You’ve probably watched your local news or read the paper in the morning and spotted a mugshot related to a story involving an arrest or a criminal trial. You may have thought that this is part of arrest information that is only given to the media or shared amongst cops and lawyers. The truth is anyone can have access to mugshots in real-time with the help of a search engine that combs through public records to find information that may be important to the safety of you and your neighbors.
A mugshot, also known as a booking photo, is a valuable part of the arrest process. It’s the start of the booking process once a defendant is brought into a police station or regional jail. This allows officers and other legal authorities to distinguish suspects based on appearance rather than by name. The truth is that busted mugshots are actually a matter of public record in most jurisdictions across the United States. There are now user-friendly databases like GoLookUp that are designed to obtain an individual’s mugshot, which in turn can lead to arrest data related to the defendant.
New arrests happen constantly across the U.S., so these search engines are designed to direct users to the court of law or jurisdiction that is handling the booking process and subsequent criminal case. With this information about suspects or inmates, you can find out more about the incident that occurred, or even a prior criminal record that could exist for this person based on hundreds of millions of public documents.
A mugshot is used by law enforcement agencies as an identifier of a suspect in a criminal case. This allows officers and other legal authorities to distinguish suspects based on appearance rather than by name. While a first name and the last name of a defendant is the common identifier, there are plenty of people who have the same moniker. That’s why having this booking photo in the county of an arrest can prevent a person with zero involvement in such a criminal case from getting roped in unnecessarily.
A mugshot search can also help researchers delve into a suspect’s criminal history. With these booking photos, you can learn if a person arrested in your hometown has an arrest record in your county, or elsewhere across the United States. These photos become part of a file created by a local sheriff’s office at the county or state level that are then passed on to those handling a case in the judicial system. You can also learn the nature of the crimes the offender is being charged with, along with the possible sentence that comes with those counts.
Mugshots and arrest records are considered a matter of public information, but access could depend on the jurisdiction. Accessing these booking photos online can lead researchers to the right local authorities to better understand what exactly happened during an incident. This is a huge asset for news agencies who are looking to put an arrest in the paper, online, or on television. It spares time trying to comb through public records or reaching out to the wrong departments for the facts.
For the average citizen, it provides peace of mind. Knowing the arrest history of someone who was booked in your neighborhood could alert you to be wary of that person. It could also keep you vigilant of any developments regarding that criminal case and the charges that person is facing. However, it’s important to remember that mugshots and arrests are not convictions. A person is innocent until proven guilty.