Are Mugshots Public?

Making a simple mistake in the United States could haunt you forever—anyone can access the information pertaining to your specific crime, even your mugshot. Any person with access to the internet can look up your name and date of birth and find out what types of offenses you have on your record—sometimes this information includes the entire proceeding of the case. In some instances, your records are sealed, cases regarding juveniles in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice or its agents, employees, or contractors, for example. If you’re not exempt from your records reaching the public eye, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

When are mugshots made public?

The fact that you are innocent until proven guilty does not prevent your mugshot from going public. This is (in part) due to the fact that some criminals fail to appear in court and could be potentially dangerous. In most cases, mugshots are the most up-to-date photos of the individual showcasing visible markings and piercings. Mugshots have been broadcasted across the media and effectively brought many offenders to justice. Even though it may not seem fair that an individual is subjected to open scrutiny for their alleged actions, it is justifiable. Certain states, like New Jersey, are trying to get laws passed to prevent mugshot release prior to conviction.

How can you find a mugshot?

Finding a mugshot can be done through various means, but a simple internet search can bring up damaging criminal records. Sometimes, however, cases of individuals with the same name and race could have similar charges against them, so it’s always a good idea to have the birthdate of the offender handy. For extensive information into the case and convictions of the offender, it’s better to use a paid search platform. These searches have large databases that they can pull information from instantly. Some free searches will offer initial information to prove that they found the right person but for you to see an in-depth report you must pay. These websites may not have the ability to pull information instantly and may release further information within 24 hours.

How are mugshots used?

The intention of releasing mugshots to the public is for public safety. It is important for parents to know when a sex offender moves in the neighborhood and schools need to know if the person volunteering to help out is of moral standing. Even school crossing guards must have clean records. There are some websites that try to extort money from people by putting their mugshots on a popular website and asking for money to take it down, only to put the mugshot back up on a related website. This is a form of cyberbullying and there are new laws in each state cracking down on these websites and trying to make them obsolete. 

Paid search platforms offer a safe and efficient way to obtain accurate information about the case and offense pertaining to the mugshot. Don’t rely on information that could be put out there by just anyone, go to a trusted web source to get your information.

Are mugshots public? 

The simple answer to this question is “Yes.” When it comes to criminal history, the United States Government lays all of its cards on the table in accordance with the Constitution and Freedom of Information Acts. In some states like Florida, you can obtain a full transcript of the court proceedings. Back in the day, you used to have to drive over to the courthouse and request documentation to perform a background check but now you can access these records online. For instance, you can find Maryland’s Montgomery County Mugshots for Civil, Criminal and Traffic offenses.