How can I get my old arrest records and mugshots for free?

What is an arrest record?

An arrest record is a document created by a law enforcement station whenever an arrest occurs. If the person being arrested has already been arrested before, then the details of the arrest are simply added to the original arrest record, created after their first arrest.

Arrest records are used by the government as a transcript of what transpired during, before, and after the arrest. It lists identifying details, the officers involved, and the reasons for the arrest. Typically, arrest records are attached to the mugshot taken of the individual when they arrive at the police station. These mugshots serve as a physical reference for the person being arrested, as well as proof that they were detained and held within the station.

How can I access my arrest record and mugshots?

Well, there are plenty of ways to obtain these critical documents.

The most common, and by far the easiest method is to utilize an online public records search. All you need is to search the name of the person you’re researching, and you’ll have results pop up in minutes. Importantly, these arrest records will be as accurate as they can be, and are typically identical to the documents stored by police.

If all you’re wondering is how to find someone’s mugshot, an online public records search will be your best bet. In fact, when searching for an arrest record, it can be possible that others have the same name as the one you’re searching. Typically, the mugshot attached to the file is the easiest way to ensure that you’re looking at the correct record, so as to avoid any confusion.

Are there other ways of finding a mugshot?

Yes. Some police departments regularly publish the mugshots of people who’ve they’ve arrested on social media, or on their department website. If you know the station that performed the arrest, then you can likely find the mugshot with some ease. However, not every state permits law enforcement to do this, and typically, the mugshots published are either of violent criminals or people who have evaded arrest. If you’re looking for a mugshot related to a minor misdemeanor, then you may not be able to find it very easily with this method.

You can also contact the department directly. Either By calling them, or visiting their station, you can access an officer assigned to clerical duties, and request the mugshot. However, if the office believes that you lack a sufficient reason to have the mugshot, they may see fit to deny you access. In addition, you’ll likely have to wade through red tape, as well as wait an inconvenient time to be serviced.

Another option to obtain a mugshot is via an attorney. Many law offices subscribe to databases containing the mugshots and arrest records of people across the nation, and these databases are heavily regulated, to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within. However, many lawyers won’t just give this information for free. You’ll at the very least need to pay a consultation fee just to make the request, and some offices may require that you be a client to receive help locating a relatively trivial piece of information.

SpyFly provides consumers affordable, immediate access to public record information. Federal laws prohibit businesses from using SpyFly's service to make decisions about employment, insurance, consumer credit, tenant screening, or for any other purpose subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq.