Mugshots Are Public Record (2023)

Mugshots Are Public Record (1)

December 19, 2019

Are All Mugshots Public Record?

You may be wondering, why are mugshots public records? The fact of the matter is simple, ever since the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) came into effect, personal records are more accessible than ever before. Our government has gone to great lengths to ensure increased transparency between society and local entities.

Today on the internet you are able to learn anything, you can theoretically learn how to become a heart surgeon or maybe just find a recipe for tonight’s family dinner. Whatever you use the internet for, just remember there are unlimited amounts of information available to anyone and everyone.

In the past, in order to obtain a mugshot or criminal record for a specific individual you would have to travel to the county clerk office and request a copy. However starting in 2015 with the emergence of mugshot publication websites, the accessibility increased ten-fold.

To this day, if you were to go online, the only thing stopping you from locating my home address is knowing the right website and about $10 to set up an account (subscription). As we just stated, mugshot websites such as and/or have not only made this process free but simpler than ever.

All visitors have to do is enter an individual’s name and bam, all their arrests appear right before their eyes.

Please fill out the form below and we will reach out as soon as possible!

What is Considered Public Information?

Typically anything that can be retrieved from a county clerk office or local database online is considered public information. These documents and reports would include all court documents, government case files, real estate deeds and much more. This is another effort by the government to improve transparency between the local community and governmental offices.

Look at it this way, if you are in the market or looking to buy a new home you will most likely do extensive research on not only the home but the previous/current owner. Known by most, there are various databases online you can utilize to accomplish this.

For this example, you could take a deeper look into the county’s land reports, fault lines, history, maintenance and much more.

In certain circumstances, you may not be able to access specific documents or reports as easily (or at all). For instance, if a court case has been expunged off of an individual’s criminal record, you will no longer be able to see it. It is like the arrest “never happened” in the eye of the law.

So generally speaking, files that have been sealed, dismissed or expunged by a Judge are not accessible to the general public.

Mugshots Are Public Record (2)

Why Mugshots Publication Sites Post Mugshots

Depending on which side of the law you are standing on, we can all agree that online mugshots make anyone look bad. Unfortunately for society, documents such as mugshots, criminal records, and arrest reports are public knowledge. Meaning anyone can collect the data and distribute it as they wish.

For most, that means the end of their career or even disrupting their family life. An arrest can quickly flip your life upside-down and knowing how to be proactive about keeping your reputation in good standing will make all the difference.

So what is protecting these mugshot publication websites? Well, the answer is simpler than what you might expect. Dating back to 1966, the FOIA, otherwise called the Freedom of Information Act came to fruition.

FOIA provides you with all the freedom to lawfully collect public documents from inside a national agency. Regardless of whether the public document has been created by the agency or directly gathered by them.

To be able to acquire this information, you have to send them a signed application or request, directed at the maximum fitting service. Moreso, you have to describe the information that you need to obtain in detail.

Truth be told, there’s not a particular form. All you need to do is ask. Under the FOIA, it is possible to ask about any public documents formulated or obtained by that particular agency. You might also be asked to pay a fee, even though this is uncommon.

Obtaining Mugshots and Public Records

Commonly, a public document is a report registered with any particular town, county, state or federal government office. In layman’s terms, people documents are simply documents and official reports that anybody may access. Although public records are normally records.

These documents may consist of anything from maps to records, to movies, to photos, to tapes, to applications, to letters, and books and so on.

Court records are a popular illustration of public documents. As an example, if you discovered your next-door neighbor Max was detained for a violent national charge a few years ago, you can inquire for a copy of those public records to find out more about the event. In some cases, these findings can only be seen or collected online.

Florida and Maryland allow the public to search for the next within their own database: Moreso, it’s possible to even obtain copies of transcripts from this individual’s hearing and trial (Florida only). Additionally, you can scour the web for bankruptcy matters utilizing the database named PACER.

Mugshots: Guilty Before Proven Innocent

Mugshots can help others when they’re attempting to find individuals who’ve been absconded. In resistance, mugshots can frighten the local place for if an individual was discharged and if they’re dangerous.

So there’s a great reason to discuss some mugshots. Our judicial system anticipates transparency from the national constitution. Any effort to maintain mugshots independently would end in suits by people affected.

