Mug Shots and Booking Photo Websites

6/28/2022

Overview

In recent years, booking or arrest photographs (mug shots) obtained from law enforcement websites have been reposted on commercial websites, some of which charge a fee to have the photographs removed. Some sites will remove photos at no cost for those who can show that charges were dropped or that they were found not guilty; others charge a fee. Once on the web, however, the photographs can be copied and redistributed by other sites, and individuals who had charges dropped or were found not guilty can find it difficult to repair their online reputation.

Several states have addressed these concerns by prohibiting law enforcement from releasing mug shots, prohibiting websites from charging fees for the removal of mug shots from a web site or otherwise regulating these sites' practices.

Critics of this type of legislation consider access to booking photographs shots an important part of journalistic coverage, freedom of speech and the public’s right to know. Journalists and others assert that these photographs should remain in the public realm. Indeed, some of the proposed legislation listed below would specifically provide that booking photographs are to remain public record. Notably, public records laws in some states do not expressly address whether mugshots are public records, and thus their release may be  left to the discretion of law enforcement.

Lastly, some private companies have taken action against some of the websites that charge fees to remove mug shots. MasterCard, American Express and Discover reportedly cut ties with the sites, and Google changed its search algorithms so that the sites do not show up as prominently in search results.

Summary of Enacted Legislation 2012-2022

Louisiana in 2022 passed legislation to prohibit a law enforcement agency from releasing booking photos except in specified circumstances. It also requires websites to remove a booking photograph when the individual in the booking photograph requests removal and destruction, and prohibits charging a fee to do so.

Arkansas’ 2021 legislation mandates that privately-owned mug shot websites that accept, request, or require the payment of a fee must remove the booking photograph from the website within five business days of receipt of a written request. California passed legislation that prohibits a police department or sheriff's office from sharing, on social media, booking photos of an individual arrested on suspicion of committing a nonviolent crime, unless specified circumstances exist. Florida in 2021 expanded the applicability of provisions relating to the dissemination of arrest booking photographs to include a person or entity whose primary business model is the publishing or dissemination of such photographs for a commercial purpose or pecuniary gain. Also in 2021, Utah passed a law that protects images taken of individuals during the booking process and prohibits a sheriff from disclosing the images. Oregon also now prohibits a law enforcement agency from releasing booking photos except in specified circumstances. Montana, on the other hand, passed legislation providing that booking photographs are public criminal justice information, and require criminal justice agencies to charge a clerking fee for release of certain booking photographs.

No bills were enacted in 2020

In 2019, Illinois passed a law that prohibits, with exceptions, a law enforcement agency from publishing booking photographs on its social networking website. New York passed legislation that prohibits disclosure of booking photographs unless public release serves a specific law enforcement purpose. Utah in 2019 enacted a law requiring a publication or website to remove and destroy a booking photograph, within a specific time period, when the individual in the booking photograph requests removal and destruction.

Illinois in 2018 enacted legislation that provides for-profit publishers that make a person's criminal record information available on a publicly available Internet website or in any other publication that charges a fee for removal or correction of the information must correct any errors in the individual's criminal history information within five business days after notification of an error.

In 2017, Florida passed legislation providing that businesses that publish or otherwise disseminate arrest booking photographs through a publicly accessible print or electronic medium may not solicit or accept a fee or other form of payment to remove, correct, or modify such photographs; provides for a civil action and damages for violations. Illinois law now exempts from inspection and copying law enforcement records of other persons requested by a person committed to the Department of Corrections or a county jail, including mug shots, with exceptions. New Jersey and Ohio enacted laws prohibiting a person from charging a fee to stop publishing mug shots. South Dakota’s 2017 legislation provides for the release of certain booking photographs.

Florida in 2016 enacted legislation that authorizes records custodians to choose not to electronically publish juvenile arrest and booking photographs. Also, in 2016, Kentucky prohibited commercial use of booking photographs and photographic records generated by law enforcement for identification purposes and allows for a right of action for certain persons requesting the removal of a photograph. South Carolina's 2016 law provides that an entity who publishes on a website the arrest and booking records of a person whose charges have been discharged or dismissed, or of a person who is found not guilty of a charge, shall, without fee or compensation, remove the arrest and booking records within a certain time period. 

Maryland in 2015 passed a law providing that a web site may not charge a fee to remove an individual's booking photograph from the web site under specified circumstances. Vermont's 2015 law also prohibits a website from charging a fee for the removal of mug shots. Virginia’s 2015 law provides that any person who disseminates, publishes, or maintains mug shots who also solicits, requests, or accepts money for removing the image or information is liable to the individual who is subject to the information for actual damages or a specified amount.

California in 2014 enacted a law that prohibits those who publish criminal record information via print or electronic means from soliciting or accepting a fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify that information. Establishes civil penalties for violations. Colorado and Georgia passed legislation in 2014 prohibiting any person from obtaining a booking photo knowing that it will be posted to a web site that requires a fee to remote the photo. Missouri and Wyoming passed bills requiring a person publishing an arrest booking photograph on a website to remove it upon the request of the individual whose photograph was published.

Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, Texas and Utah in 2013 enacted legislation to address these concerns by prohibiting commercial sites from charging fees for removing inaccurate mug shots upon request or by prohibiting sheriffs from releasing mug shots to sites that charge a fee, among other provisions.

