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How to Look Up Mugshots for Free in 2022

June 14, 2022 Uncategorized

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Want to learn how to look up mugshots for free? Check out our comprehensive guide below.

Were you criminally charged or was convicted of some misconduct? Then probably you’ve been pictured and you have the mugshot in the law enforcement database. And if that is the case, then probably your mugshot is available on various websites that are sharing these public records online where people can search and locate your image.

This can truly be damaging and might work against you when you will be applying for new jobs, schools, courses, and any public relation works. Every law enforcement agency can scrape those details and publish them on their websites and still not break the law, since it is information that is in the public domain.

Wondering if your mugshot is on some of those website search records and results? Well, you will need to perform a basic search and find those details on your own. But how you can do that for free? We are going to explain the process of finding your mugshots online for the sole reason to take the right action to remove them from there and be a victim of any background check and avoid any hardships on your end.

The process of finding Mug Shots For Free

There are multiple steps that you can follow in order to find mugshots online, no matter if it is yours or from any of your friends and relatives. We are going to list them below and provide a brief guide on what you will need to do in order to do it right and locate the desired results.

Check your local sheriff’s office and local police department websites

This might sound like the last place to look up, but you might be able to find what you are after in the police station closest to you. If your particular search is based mostly on online appearance, then they will assist you to go through your search if they have the details in their office.

The criminal justice system stores such details locally as well, so you might have luck finding the mugshot and arrest information with your local sheriff, but since they are not like the other inmate locator sites, some details might be restricted to the public eyes.

Perform a search on the PrisonHandbook website

The next website that you can use to find free mugshots and arrest records online is PrisonHandbook. If you go to their website, you will be able to choose the state where you want to check and you will be shown a list of county jail databases.

Then, you will need to select the right jail where you will be able to find a link to the jail website and perform a simple mugshot search. Usually, the links will be at the bottom of the page where you will find the right resources to find the mugshot. We just want to let you know that not every jail and website will let you find the mugshots.

Go to your state’s department of corrections’ website

No matter in which state you are in, there should be a website from the Department of Corrections where you will probably find some of the mugshots you are after. Go to your search engine of choice and type in your state + department of corrections. This search should provide results and the website of that particular department should appear in the top results.

Another way to find the websites you are after is if you go to www.usa.gov/corrections and there you probably would find the website from the state you are after.

Once you are on the right website, search for a link that says Offender Search or Prisoner Search and you will be able to find the desired result by name or number.

Perform a search on the FindMugshots website

As we mentioned above, there are lots of websites that host mugshots and do not require any payment in order to make a search on their website. One of those websites is findmugshots.com. The searching process is pretty simple here. You will need to enter the first and the last name of the person you want to check out and as well as the state. The next thing you need to do is press search and the results will appear.

In case you do not have a name and want to make a generic search, you can go to findmugshots.com/states and click on the state that you want to search in. You will be able to narrow down the search if you pick the specific city or county and sort them alphabetically to browse through the results.

Search the sex offender registry of your state

Probably every state has a website where sex offenders are listed and that is publically released and able to find with a Google search. This is a good way to find mugshots because such websites do not cover the details and expose them for the citizens to have insight into them. Also, they are hosting mugshots that even some websites are hiding, so it is a good place to start.

These websites allow you to search by name or by state, in order to see all the offenders in your surroundings. Also, here you will be able to find mugshots of sexual offenders only if that is your primary reason for the search.

Use an application that hosts mugshots

One of the most popular applications that you can use on both your iOS and Android is the JailBase app. Here you will be able to search millions of mugshots that are hosted around the Internet. You might not find all the mugshots you are after, but it is a good place to check as well. Also, if the person is featured on this app, you will be able to find at least one picture if not multiple photos as well.

Why you are not able to find some mugshots online

There are several reasons that you are not able to find specific mugshots online and we are going to go briefly through them below.

Police Jurisdiction – This means that the police department has limitations on sharing the booking photo process with the public and you would not be able to get it without an official and valid request. In some cases, even if you file a formal request, you still would not get the police reports and mugshots.

Dropped criminal charges – If the person you are looking for was back on criminal trial and the charges were dropped against them, then many of the websites that are updating their mugshots frequently will remove the details and you will not be able to view mugshots, government records, prison records and recent arrests in-depth.

Mistaken Identity – Sometimes this can happen if there is an arrest made by mistake based on generic physical descriptions or they attach a different image to another person with the same name and last name. A pretty clear reason why you won’t be able to find certain mugshots online.

Old mugshot – Another good reason not to find any mugshots is that they expired, a person’s facial appearance changed from the time mugshot was taken or their sentence is done. If that is the case, even if you find their mugshot, they will no longer be usable and should be taken down by law enforcement officials.

Sealed or Expunged Conviction – If the convicted individual’s case is already expunged and removed from official state websites, then other mugshot websites should remove their details from there. This might be the reason that you are not getting any results for the person arrested.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are mugshots public records in the USA?

A: While most the states have the mugshots placed in the public domain area, there are some that do not share them with the public. This means that law enforcement agencies will be able to gather mugshots and criminal records only from the states where this is legally sorted. The one state that does not consider a mugshot to be a public record is Louisiana.

Also, with the search process, in case you couldn’t find any mugshots from any particular state, that means that the website is compliant with the law and is not sharing any booking photo, person’s criminal history, criminal record, or potentially embarrassing photographs freely to avoid any conflict with the law.

Also, many of the websites that are sharing this data for free are compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and are not a Consumer Reporting Agency, and will not provide consumer reports, meaning that even if they are free, you would not be able to use such data to screen your students, employees or tenants.

Q: How do I find local arrests?

A: The best way to find your local arrest records is if you search for a recent mugshot online or go through police records of your local police station. Probably every police station has a daily journal where they share the cases they worked on in the last 24 hours, which might lead you to the details of any arrests that happened in that period.

Again, if the law limits them to share those details, you would not be able to find them. What might and should be legally okay is to share details of every registered sex offender on the local and state sex offender registries.

Q: Are mugshots royalty-free?

A: Maybe we might not use the term royalty-free, but we understand the meaning of the question. Generally, the mugshots are taken by the law enforcement agencies or the FBI and are completely in the public records and domain – meaning are not covered by any copyright law.

Since the photo is taken by a federal police employee, this is part of their work for the federal government and should not sell or traffic with those photos. In case you are wondering about any celebrity mugshots, if you need to purchase them or not – the answer is that if you are able to find them on any of those free mugshot websites, that means that you can use them freely.


Mugshot records are useful to help witnesses identify criminal defendants and criminal suspect individuals. Also, when they specifically describe recent arrests and other crimes, also looking for older convicted criminals, booking photos proved to be helpful to charge or clear many criminal defendants.

In terms of news media and news agencies, they are usually after celebrity mugshots. Also, general websites are compiling every iconic booking photo that has a very distinct appearance and turn them into iconic booking photo shows for their audience.

Moving to a new neighborhood? The American people always search their neighbors to check who will be dealing. After all, it is the citizens’ right to have access to such details in order to protect themselves and the loved ones around them. If you’ve ever wondered how to look up mugshots for free, the above guide will help you overcome any challenges you face.

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