Knowledge — 11 months ago

How are Mugshots Processed and Kept in Police Database?

by Toni S.

How are Mugshots Processed? Here are the Answers

During the booking process, data about you is gathered by the police. Along with personal information, the police also take a mugshot during the booking process. If you are unfamiliar with it or want to know what happens to your mugshot in the police database.

Booking in the US

The booking process in the United States involves the recording of the suspect's information. The first step in booking in the US is recording the personal details of the arrestee. The police record the name, aliases, address, and contact information of the suspect.

Next, the police record the crime that the arrestee supposedly committed. Once this data is collected and recorded, it is time to take a mugshot. The purpose of the mugshot is to record the physical appearance and features of the suspect. In most cases, the mugshot is filmed against a neutral background with height markings. The photograph will contain the name of the suspect and his/her booking number.

The authorities can use mugshots to tell apart between people with the same names. That is why it is essential to take a mugshot during booking. The mugshot is taken from several different angles to capture the suspect's entire appearance.

How are Mugshots Processed
What is Next?

Once the police have recorded personal information and have taken mugshots, the booking and processing continue. Here is what happens during this process:

  1. Police take fingerprints: this is yet another way to distinguish between individuals. Fingerprints can also be used to discover if a person that was arrested committed crimes. For centuries, police were able to discover who committed crimes by gathering fingerprints from crime scenes and matching them to suspects. Police can also use fingerprints to eliminate suspects.
  2. Full body search: during booking, police perform a body search to discover if the arrestee has any weapons or illegal substances on his/her person.
  3. Checking the suspect's history – police check if the suspect has prior arrest warrants.
  4. Health screening – police check if the suspect has any dangerous diseases.
  5. Questioning – after the police gather all the details mentioned above, it moves on to questioning. The goal of the questioning is to discover if the arrestee has indeed committed the crime that he/she is suspected of committing. Suspects have the right to refuse to speak until legal counsel arrives.
  6. DNA sample extraction – certain jurisdictions allow police to collect DNA samples for arrestees. Like fingerprints, DNA is used to solve crimes, as well as exonerate suspects from crimes.

Police Mugshot Database

To keep the vast amount of data about suspects and arrest proceedings, police record data in computerized databases. During and after the arrest, police will log the booking data, along with mugshots, in its official database.

Where is My Mugshot?

Police records are considered public records in the US. There are certain cases where a mugshot will not be allowed for publication. For instance, if the suspect is underage, his/her criminal data will be confidential and not released to the public.

If you have ever been arrested is suspicion of connection to a crime, your mugshot is likely a public record. This means that you and others can view your arrest records and your mugshot.

If you want to search your mugshot/s, you can do so in several ways.

How are Mugshots Kept
How to Perform a Mugshot Search?

If you want to find your criminal records and mugshot, here is what you can do:

1. Contact the arresting authority – a mugshot search is available in local authorities. You can contact the arresting authority that booked you and file a request to receive your mugshot.

2. Public record website – as we mentioned, mugshots are public records in the United States. If you want to perform a mugshots search, all you have to do is enter your full name and the name of the state in which the arrest took place into GoLookUp's mugshot search directory. The website will then begin a search for your records, resulting in an online report within minutes.

Why Should I Search Mugshots?

A mugshot search can help you find out what your records contain. If you have a criminal record that should have been expunged but is still available to the public, a mugshot search will show you if that is the case. You can then ask to have the record expunged, or perform a mugshot opt-out in public record directories.

A mugshot is an essential part of criminal records. If you are arrested, police will take your mugshot and save it on its database. You can perform a mugshot search online or by contacting the arresting authority and make sure that there is nothing in your public records that should not be there.


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