2022 Legislation

At least 10 states considered legislation in 2022. Legislation has been enacted in Louisiana.

Idaho
ID H.B. 620
Booking Photographs
Status: Failed -
Amends existing law to provide that a booking photograph shall not be made public in certain instances, provides certain exceptions.

Illinois
IL H.B. 3978
Freedom of Information Act
Status: Pending
Amends the Freedom of Information Act, provides that a law enforcement agency may not electronically provide or publish booking photographs unless: the booking photograph is posted to a social networking website to assist in the search for a missing person or to assist in the search for a fugitive, person of interest, or individual wanted in relation to a crime other than a Petty offense, business offense, Class C misdemeanor, or Class B misdemeanor.

Indiana
IN H.B. 1170
Arrestee Publicity
Status: Failed 
Relates to arrestee publicity, prohibits a law enforcement agency that has arrested a person from, sharing the arrestee's name or booking photo on social media, publishing the arrestee's name or booking photo on the agency's Internet web site, or disclosing the arrestee's name or booking photo during a press conference, allows disclosure if, the arrestee is a fugitive, the arrestee presents an imminent threat to public safety, a court orders the disclosure.

Louisiana
LA H.B. 729
Criminal Records
Status: Enacted
Provides that a law enforcement officer or agency shall not provide a copy of a booking photograph in any format to a person requesting a copy of that photograph, provides that no law enforcement officer or agency shall publish, release, or disseminate in any format a booking photograph to the public or to a private person or entity with specified exceptions.

Missouri
MO H.B. 1532
Booking Photographs Removal Requirements
Status: Failed 
Requires operators of websites to remove booking photographs in certain situations.

Mississippi
MS H.B. 416
Public Records Act Booking Information
Status: Failed
Exempts booking information from the public records act if the person being booked is held in custody solely on the basis of the person's mental health status, defines the term booking information for purposes of the exemption.

North Carolina
NC S.B. 660
Regulate Dissemination of Booking Photograph
Status: Pending
Regulates the dissemination and removal or destruction of booking photographs.

New Hampshire
NH H.B. 125
Post Arrest Photo Distribution
Status: Pending
Prohibits law enforcement from distributing post-arrest photos of suspects except in certain circumstances.

Pennsylvania
PA H.B. 1736
Publishing or Disseminating Booking Photographs
Status: Pending
Prohibits against publishing or disseminating booking photographs for commercial use, defines offense, relates to violation of unfair trade practices and consumer protection law.

West Virginia
WV H.B. 4796
Posting of Mug Shot Photos for an Arrest
Status: Failed 
Prohibits the sheriff's department from posting mug shot photos for an arrest.
 

2021 Legislation

At least 13 states considered legislation in 2021. Legislation was enacted in Arkansas, California, Florida, Montana, Oregon and Utah.

Arkansas
AR H.B. 1437
Booking Photographs Unlawful Uses
Status: Enacted
Concerns the unlawful use of a person's booking photograph on a publish for pay website.

California
CA A.B. 1475
Law Enforcement: Social Media
Status: Enacted
Prohibits a police department or sheriff's office from sharing, on social media, booking photos of an individual arrested on suspicion of committing a nonviolent crime, unless specified circumstances exist. Requires a police department or sheriff's office that shares, on social media, a booking photo of an individual arrested for the suspected commission of any crime to remove the information from its social media page, upon request, unless the same specified circumstances exist.

Delaware
DE H.B. 50
Juvenile Records
Status: Failed
Recognizes that a criminal charge can have lasting collateral consequences for a juvenile on employment and education opportunities, raises the age in which a juveniles information, such as their name and mug shot, may be released by the state.

Florida
FL H.B. 755
Arrest Booking Photographs
Status: Failed
Relates to arrest booking photographs, expands applicability of provisions relating to dissemination of arrest booking photographs to include person or entity whose primary business model is publishing or dissemination of such photographs for commercial purpose or pecuniary gain, revises applicability.

FL H.B. 967
Dissemination of Arrest Booking Photographs
Status: Failed
Relates to dissemination of arrest booking photographs, prohibits republication or redissemination of arrest booking photographs, authorizes civil action against person or entity republishing or redisseminating photograph if such person or entity was required to remove it from publication or electronic medium, provides that republishing or redisseminating arrest booking photograph constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice.

FL H.B. 1453
Public Records and Arrest Booking Photographs
Status: Failed
Relates to public records/arrest booking photographs, provides an exemption from public records requirements for arrest booking photographs, provides for release of arrest booking photographs, provides for future legislative review and repeal, provides statement of public necessity.

FL S.B. 444
Public Records
Status: Failed
Relates to Public Records.

FL S.B. 1046
Arrest Booking Photographs
Status: Enacted
Relates to arrest booking photographs, expands the applicability of provisions relating to the dissemination of arrest booking photographs to include a person or entity whose primary business model is the publishing or dissemination of such photographs for a commercial purpose or pecuniary gain.

FL S.B. 1398
Dissemination of Arrest Booking Photographs
Status: Failed
Relates to dissemination of arrest booking photographs, prohibits the republishing or redissemination of certain arrest booking photographs, authorizes a person whose arrest booking photograph is republished or redisseminated to bring a civil action against the person or entity republishing or redisseminating the photograph if such person or entity was required to remove it from the publication or electronic medium, authorizes a court to impose a specified civil penalty.

