USA Mugshots: Everything You Need to Know About Mugshot Searches

A bearded man holding up a mugshot sign.

Mugshots are photos taken by law enforcement agencies after suspects are arrested in relation to crimes. The source of the name is the word “mug”, which means face, and it is a photographic representation of people who were arrested. After an arrest, the arresting law enforcement agency takes a suspect through a booking process; mugshots are used to identify and locate fugitives, to tell apart between suspects with the same name, and to have a photo of suspects. In the USA, you can find a person’s mugshots, and if you are interested in the process, and need more information about a mugshot search, here it is:

The taking of mugshots

Mugshots are a series of photos that are taken from several angles; the front and the sides of suspects. Also, a mugshot includes several important identifying details of suspects:

  • Date of arrest
  • Height of suspect
  • Alleged crime

Mugshots are taken against a neutral background, and they are kept and maintained by law enforcement agencies in the county. These agencies keep both physical files and digital files of crimes.

Are mugshots a part of the public records system?

In the United States, exists the Freedom of Information Act; according to the FOIA, certain government records are available to the public. Governing authorities serve the public, and they must answer to it; so, the public can see government records and make sure that there are no rights violations.

Aside from government records, there are certain personal records (of US residents) that are also available to the public. Mugshots are included in public records, meaning you can find arrest records, and view the mugshots within them.

However, not every mugshot can be searched and viewed by the public. The arrest records that are not available to the public are:

  • Juvenile records
  • Sealed criminal records
  • Expunged criminal records

Also, cases that involve public and state safety cannot be viewed by the general public.

Mugshot search in the USA

As we mentioned, mugshots are available to the public. So, if you need to find someone’s arrest records, you can do so. Thanks to the fact that arrest records are digitized, you can perform an online mugshot search.

You can also perform a “traditional search”, meaning an offline search, but it takes time; to do so, you need to contact the arresting authority via phone, US post, or go there in person. In this type of request, you need to file a request form for the mugshot search.

A search fee is also required by authorities; after you file the request and pay the fee, you will receive a copy of the arrest record, and the mugshots. Fees and waiting times vary between authorities and states.

For a quicker search, you can use one of the following online mugshot search methods:

Official government websites

Go to a search engine of your choice (Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc.). Then, type in either the name of the state where the arrest took place, the name of the arresting authority or the name of the county where the arrest happened.

Choose the official website of the state/authority/county. Enter the website. Go to the section that leads to an arrest records query (written differently in different websites: it could be listed as “mugshot search”, “arrest lookup”, and similar directories).

Then, you will need to provide an identifying detail of the person that you are searching for; DOC number, full name, arrest date, etc. You will receive several results, and you can choose the person in question and view his/her arrest records and mugshots.

Public records search directory

There are professional websites that can provide you with personal public records data; GoLookUp is one of the most advanced and quick public records resources, so you can use it to find mugshots easily.

To do so, you need to enter the name of the person in question (first name and last name). Also, the mugshot search service requires you to provide the state in which the arrest took place or the current state of residence of the person in question.

Once the directory has these two details, the search will begin. The search lasts several minutes, during which time the directory scans billions of public records, and collects data into an online report. In case you do not know how to spell the name of the person in question, you can use the reverse address search/reverse phone number search/reverse email search, and find the data that you need. The arrest records provided by GoLookUp contain complete data about arrests, and you can perform unlimited searches for no extra charges.

To sum it up

Mugshots give the public a look into people’s criminal past. You can perform an arrest search, and view all the details about an alleged crime. You can perform an offline or online mugshot search, with an online search being the recommended way to go, with quick results in every search.

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