But this didn’t alter considerably. This is a bit the understanding of the injury that mugshots can make when online. The court clearly says websites that place mugshots online, in its own analysis.Some countries have enacted laws so as to restrict the number of published mugshots before a certainty. One of those states now is New Jersey.

The whole notion of public documents would be to skip the authorities from collecting money from individuals. Additionally to limit their power.

It had been known that making records people would protect people. Since it surely does when you’ve got a secretive government. But, in addition, it may still cause harm in the electronic age we’re experiencing now. The worldwide web extends both ways, folks wish to have the ability to find whatever info they desire.

However, if the data makes them look bad there’s an uproar, a complete catch-22.

As citizens of the USA, we’ve got the liberty to spot issues and liberty of expression. But when others are lawfully permitted to demonstrate the adverse past of the others it conveys irreparable harm onto somebody else.

Mugshots Are Public Record (3)

Remove Mugshots From Public Records

Mugshot posts normally start to surface online following about two weeks following the detain. Approaching these mugshot books instantly provides you with leverage when working to eliminate criminal records from public documents.

During sophisticated background checks, it’s likely your criminal background will disclose itself. Sites like WhitePages or Spokeo show everything from the title, criminal background, relatives, home addresses, etc.

Eliminating online mugshots and public documents is exactly what RPI concentrates on and has for the last decade. Our mugshot elimination team will notify all search results instantly after the removal of your public documents.

After about one week, Google will refresh its search results to show some alterations on the web.

Conclusion: Mugshots Are Public Record with RPI

There are a lot of reasons why individuals should wish your history restored to its former glory and cleaned up.

If you’d like to find out more about ways to work to eliminate public documents like mugshots online, please fill out the form below and we’ll contact you when we could.

Please fill out the form below and we will reach out as soon as possible!

Catch up on more news from RPI!

Mugshots Are Public Record (4)

How do I remove my address from Google?

January 29, 2023

Removing your personal address from Google search results can be a daunting task. With so many search engines, figuring out…

Read More

Mugshots Are Public Record (5)

How do I remove my address from public records?

January 20, 2023

Removing your address from public records is an important step towards preserving your privacy. With the increasing digitization of our…

Read More

Mugshots Are Public Record (6)

Does Facebook read your private messages?

January 5, 2023

In recent weeks, the discussion around whether or not Facebook reads private messages has become even more topical with the…

Read More


Are mugshots public record in USA? ›

Mug shots are routinely made available to the public and are often available on law enforcement websites.

Where can I view local mugshots for free? ›

Check your local sheriff and police department websites.

Some law enforcement agencies host mugshots online, which you can view for free. Not many do, however, so this shouldn't be your first place to check. You'll need to know the county where the person was booked.

What is the best website for mugshots? ›'s top 5 competitors in April 2023 are:,,,, and more.

What is the purpose of a mug shot? ›

The original purpose of the mug shot was to allow law enforcement to have a photographic record of an arrested individual to allow for identification by victims, the public and investigators.

Are mug shots in the public domain? ›

All works made by federal agencies are automatically in the public domain, so if the mugshot was made by a federal agency like the FBI, it is certainly in the public domain. However, states and state agencies can make their own rules about how they want to handle their intellectual property rights.

Is there an app to see local mugshots? ›

JailBase provides arrest information to the public. Browse recent arrests, use our jail inmate search or view county mugshots all in one place. You can search for arrested persons you might know, and even get notified if someone you know gets arrested. All for free.

What app shows local arrests? ›

MobilePatrol connects you to important safety information, news, and critical alerts for places you care about. We partner with public safety and law enforcement agencies nationwide so you can receive timely access to information that keeps you and your loved ones safe.

How does mugshots com work? › collects booking photos from the public record and posts them online. In the past, it was possible to pay between $399 and $1799 to have your record removed. If your record was expunged, it is possible to remove it from by contacting them via email.

Are mugshots public record in Florida? ›

Arrest records which include mugshots are public documents and form part of the arrest history of an arrestee. Arrest history information in the state of Florida is collated by the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Are mugshots good for you? ›

Mug Shot snack meals are a great tasting and healthy choice. Speedy sachets and pots can either be enjoyed alongside your lunch or as a stand-alone meal or snack, to fill you up in nutritious and delicious style. All the products are both low in calories and fat and contain no artificial colours or preservatives.

Are mugshots public record in Illinois? ›

Mugshots are the property of the government. They are a part of the public record. Most mugshots are released by state law enforcement agencies. They must be made available to the media.

How do I find recent arrests in North Carolina? ›

Information about criminal cases in the North Carolina court system can be accessed by visiting a public, self-service terminal located at a clerk of court's office in any county. You can use the terminal to search for cases by defendant name, case number, or victim or witness name.

What are jail photos called? ›

Mugshots are photographs police take after booking and arrest. The term comes from the slang use of “mug” for face. Following arrest, a criminal suspect is booked, fingerprinted, and photographed for identification purposes.

What do mugshots look like? ›

The mugshot standard is a two-part image combining a photograph from the front with a side view. The photographs are typically taken against a simple background in order to not distract from the facial image. Often the arrested person holds a placard with their name, booking ID and other identifying information.

How do you know if a photo is public domain? ›

If the work was created 95+ years ago, it is likely now in the public domain in the U.S. (This does not necessarily apply worldwide.) This means that all creative work that was initially published or released before January 1, 1927 has entered the public domain and has no copyright protection as of January 1, 2022.

Do photos go into the public domain? ›

In the United States, images are protected by copyright during the photographer's life and for 70 years after their death. After that, the photograph enters the public domain.

How do you legally use a photo public domain? ›

How do you legally use a photo? The owner of an image (the photographer) can grant you the right to use their image legally by licensing the image to you via a photography licensing platform, like EyeEm Market. This is the simplest way to access original images at fair prices for both you and the photographer.

How do I remove mugshots from Google search? ›

Some people try to remove their own mugshots from Google Images by requesting that the search engine take them down, but this is usually unsuccessful. The best way to get rid of an online mugshot is to hire a company that specializes in reputation management.

What's the jail app called? ›

The JPay App is the easiest way to stay connected and support your incarcerated individual.

How do I get mobile patrol on my phone? ›

Download the Mobile Patrol App

Mobile patrol is available as a free download for Android and iOS mobile devices. Download the app to start receiving important safety updates.

Is there an app for local police activity? ›

The MyPD app connects police and citizens across the country.

Is there an app that tracks police near you? ›

Even if you know the way, Waze tells you instantly about traffic, construction, police, crashes, & more.

Why is MobilePatrol not showing inmates? ›

The app was shut down because it was not run by the sheriff's office and did not always provide citizens with the most accurate or up-to-date information, said Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt.

How long do mugshots stay on the Internet? ›

Unfortunately, mugshots can stay online indefinitely if steps are not taken to remove them. Even getting your records sealed or expunged, which is supposed to mean your case is confidential and a company should remove any trace of your arrest, does not necessarily delete a mugshot online.

How do I remove mugshots from Google for free? ›

Another way of removing police reports and mugshots from the internet is by contacting Google and the rest of the search engines where your mugshot appears. They will be able to push the results down and remove some of the records if you of course again meet some of their criteria.

How do I find recent arrests in South Carolina? ›

You can access criminal records in South Carolina through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Department site, called SLED, or obtain criminal case information on the website, SLED allows you to check information on arrests and the charges, court findings, and sentencing.

Do arrests show up on background checks in Florida? ›

The majority of criminal background check reports, including background check in Florida, do not include arrest records.

Does Florida release mugshots? ›

Even if you're found not guilty, your mugshot will still stay online. Mugshots can show up online regardless of if you were arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony charge in Florida.

How do I find out if someone has a criminal record in Florida? ›

People who want to know if someone has a criminal record, they can visit the State of Florida Criminal History Information which is a site run by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Then click on the words “Florida Criminal History Record Check.”

Why do people wear towels in mugshots? ›

“We place a white towel around the shoulder/neck area of people having their mug shots taken in our jail,” Lt. Justin Lewis told me. “We do this to cover clothing and/or tattoos or marks on the neck/shoulder/chest area as to protect the integrity of a facial identification during photo lineups.

Do you wear glasses in mugshots? ›

For subjects who normally wear eyeglasses, a frontal mugshot image should be captured of the subject without glasses. This is required due to the glare from external illumination. An additional image can optionally be captured of the subject wearing eyeglasses.

Why do people look different in mugshots? ›

There are a few reasons why you might look bad in photos. It could be the lighting, the angle, or you might be making a face that doesn't look good in photos.