Iowa
IA SSB 1106
Confidentiality of Law Enforcement Reports
Status: Failed
Relates to the confidentiality of certain law enforcement reports, records, and information under Iowa's Open Records Law.

Illinois
IL H.B. 3978
Freedom of Information Act
Status: Pending
Amends the Freedom of Information Act, provides that a law enforcement agency may not electronically provide or publish booking photographs unless: the booking photograph is posted to a social networking website to assist in the search for a missing person or to assist in the search for a fugitive, person of interest, or individual wanted in relation to a crime other than a Petty offense, business offense, Class C misdemeanor, or Class B misdemeanor.

Montana
MT D 999
Criminal Justice Information
Status: Failed
Revises laws related to criminal justice information, relates to criminal procedure.

MT D 1684
Criminal Procedure Law
Status: Failed -
Revises Criminal Procedure Law, relates to criminal procedure.

MT H.B. 665
Criminal Procedure Law Regarding Booking Photos
Status: Enacted
Provides that booking photographs are public criminal justice information, requires a criminal justice agency to charge a clerking fee for release of certain booking photographs.

MT H.B. 711
Laws Relating to the First Amendment and the Media
Status: Failed
Revises laws relating to the first amendment and the media, relates to appropriations, relates to communications, relates to federal government.

North Carolina
NC H.B. 762
Release of Booking Photographs
Status: Failed
Prohibits the release of booking photographs.

NC S.B. 660
Regulate Dissemination of Booking Photograph
Status: Pending
Regulates the dissemination and removal or destruction of booking photographs.

North Dakota
ND H.B. 1296
Confidentiality of Booking Photos
Status: Failed
Relates to the confidentiality of booking photos.

New Hampshire
NH H.B. 125
Post Arrest Photo Distribution
Status: Pending
Prohibits law enforcement from distributing post-arrest photos of suspects except in certain circumstances.

NH H.B. 584
Guilt By Association and Defamation By Media Outlets
Status: Failed
Defines and regulates defamation-in-kind.

Oregon
OR H.B. 3273
Booking Photo Release Prohibition
Status: Enacted
Prohibits law enforcement agency from releasing booking photo except in specified circumstances.

OR H.B. 3388
Felony Domestic Violence Offender Registry Website
Status: Failed
Directs Judicial Department to establish felony domestic violence offender registry website.

Pennsylvania
PA H.B. 1736
Publishing or Disseminating Booking Photographs
Status: Pending
Prohibits against publishing or disseminating booking photographs for commercial use, defines offense, relates to violation of unfair trade practices and consumer protection law.

Utah
UT H.B. 228
Jail Photo Distribution Prohibition
Status: Enacted
Amends provisions relating to the disclosure of an image taken during the process of booking an individual into jail.


2020 Legislation

At least six states considered legislation in 2020.

Georgia
GA H.B. 1185 (2019)
Peace Officer Body Camera Audio and Video Recordings
Status: Failed -
Relates to state printing and documents, provides for the release of certain audio and video recordings from peace officer body cameras, prohibits the alteration of body camera recordings.

GA S.B. 513 (2019)
Police and Justice Matters
Status: Failed -
Revises various titles regarding police and justice matters.

Illinois
IL H.B. 44 (2019)
Criminal Records
Status: Pending
Amends the Freedom of Information Act, provides that a law enforcement agency may not electronically provide or publish booking photographs unless the booking photograph is posted to social media to assist in the search for a missing person or to assist in the search for a fugitive, person of interest, or individual wanted in relation to a crime other than a Petty offense, business offense, Class C misdemeanor, or Class B misdemeanor, or the person is convicted of a crime other than a Petty offense.

IL S.B. 1345 (2019)
Booking Photographs Public Access
Status: Pending
Amends the Freedom of Information Act, provides that a booking photograph shall be furnished within a certain number of hours after the arrest only if there is an imminent threat to public or personal safety, provides that any person or entity engaged in publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal record information through print or electronic media shall not make booking photographs available for publishing prior to an arrestee's conviction of the crime.

Mississippi
MS S.B. 2860
Stop Guilt By Accusation Act
Status: Failed
Entitled the Stop Guilt By Accusation Act relating to defamation by media outlets and selective reporting by media outlets, requires media outlets to report on the outcome of a case and controversy after reporting on the initial filing where the petitioner received less relief than originally sought or where the accused sends a notice to the media outlet after the verdict demanding that the final disposition be reported.

North Carolina
NC H.B. 865 (2019)
Certificate of Relief
Status: Failed -
Removes the waiting period before a person may petition the court for a certificate of relief if certain requirements are met, prohibits a private entity from charging a person a fee to delete criminal history record information, makes it an unfair and deceptive trade practice for a private entity to fail to delete criminal history record information within a certain period of time after receiving notice to delete the information.

New Hampshire
NH H.B. 1524 (2019)
Post-Arrest Photos Distribution
Status: Failed -
Prohibits law enforcement from distributing post-arrest photos of suspects except in certain circumstances.

New York
NY A.B. 323 (2019)
Booking Photographs
Status: Pending
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

NY A.B. 2009 (2019)
State Fiscal Plan
Status: Pending
Enacts into law major components of legislation which are necessary to implement the state fiscal plan for the 2019-2020 state fiscal year.

NY S.B. 1998 (2019)
Publicly Available Booking Photographs
Status: Failed
Provides that booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

2019 Legislation

At least four states considered legislation in 2019. Legislation was enacted in Illinois, New York and Utah in 2019.

