Can Mugshots Portrait Innocent People as Guilty?

By Luke Worli posted 04-25-2021 04:07 PM


The most important cornerstone of the US justice system is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. 

In addition to this, the burden of proof often lies with the prosecutors. In essence, you don’t have to prove you’re innocent. It’s the prosecution that has to make a case against you. 

But most routine police procedures like taking a mugshot of a suspect can create an impression of guilt even before the trial starts. 

And with the Internet these days, these shots can spread very fast online. This can have a huge dent in the reputation of the affected person, something that will have adverse negative effects on their personal and even professional lives. 

Even if later after a trial this person is proven innocent, the damage that comes from the circulation of mug shots online is already done and cannot be reversed. 

And as you also know, the Internet doesn’t forget. It could be years after a trial that proves your innocence. But as long as the mug shot of your arrest made its way online, it will stay there forever.

Why Are Mug Shots So Risky to the Reputation of a Person? 

Well, the mug shot is a simple record that affects everybody that gets booked in a police station. It doesn’t matter what crime you have done. 

It could be something as simple as ignoring a red light or something as serious as murder. People that are booked at the station have their mugshot taken. 

The sad thing is that we live in a very judgmental society. The moment people see your mugshot, they won’t care what you have done. To them, you’re a criminal and it’s not hard to understand why someone may come to this conclusion. 

After all, mug shots have been associated with criminal activity for many years. But if you feel your mugshot has become a danger to your reputation and your life in general, you can try this mugshot removal service and see if you can get that photo deleted from the public record.

Changes in News Publication Policy 

The great thing is that over the years, news publications have come to realize how circulating the mug shots of innocent people can affect their lives. 

As such, many of these publications have changed their policy. Editors of major news publications don’t post mugshots of arrested individuals unless they are convicted of the crimes they are accused of. 

But of course, not all publications are willing to adhere to these rules. Many defense attorneys will argue that publishing the mug shot of a person who’s facing trial can easily bias the trial process against them. 

As such, many are calling on news publications to do everything they can to maintain the presumption of innocence for any individual until they are proven guilty. 

But there’s still a very long way to go. As long as mug shots remain part of the public record, the risk of circulating online remains very high.