How long do arrests stay on your record in Illinois? ›

The answer is simple: A criminal arrest will be on your background forever unless it is expunged or sealed! Charges that were eventually dismissed at court can potentially be expunged or sealed from your criminal record. Unfortunately, the clearing of your criminal record is not automatic.

What is a public record in Illinois? ›

(c-5) "Public record" expressly includes, but is not limited to, court records, or documents, evidence, or exhibits filed with the clerk of the court and which have become a part of the official court record, pertaining to any civil or criminal proceeding in any court. (d) Sentence.

Can you record police Illinois? ›

In simple terms, Illinois residents have the right to record public interactions with the police, according to Bobby Vanecko, an intern at First Defense Legal Aid.

Are mugshots public record in North Carolina? ›

Under current North Carolina law, any record held by a public entity may be public record, including booking photos.

Can you look up local arrests? ›

The best place to find California arrest records is the state's Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Attorney General. However, access to these records is restricted only to official law enforcement agencies. You can only ask for information on your personal criminal history and not on another person's history.

Are divorce records public in NC? ›

North Carolina courts maintain that the public has the right to access most court documents. This includes divorce documents. Therefore, divorce records are available and generally free of charge or can be copied for 25 cents a page. These records are typically kept in files in the clerk of courts' offices.

How can I access public records in USA? ›

Federal case files are maintained electronically and are available through the internet-based Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. PACER allows anyone with an account to search and locate appellate, district, and bankruptcy court case and docket information. Register for a PACER account.

What are public records in USA? ›

Public records contain information, minutes, files, accounts, or any other documents that a governmental body is required to maintain, and must be accessible to the public.

Are Ohio mugshots public? ›

The Ohio Open Records Law passed in 1954 guarantees that court records are available to any public member, thereby making it a fundamental right to all residents of Ohio.

Can all states see your mugshots California? ›

Californians have the right under the state Public Records Act and the California Constitution to access public information maintained by local and state government agencies, including the Department of Justice.

How can I get US public records for free? ›

All Federal court records are available online at, an electronic public access service that is overseen by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. This includes all Federal civil court cases, criminal charges, as well as bankruptcies. In all, there are over 500 million documents on PACER.

How to use TruthFinder for free? ›

Is TruthFinder free? There is no free version or TruthFinder free trial. TruthFinder needs to pay money to public records offices to access their files, so they charge users for every search.

Can you look up someone to see if they are married? ›

If you are trying to find out if someone is married, the good news is that marriage licenses are public records. Anyone can find out if someone is married by searching the public records for the state and county where the marriage certificate is filed.

Which of the following are not examples of public record? ›

Records that are not considered public records include:
  • Adoption records.
  • Education records.
  • Residency records.
  • Medical records.
Mar 1, 2022

What is an example of a public record? ›

There are many types of public records that are available for free at federal, state, county, and city level. Examples include census data, tax liens and judgments, criminal records, court records, property information, and bankruptcy rulings.

What are three examples that are considered records? ›

Examples include documents, books, paper, electronic records, photographs, videos, sound recordings, databases, and other data compilations that are used for multiple purposes, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics.

What is a public record Ohio? ›

A public record means any records kept by any public office, except those records that are otherwise identified as exempt under the Ohio Public Records Act or the release of which is prohibited by state or federal law.

Can you film police in Ohio? ›

According to the Ohio Bar, as a bystander, it is legal to record police interactions. If you see someone stopped by the police you are permitted to take pictures or video, however, it is important that you do not interfere.

How do I check my record? ›

Go to your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a local or state criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record.

Are mugshots public record in Texas? ›

In over 28 million citizens, Texas law enforcement agencies make some 750,000 arrests annually, creating the same number of mugshots each year. In line with the Texas Public Information Act, these mugshots and accompanying arrest records are public records accessible to all citizens and can be republished.

Can you travel to the States on a police record? ›

It's important to note that having a criminal record does not automatically bar you from travelling to the USA. Anybody travelling to the US for less than 90 days will be able to travel under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP).


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Otha Schamberger

Last Updated: 12/24/2023

Views: 5903

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Otha Schamberger

Birthday: 1999-08-15

Address: Suite 490 606 Hammes Ferry, Carterhaven, IL 62290

Phone: +8557035444877

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: Fishing, Flying, Jewelry making, Digital arts, Sand art, Parkour, tabletop games

Introduction: My name is Otha Schamberger, I am a vast, good, healthy, cheerful, energetic, gorgeous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.