Illinois
H.B. 44
Status: Pending
Amends the Freedom of Information Act, provides that a law enforcement agency may not electronically provide or publish booking photographs unless the booking photograph is posted to social media to assist in the search for a missing person or to assist in the search for a fugitive, person of interest, or individual wanted in relation to a crime other than a Petty offense, business offense, Class C misdemeanor, or Class B misdemeanor, or the person is convicted of a crime other than a Petty offense.

S.B. 1345
Status: Pending
Amends the Freedom of Information Act, provides that a booking photograph shall be furnished within a certain number of hours after the arrest only if there is an imminent threat to public or personal safety, provides that any person or entity engaged in publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal record information through print or electronic media shall not make booking photographs available for publishing prior to an arrestee's conviction of the crime.

S.B. 1699
Status: Enacted
Amends the Freedom of Information Act, prohibits, with exceptions, a law enforcement agency from publishing booking photographs on its social networking website, provides that social networking website has the meaning provided in the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, adds the same restrictions to the State Records Act.

Montana
D 2426
Status: Failed - Adjourned
Makes mug shots confidential until conviction or emergency, relates to crimes.

Provides that an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes disclosure of law enforcement booking information about an individual, including booking photographs, unless public release of such information will serve a specific law enforcement purpose and disclosure is not precluded by any state or federal laws.

New York
S.B. 1505
Status: Enacted
Enacts into law major components of legislation necessary to implement the state public protection and general government budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Provides that an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes disclosure of law enforcement booking information about an individual, including booking photographs, unless public release of such information will serve a specific law enforcement purpose and disclosure is not precluded by any state or federal laws.

Utah
S.B. 185
Status: Enacted
Imposes booking photograph removal and destruction requirements on publications and websites that publish and post booking photographs, requires a certain publication or website to remove and destroy a booking photograph when the individual in the booking photograph requests removal and destruction within certain time periods.

2018 Legislation

At least seven states considered legislation in 2018. Legislation was enacted in Illinois in 2018.

Delaware
H.B. 7
Status: Failed--adjourned.
Provides that the name or address of a child, or the name of the child’s parents, as well as any mug shot or identifying photo of the child, must not be released or published on a publicly-maintained social media page or web site unless the child is 16 years of age or older and charged with or found delinquent of a crime classified by Title 11 as a felony, or a Class A misdemeanor. Nothing in this section applies to the release of information regarding children facing charges as an adult in Superior Court.

Georgia
H.B. 478
Status: Failed--adjourned.
Relates to general provisions regarding law enforcement officers and agencies, so as to revise the requirements which must be met before an arresting law enforcement agency may provide or make available a copy of a booking photograph to a person; provides for related matters; repeals conflicting laws.

Illinois
S.B. 2560
Status: Enacted, Chap. 927
Amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act; provides that persons or entity that publishes for profit a person's criminal record information on a publicly available Internet website or in any other publication that charges a fee for removal or correction of the information must correct any errors in the individual's criminal history information within 5 business days after notification of an error.

New Jersey
A.B. 2835
Status: Pending
Requires public release of photographs of arrestees under the state's open public records law

New York
A.B. 838
Status: Pending
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

S.B. 5029
Status: Pending
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

South Carolina
H.B. 3481
Status: Pending
Relates to the destruction of arrest and booking records; provides that a person or entity who publishes on the person or entity's website the arrest and booking records of a person whose charges have been discharged or dismissed, or who is found not guilty of a charge, without fee or compensation, shall remove the arrest and booking records within thirty days of a written request; provides a penalty for a violation.

Washington
Status: Failed--adjourned.
H.B. 5776
Concerns the publication of offender photographs.

 

2017 Legislation

At least 11 states introduced/considered legislation in 2017. Legislation was enacted in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota in 2017.

See also 2016 Legislation | 2015 Legislation | 2014 Legislation | 2013 Legislation | 2012 Legislation

Delaware
H.B. 7
Status: Pending - Carryover
Provides that the name or address of a child, or the name of the child’s parents, as well as any mug shot or identifying photo of the child, must not be released or published on a publicly-maintained social media page or web site unless the child is 16 years of age or older and charged with or found delinquent of a crime classified by Title 11 as a felony, or a Class A misdemeanor. Nothing in this section applies to the release of information regarding children facing charges as an adult in Superior Court.

Florida
H.B. 395
Status: Failed
Relates to arrest booking photographs; prohibits person who publishes or disseminates arrest booking photographs through certain media from soliciting or accepting payment of fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify such photographs; authorizes action to enjoin publication or dissemination of arrest booking photograph for violation; specifies time limit for removal of arrest booking photograph pursuant to court order.

S.B. 118
Status: Signed by Governor. Chapter 130.
Relates to expunction of criminal history records; provides that any person or entity engaged in the business of publishing or otherwise disseminating arrest booking photographs of persons who have previously been arrested through a publicly accessible print or electronic medium may not solicit or accept a fee or other form of payment to remove, correct, or modify such photographs; provides for a civil action and damages for violations.

S.B. 546
Status: Failed
Relates to arrest booking photographs.

Georgia
H.B. 478
Status: Pending - Carryover
Relates to general provisions regarding law enforcement officers and agencies, so as to revise the requirements which must be met before an arresting law enforcement agency may provide or make available a copy of a booking photograph to a person; provides for related matters; repeals conflicting laws.

