Mug-Shots.us is a "Google for Mugshots"
In the news: Authenticating the alleged GMA mugshots
What is a mugshot?
In Criminal Law, a mugshot is a booking photograph taken during investigation. It isn't an accusation nor an admission. Regardless of case resolution, the arrest (or other incident with the law) has happened, and a booking photograph was taken. This by itself is true and factual and this is what a mugshot represents. It does not represent a case resolution, guilty plea, or not guilty plea.
What is Mug-Shots.us?
Mug-Shots.us is a "Google for Mugshots". The website is a search engine for Official Law Enforcement records, specifically booking photographs, mugshots. Originally collected and distributed by Law Enforcement agencies, Booking records are considered and legally recognized as public records, in the public domain. Mug-Shots.us republishes these Official Records in their original form ("as is") under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the freedom to publish true and factual information. Our intent is to provide a legitimate and useful service for both the private and public sectors.
Is everyone who is listed in your database guilty of a crime/charge?
No. All are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. FOR LATEST STATUS, CONTACT THE OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHICH ORIGINALLY RELEASED THE DATA.
What is the legitimate "public interest" in the publication of Official Records and mugshots?
The answer to this is at least twofolds.
1. Transparency and The Sixth Amendment to the U.S Constitution: Imagine a world with no transparency, "star chambers" and citizens who are secretly dragged into investigation just to never see the light of day again. No one sees. No one hears. No one knows. It's hard to imagine this was all not so long ago. Russia? China? North Korea? Cuba? Or even today, Guantanamo Bay, or the CIA's "black sites"? Greater openness and transparency are the foundation of strong government of the people. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S Constitution guarantees all a public trial to prevent such abuse of the law.
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." - Amendment VI, The Bill of Rights.
2. Community benefits: Law Enforcement agencies and states have long recognized the many public benefits of releasing Official Records and mugshots to the public. From identifying criminals to helping citizens keep a pulse on their communities, to supporting communities when wanted criminals are on the run. We could not find a better way to describe those benefits than of those quotes below by personnel in the Law Enforcement sector:
"People enjoy looking at these photos and not only that but some actually call it in and they do get caught. So yes when people ask if it works, yes it works!" - Andrew P. Thomas, Maricopa County Attorney and First Public Billboard Creator of Mug Shots.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America's Toughest Sheriff, on public display of mugshots on the web: "I think it's a great law enforcement technique."
My county's Official Records and mugshots are not on Mug-Shots.us. How can that be?
Is this new tenant a fraudster? Is the guy I'm dating accused of violent crimes? Is my neighbor a child molester? Is my child's teacher a DUI offender? Not all local authorities release Official Records and mugshots to the public. WE STRONGLY URGE YOU TO CONTACT YOUR COUNTY AND REQUEST THE RELEASE OF SUCH DATA TO THE PUBLIC. The benefits to the public and your community are enormous.
I searched for my mugshot and/or a friend's mugshot and cannot find it on Mug-Shots.us. Can you help?
Not all agencies release Official Records and mugshots. We will post it online when and if we find it.
Some mugshot pages have very sensitive information, like a home address, business address, other. Why is that?
All information on the mugshot pages on Mug-Shots.us was originated with law enforcement agencies. We publish the information "as is" and do not edit it.
"I was found not guilty" ; "The case was dismissed" ; Why is my record on Mug-Shots.us?
To answer this question please refer to the first question on this page, "What is a mugshot?"
"I was found guilty" ; "My case is pending" ; Will you remove my mugshot?
"My record was Expunged" ; "I was pardoned" ; "My case was dismissed" ; Will you remove my mugshot?
As you may be aware Expungement and pardon only apply to certain government agencies' databases, and not all of them. Certainly not to the private sector.
Isn’t publishing my mug shot a violation of my rights?
No, it is not. Originally collected and distributed by Law Enforcement agencies, Booking records are considered and legally recognized as public records, in the public domain. Furthermore, while it may be you or someone you know in the mugshot, the ownership of these records is public.
By publishing mugshots are you violating copyright laws?
No, we do not. Federal Laws allow for reproduction of public records. Additionally, news reporting is acceptable usage under Fair Use statute
"Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test." - Wikipedia
Are all listed on Mug-Shots.us in jail right now?
No. Some are, many aren't. Mug-Shots.us posts historical Official Records data originally provided by Law Enforcement agencies, what believed to be true and factual information. FOR LATEST STATUS, CONTACT THE OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHICH ORIGINALLY RELEASED THE DATA.
Are all listed on Mug-Shots.us wanted by a Law Enforcement agency?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. Mug-Shots.us database is not an exclusive database of wanted criminals. Some are, most aren't. FOR LATEST STATUS, CONTACT THE OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHICH ORIGINALLY RELEASED THE DATA.
I've read something online about Mug-Shots.us and it doesn't make sense to me. Is it true?
We cannot control what people say online but we can tell you that in many instances it is indeed false. We wrote a lengthy article about a number of Mug-Shots.us Myths