore, mugshots are not an indication of guilt. If you find them online, however, then mugshots are a better indicator of guilt.
How to Find Someone’s Mugshot
Today, finding someone’s mugshot is easier than it’s ever been. Instead of traveling to police stations and federal buildings, anyone can find mugshots online. Still, you need to look in the right places. We’re going to take you through some of the most efficient ways to find a person’s mugshot below.
1. People Search Engine
A people search engine like Information.com is always the best way to find someone’s mugshot. People search engines are databases that have access to thousands of state-wide and national databases. So, instead of searching through individual mugshot databases for each state, Information.com searches all of them for you.
You don’t need much information to use a people search engine. In fact, all you need is someone’s first and last name. With someone’s name, you can run a search and look through the results. However, keep in mind that having more information about someone will help you narrow down the search results.
There are also other methods to find someone’s mugshot on Information.com. If you don’t have someone’s name, you can use their phone number or address. Plus, reverse email address lookup tools are also helpful.
After searching for someone on Information.com you can open the full report.
A person’s full report will contain the following information:
- Criminal records
- Traffic violations
- Court documents
- Financial information
- Birth date
- Known phone numbers
- Known addresses (past and present)
- Email addresses
- Social media profiles
- Online dating accounts
People search engines are compliant with the Fair Credit and Reporting Act. That said, it’s important to avoid misusing information. Never reach out to people who don’t want to be contacted and don’t perform background checks on domestic help or employees (without their consent).
Overall, people search engines are the most affordable and reliable methods for finding someone’s mugshot.
2. Google Searches
Google is the most popular search engine around, and that’s for a good reason. It provides accurate and fast search results, so you can find almost anything. In addition, several great websites have information about arrest records and mugshots.
PrisonHandbook.com is one of the most legitimate options to use if you’re looking for someone’s mugshot. The website has a database of jail rosters from prisons and jails around the United States.
To use the website, the process is simple. Start by searching for your state. Then, select the jail. From there, you can use the tool to open up the jail roster and find the person you’re looking for. Once you find them, open the report to view their mugshot and other criminal information.
In fact, with PrisonHandbook.com you can view someone’s arrest history, criminal record, sentencing information, and court details.
Mugshot.com used to be one of the best places to find a mugshot, and it’s still useful. However, there’s an active lawsuit that’s pending against Mugshot.com. The lawsuit is based on the fact that the owners of the website were using mugshots of people who weren’t guilty. Mugshot.com was also in hot water because of the profits the website was making.
That said, it’s one of the easiest ways to find someone’s mugshot. Simply visit the website and enter their name. Mugshot.com will then pull up all of the results for that individual. Still, we recommend Information.com as an alternative due to its legitimacy and FCRA compliance.
Department of Corrections Website
Another website you can visit is the Department of Corrections website. The Department of Corrections website is available in each of the 50 states, so make sure you’re using the website for your specific state.
Once you’re on the website, you can pull up information about public arrest records. You can learn about prisoners and their sentences as well as find their mugshots. Unfortunately, the Department of Corrections website is known to be slow and varies depending on the state. So, it will take longer than most people search engines like Information.com.
3. Visit Police Stations and Corrections Centers in Person
Another method to find someone’s mugshot is to visit police stations and correctional centers. Courthouses may also have access to mugshots, or they can give you access to request one if it’s confidential.
That said, police stations are the best place to start. Police stations have public records of mugshots and arrest reports. You can ask them to pull up someone’s file; they also have online files if you’re granted access to the police station’s website. Depending on the state, police stations might not have records they can give you without a lawyer. One example is a state like Louisiana, which doesn’t list mugshots as public records.
Furthermore, you can visit local jails or correctional centers. These locations hold prisoners and may have arrest records and mugshots on file. Therefore, visiting one can help you find information about someone’s death certificate or mugshot.
4. Check the Sex Offender Registry
You can also check the sex offender registry. Sex offender registries exist in all 50 states and have unique laws that regulate them. Therefore, states where mugshots are not public records may have mugshots listed for sex offender cases.
When someone commits a sexually-related crime, the laws are different. This is because sex offenders are listed on registries with their information given to the public. For sex offender registries, you can see where someone lives, the nature of their crime, and more. Along with their arrest information, a mugshot is typically included.
To find someone’s mugshot on a sex offender registry, visit your state’s sex offender registry website. Then, enter their first and last name to run a search. If you have more information, your search results will be more accurate.
Using the sex offender registry is effective, but it’s not perfect. Plus, you have to search through each state’s database. It also helps to know the county they were arrested in. Therefore, we recommend starting with a people search engine instead.
5. Use an App
Several apps will also help you find mugshots. These apps vary in quality, so it’s important to use the right ones. Our favorite choice is JailBase. JailBase has one of the most comprehensive databases and continuously adds new information. Keep in mind that it’s a free application, so the database isn’t always up to date. Unfortunately, you might not find who you’re looking for.
Using an app to find someone’s mugshot is simple. First, download the application and wait for it to install. Once the app is ready, open it and search for someone by using their first and last name. Having additional information like someone’s address or email will also help you find their mugshot with an app.
There are also other apps you can download. Depending on your device’s operating system, some additional apps include MobilePatrol and Busted in the USA. While apps are effective, they’re not as reliable as people search engines or background checks. Furthermore, mugshot apps may have advertisements and other types of fees you need to pay before finding someone’s mugshot.
How to Remove Mugshots From the Internet
Mugshots are typically public records, but that doesn’t mean they have to be. Having your mugshot removed from the internet is possible if you follow the right steps. Furthermore, you can hide your mugshot by replacing searches for it with regular pictures of yourself.
More on the options to remove mugshots from the internet are found below.
Contact the Owners of Websites
Websites like Mugshots.com give people access to thousands of mugshots. While it’s legal for websites to save mugshots, that doesn’t mean you can’t have yours taken down. We’ll use Mugshots.com as an example, but you can also follow the same steps for other websites.
First and foremost, reach out to the owner of the website. If you didn’t commit the crime, your mugshot is no longer public information because it’s not an arrest record. So, getting in touch with the website owner and providing the necessary documentation will compel them to remove it. This is because it’s not legal for them to keep the mugshot up. After all, it’s no longer a public record.
Depending on the website, it takes between 7 and 14 days for mugshots to be removed. So, after sending your information to the website, check back within this time frame.
If you’re unsure about who owns the website or who to get in touch with, we recommend using a people search engine to look up emails, names, and phone numbers of website owners.
Get More of Your Pictures out There
Another strategy to remove mugshots from the internet is to get more pictures out there. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter rank well on Google. If your social media profiles become popular and display images of your face, they’ll appear in the search results before your mugshot. Then, continue to post content and check back to see if it’s harder to find your mugshot.
Using this social media approach is time-consuming, but it can be effective. If you’ve committed a crime, then it’s legal for your mugshot to remain online. Therefore, getting more images of yourself out there to hide the mugshot is a better approach.
There may also be cases where you can reach out to state agencies to help you with mugshot removal. These rules depend on your state and the extent of the crime.
Find Someone’s Mugshot Today
Finding someone’s mugshot has never been easier. With dozens of great online resources, you don’t need to visit a courthouse or police station anymore. Websites like Information.com have made it possible to perform a full background check on someone in less than 5 minutes.
That said, make sure you follow the rules outlined by the Fair Credit and Reporting Act. You can’t perform background checks for work-related problems or run people searches on people who don’t want to be searched. Additionally, results will vary because some mugshots and criminal records may be confidential.