Illinois
H.B. 619
Status: Signed by Governor; Public Act 26
Amends the Freedom of Information Act; exempts from inspection and copying law enforcement records of other persons requested by a person committed to the Department of Corrections or a county jail, including, but not limited to, arrest and booking records, mug shots, and crime scene photographs, except as these records may be relevant to the requester's current or potential case or claim.

Montana
H.B. 236
Status: Failed
Revises laws related to release of information by law enforcement; clarifies booking photographs
 are public criminal justice information; limits dissemination of booking photographs.

Mississippi
H.B. 794
Status: Failed.
Exempts booking information from the public records act if the person being booked is held in custody solely on the basis of the person's mental health status; defines the term booking information for purposes of the exemption.

New Jersey
A.B. 2085
Status: Pending
Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system.

A.B. 2913
Status: Pending
Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system.

S.B. 1840
Status: Signed by Governor. Chap. 123
Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system.

New York
A.B. 838
Status: Pending
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

S.B. 5029
Status: Pending
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

Ohio
H.B. 6
Status: Signed by Governor; Session Law 22
Prohibits a person who publishes or disseminates criminal record information from soliciting or accepting a fee to remove, correct, modify, or refrain from publishing or otherwise disseminating the information and to provide criminal and civil remedies for a violation of the prohibition.

South Carolina
H.B. 3481
Status: Carryover.
Relates to the destruction of arrest and booking records; provides that a person or entity who publishes on the person or entity's website the arrest and booking records of a person whose charges have been discharged or dismissed, or who is found not guilty of a charge, without fee or compensation, shall remove the arrest and booking records within thirty days of a written request; provides a penalty for a violation.

South Dakota
S.B. 25
Status: Signed by Governor; Chap. 100.
Provides for the release of certain booking photographs. Law enforcement agencies are not required to provide or reproduce a booking photograph older than six months from the date of request. An agency requested to provide or reproduce a criminal booking photograph is entitled to recover costs of retrieval or reproduction.

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2016 Legislation

At least 12 states introduced/considered legislation in 2016. Legislation was enacted in Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina in 2016.

Arizona
H.B. 2199
Status: Failed--adjourned.
Relates to unlawful use; relates to booking photos; relates to information.

Florida
H.B. 293
Status: March 24, 2016; Filed as Chapter No. 2016-78
Provides that juvenile justice confidential information, including arrest records, is exempt from public records requirements; authorizes custodians to choose not to electronically publish juvenile arrest and booking photographs; provides an exception for intrastate criminal information; relates to employee background screenings, investigations, notifications, court records and fingerprinting. (Does not address commercial mug shot websites.)

H.B. 905
Status: March 11, 2016; In House. Died in committee.
Relates to arrest booking photographs; prohibits persons who publishes or disseminates arrest booking photographs through certain medium from soliciting or accepting payment of fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify such photograph; authorizes a civil action; provides civil remedies; provides a civil penalty; prohibits a justice agency from electronically publishing arrest booking photographs of certain arrestees.

S.B. 700
Status: March 2, 2016; In House. Died in committee.
Relates to public records; specifies that certain confidential information relating to juvenile justice is exempt from public records requirements; revises the applicability of public records requirements with respect to the arrest records of certain juvenile offenders; authorizes a custodian not to post certain images; provides an exemption from public records requirements from intrastate sources; provides exceptions; provides for the release of such information of a juvenile under certain circumstances

S.B. 1072
Status: March 11, 2016; In Senate. Died in committee.
Relates to arrest booking photographs; prohibits a person who publishes or disseminates an arrest booking photograph through a certain medium from soliciting or accepting payment of a fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify such photograph; authorizes an action to enjoin publication or dissemination of an arrest booking photograph for a violation of the act; specifies the time limit for the removal of an arrest booking photograph pursuant to a court order.

Hawaii
H.B. 529
Status: March 10, 2016; Failed
For criminal cases resulting in no conviction: 1) prohibits commercial websites from collecting a fee for removing arrest booking photographs from the website; 2) prohibits criminal justice agencies from posting arrest booking photographs on a website except as provided by law.

Illinois
S.B. 328
Status: Failed—adjourned.
Amends the Freedom of Information Act to exempt from inspection and copying records requested by a person committed to the Department of Corrections or a county jail, the disclosure of which would result in the risk of harm to persons or risk of escape; includes records requested by such persons containing victim information, and law enforcement records of other persons committed to the Department of Corrections or a county jail, including arrest and booking records, mug shots and crime scene photographs.

Kentucky
H.B. 132
Status: April 1, 2016; Signed by Governor. Chap. 101.
Prohibits for commercial purposes the use of booking photographs and photographic records generated by law enforcement for identification purposes and taken of an inmate under certain conditions; allows for a right of action for certain persons requesting the removal of a photograph taken; provides for civil penalties; defines related terms; provides for service credits and sentence reductions to county jail inmates for receiving a general equivalency or high school diploma, and for good behavior.

New Jersey
A.B. 2085
Status: Pending
Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system.

New York
A.B. 626
Status: Failed--adjourned.
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

S.B. 4537
Status: Failed--adjourned.
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

North Carolina
H.B. 18
Status: Failed--adjourned. (Special session)
Makes post-arrest photographic images confidential and not subject to public release unless the person photographed is charged with a felony or the release is requires to secure the public's safety.

Ohio
H.B. 172
Status: Failed--adjourned.
Prohibits a person engaged in ;publishing criminal record information from accepting a fee to remove, modify or refrain from disseminating records and booking photographs. Provides that a person found not guilty may apply to expunge the record; related to prostitution-related offenses and victims of human trafficking; provides that a criminal penalty related to fraud by casino operators and employees applies at their casino facility or an affiliated facility.

South Carolina
H.B. 3700
Status: Failed
Relates to the destruction of arrest and booking records; provides that a person or entity who publishes on the person or entity's website the arrest and booking records of a person whose charges have been discharged or dismissed, or who is found not guilty of a charge, without fee or compensation, shall remove the arrest and booking records within thirty days of a written request; provides a penalty for a violation.

S.B. 255
Status: February 23, 2016; Act No. 132
Relates to the destruction of arrest and booking records; provides that an entity who publishes on a website the arrest and booking records of a person whose charges have been discharged or dismissed, or of a person who is found not guilty of a charge, shall, without fee or compensation, remove the arrest and booking records within specified days of a written request; includes administrative hearings; provides penalties for failure to remove such records; provides for correction of crime database records.

Washington
H.B. 1723
Status: Failed
Allows booking photographs and electronic images at jails to be open to the public.

Wisconsin
A.B. 258
Status: Failed.
Relates to removal of certain criminal record information from Internet sites without a fee; provides a criminal penalty.

S.B. 184
Status: Failed.
Relates to removal of certain criminal record information from Internet sites without a fee; provides a criminal penalty.
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2015 Legislation

At least 13 states introduced/considered legislation in 2015, and legislation has been enacted in Maryland, Vermont and Virginia in 2015.

Alabama
H.B. 8
Status: Failed-Adjourned.
Requires websites containing personal information of persons charged with crimes to remove information at no charge upon request; provides civil penalties; provides presumption of defamation.

Florida
S.B. 276
Status: Failed
Relates to arrest booking photographs; prohibits a person who publishes or disseminates an arrest booking photograph through a publicly accessible print or electronic medium from soliciting or accepting payment of a fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify such photograph; authorizes an action to enjoin publication or dissemination of an arrest booking photograph if the publisher or disseminator unlawfully solicits or accepts a fee or other consideration.

Hawaii
H.B. 529
Status: Pending--Carryover
For criminal cases resulting in no conviction: 1) prohibits commercial websites from collecting a fee for removing arrest booking photographs from the website; 2) prohibits criminal justice agencies from posting arrest booking photographs on a website except as provided by law.

Kentucky
H.B. 350
Status: Failed/Adjourned
Relates to booking photographs; prohibits a person from using a booking photograph for a commercial purpose if that photograph will be posted in a publication or on a Web site, and the removal of the booking photograph requires the payment of a fee or other consideration; defines booking photograph.

Maryland
H.B. 744
Status: Signed by Governor; Chap. 453
Authorizes an individual to request an operator of a web site to remove the individual's photograph or digital image from the operator's web site under specified circumstances; requires an individual to make a specified request for removal of a photograph or digital image in a specified manner; requires an operator of a web site to remove the photograph or digital image of an individual within a certain period of time and to send a specified written confirmation within a certain period of time.

Mississippi
H.B. 497
Status: Failed
Exempts booking information from the Public Records Act if the person being booked is held in custody solely on the basis of the person's mental health status; defines the term booking information for purposes of the exemption.

S.B. 2057
Status: Failed
Exempts booking information from the Public Records Act if the person being booked is held in custody solely on the basis of the person's mental health status; defines the term booking information for purposes of the exemption.

S.B. 2133
Status: Failed
Exempts booking information from the Public Records Act if the person being booked is held in custody solely on the basis of the person's mental health status; defines the term booking information for purposes of the exemption.

New Jersey
S.B. 961
Status: Pending
Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system

New York
A.B, 626
Status: Pending
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

S.B. 4537
Status: Pending
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

South Carolina
H.B. 3700
Status: Pending
Relates to the destruction of arrest and booking records; provides that a person or entity who publishes on the person or entity's website the arrest and booking records of a person whose charges have been discharged or dismissed, or who is found not guilty of a charge, without fee or compensation, shall remove the arrest and booking records within thirty days of a written request; provides a penalty for a violation.

S.B. 255
Status: Pending
Relates to the destruction of arrest and booking records; provides that a person or entity who publishes on the person or entity's website the arrest and booking records of a person whose charges have been discharged or dismissed, or of a person who is found not guilty of a charge, shall, without fee or compensation, remove the arrest and booking records within thirty days of a written request; provides the penalties for a person or entity who fails to remove the arrest and booking records.

Texas
H.B. 4114
Status: Failed--Adjourned
Relates to the publication, republication, or other dissemination of mug shots and other information regarding the involvement of an individual in the criminal justice system; increases a civil penalty.

Vermont
S.B. 12
Status: Pending--Carryover
Relates to the charging of fees for removing booking photographs from the Internet.

H.B. 105, Act 62
Status: June 17, 2015, Signed by Governor, Act 62
Relates to disclosure of sexually explicit images without consent, charging fees for removing booking photographs from the Internet, and expanding the scope of practice of Level II certified law enforcement officers 

Virginia
S.B. 720
Status: March 23, 2015; Signed by Governor, Chapter 414
Relates to dissemination of criminal history record information and civil actions; provides that any person who disseminates, publishes, or maintain or causes the same of the criminal history record information of an individual pertaining to that individual's charge or arrest for a criminal offense that solicits, requests, or accepts money or other thing of value for removing such information shall be liable to the individual who is subject to the information for actual damages or a specified amount.

Wisconsin
A.B. 258
Status: Pending
Relates to removal of certain criminal record information from Internet sites without a fee; provides a criminal penalty.

S.B. 184
Status: Pending
Relates to removal of certain criminal record information from Internet sites without a fee; provides a criminal penalty.

Compiled by Samantha Moodie.

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2014 Legislation

At least 15 states introduced or considered legislation. Legislation was enacted in Colorado, Georgia, and Wyoming in 2014.

Alabama
H.B. 135
Status: Failed
Requires the operator of a website publishing an arrest photograph of an individual to remove the photograph and personal information within a specified period upon notice of acquittal or other resolution of the charges without a conviction; provides that failure to remove a photograph and information is a deceptive trade practice; provides remedies for violations.

California
S.B. 1027
Status: Aug. 15, 2014; Signed by Governor. Chap. 194
Prohibits a person who publishes criminal record information via print or electronic means from soliciting or accepting a fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify that information. Establishes civil penalties for violations.

Colorado
H.B. 1047
Status: April 15, 2014; Signed by Governor, Chapter 115
Concerns restrictions on the publishing of basic identification information on commercial web sites.

Florida
H.B. 265
Status: Failed
Criminal Record Information; Defines "criminal record information"; prohibits person engaged in publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal record information from soliciting or accepting payment of fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify such information

H.B. 619
Status: Failed
Relates to websites containing information concerning persons charged with crimes; provides that publication of specified  photographs of subject individuals made in this state on website for purposes of commerce is deemed to be transaction of business in this state; requires removal of photograph from website without fee or compensation upon request by subject individual; provides requirements for request.

S.B. 298
Status: Failed
Relates to booking photographs; prohibits an individual or business entity from soliciting, charging, or collecting compensation for the removal of a booking photograph or other information related to a criminal charge or conviction from the Internet or other public medium; requires an individual or business entity that publishes booking photographs or criminal record information on an Internet website or other public medium to provide contact information

Georgia
H.B. 150
Status: May 6, 2014; Signed by Governor, Act 188
Relates to the Fair Business Practices Act; changes provisions relating to prohibited telemarketing and Internet activities; prohibits certain persons from collecting a fee for removing certain individuals' arresting booking photographs from a website; provides for related matters.

H.B. 845
Status: April 24, 2014; Signed by Governor. Act 627
Prohibits an arresting law enforcement agent or agency from posting booking photographs to or on a website except as required for publication and for the State Sexual Offender Registry; prohibits providing a copy of a booking photograph in any format to a person requesting photograph if booking photograph may be placed in a publication or posted to a website or transferred to a person to be placed in a publication or posted to a website; provides requirements for persons requesting a booking photograph.

Kentucky
H.B. 51
tatus: Failed-adjourned.
Prohibits a person from using a booking photograph for a commercial purpose if that photograph will be posted in a publication or on a Web site, and the removal of the booking photograph requires the payment of a fee or other consideration; defines booking photograph; includes the misuse of booking photographs as a violation.

S.B. 95
tatus: Failed-adjourned.
Relates to criminal records; 61.884 to prohibit a person from using criminal records, including booking photographs, for a commercial purpose if that information will be posted in a publication or on a Web site, and the removal of the information requires the payment of a fee or other consideration; defines booking photograph; includes misuse of a criminal records as a violation.

Minnesota
H.B. 1933
Relates to data practices; regulates disclosure of booking photographs.

H.B. 1940
Relates to data practices; relates to books and photographs.

S.B. 1863
Relates to data practices; relates to booking photographs.

Missouri
H.B. 1335
Prohibits businesses from requiring payment to remove a booking photograph and includes a petition process for an individual to have his or her booking photograph removed from the website.

H.B. 1665
Status: July 8, 2014; Signed by Governor.
Requires a person publishing an arrest booking photograph on his or her internet website to remove such photograph upon the request of the individual whose photograph was published.

New Jersey
A.B. 2064
Exempts mugshots of arrestees who have not been convicted of the underlying offense from State's open public records law.

A.B. 2177
This bill would clarify that the booking photographs taken of a defendant after an arrest, commonly referred to as mugshots, are to be available to the public under the State's open public records law. Current law does not specifically address the availability of mugshots to the public. Instead, decisions on whether to release mugshots are left to the discretion of investigative agencies, allowing inconsistent policies on the release of these records to be applied throughout the State. This bill would provide a uniform policy that all mugshots are to be made available to the public.

A.B. 2832
Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system.

S.B. 961
Prohibits a person from charging a fee to stop publishing personal identifying information obtained through the criminal justice system.

New York
A.B. 8731
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

S.B. 3384
Provides for the application for sealing a record of conviction; establishes waiting periods for various certain agencies to maintain records; may be unsealed at the time of an arrest; prohibits the publication of sealed records; prohibits the waiver of this section at plea.

S.B. 7304
Relates to when booking photographs taken after arrest of a person or the defendant shall be made publicly available.

North Carolina
S.B. 744
Prohibits law enforcement agencies from providing a copy of a booking photograph if the photograph will be placed in a publication or posted to a website that requires payment of a fee for removal of the photograph.

S.B. 493 (v. 4)
Provides that arrest photographic images are not public.

South Carolina
S.B. 700
Relates to the destruction of records where charges have been dismissed; provides that a person or entity who publishes on the person or entity's publicly available website a mug shot of a person whose charges have been discharged, dismissed, or the person has been found not guilty, shall, without fee or compensation, remove the mug shot from the person or entity's website within thirty days of the person sending a written request to the person or entity.

Virginia
S.B. 137
Status: Failed
Relates to arrest photos on Internet; makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for the owner of a website to post both an arrest photo and solicit, request, or accept money for removing the photograph.

S.B. 286
Status: Failed
Relates to arrest photos on Internet; makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for the owner of a website to both post an arrest photo and solicit, request, or accept money for removing the photograph.

Wyoming
S.B. 53, Act 35
Status: March 10, 2014; Signed by Governor. Chapter 98
Relates to trade practices; provides for removal of arrest photographs from websites as specified; provides for penalties; provides for an effective date.

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2013 Legislation

Since 2012, several states have considered or passed legislation related to the release of booking photographs or mug shots, including legislation that requires removal of mug shots if criminal charges are dropped or prohibits charges for removing photographs.

At least nine states and the District of Columbia introduced legislation in 2013. Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, Texas and Utah enacted legislation.

Florida
H.B. 265
Status: Nov. 5, 2013; Filed.
Criminal Record Information; Defines "criminal record information"; prohibits person engaged in publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal record information from soliciting or accepting payment of fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify such information

H.B. 677
Status: May 3, 2013; In House. Died in committee.
Relates to websites containing information concerning persons charged with crimes; requires that operators of websites containing personal information of persons charges with crimes remove person's name and information within specified period after notice that person is acquitted or charges are dropped or otherwise resolved without conviction; provides civil penalty; provides for presumption of defamation.

S.B. 298
Status: Nov. 4, 2013; In Senate: Referred to Criminal Justice; Commerce and Tourism; Rules
Prohibits an individual or business entity from soliciting, charging, or collecting compensation for the removal of a booking photograph or other information related to a criminal charge or conviction from the Internet or other public medium; requiring an individual or business entity that publishes booking photographs or criminal record information on an Internet website or other public medium to provide certain contact information, etc.

Georgia
H.B. 150
Status: May 6, 2013; Signed by Governor, Act No. 188 
Relates to the Fair Business Practices Act; changes provisions relating to prohibited telemarketing and Internet activities; prohibits certain persons from collecting a fee for removing certain individuals' arresting booking photographs from a website; provides for related matters.

Illinois
S.B. 115
Status: Aug. 27, 2013; Public Act 98-0555
Amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Provides that it is an unlawful practice for any person engaged in publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal record information through a print or electronic medium to solicit or accept the payment of a fee or other consideration to remove, correct, or modify said criminal record information. Defines "criminal record information". Amends the State Records Act and the Local Records Act. Makes conforming changes.

New Jersey
A.B. 3906
Status: Nov. 18, 2013; Reported out of Assembly Comm. with Amendments, 2nd Reading
Exempts mugshots of arrestees who have not been convicted of the underlying offense from State's open public records law.

A.B. 4083
Status: May 6, 2013, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
Requires public release of photographs of arrestees under State’s open public records law.

S.B. 3046
Status: Nov. 14, 2013; Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
Exempts mugshots of arrestees who have not been convicted of the underlying offense from State's open public records law.

Oregon
H.B. 3467
Status: June 6, 2013, Chaptered. Chapter No. 330
Requires persons that operate websites that disseminate photographic records of arrested individuals and charge fees for removal of these records to remove photographs and related information from all websites within their ownership or control without charging fee when requested in writing and arrest resulted in acquittal or violation, or following expunction.

South Carolina
S.B. 700
Status: May 15, 2013, Introduced. To Senate Committee on Judiciary.
Relates to the destruction of records where charges have been dismissed; provides that a person or entity who publishes on the person or entity's publicly available website a mug shot of a person whose charges have been discharged, dismissed, or the person has been found not guilty, shall, without fee or compensation, remove the mug shot from the person or entity's website within thirty days of the person sending a written request to the person or entity.

South Dakota
H.B. 1109
Status: Failed.
Provides that criminal booking photos and police logs are open records.

Texas
H.B. 2861
Status: April 9, 2013, Left pending in committee.
Relates to certain business entities engaged in the publication, republication, or other dissemination of mug shots and other information regarding the involvement of an individual in the criminal justice system; provides a civil penalty. Provides an avenue to dispute records.

S.B. 1289
Status: July 30, 2013, Filed with Secretary of State, Chap. 1200
Regulates business entities engaged in the publication or other dissemination of mug shots and other personal identifying information regarding the involvement of an individual in the criminal justice system; provides a civil penalty for violations. Provides an avenue to dispute records.

Utah
H.B. 408
Status: April 26, 2013; Chaptered. Chapter No. 404
Enacts a provision relating to photographs of criminal suspects; prohibits county sheriffs from providing a copy of a booking photograph to a person if the photograph will be placed in a publication or posted on a website that requires a payment in order to remove the photograph; requires a person requesting a copy of a booking photograph to sign a statement that the photograph will not be placed in a publication or on a website that requires payment in order to remove the photograph; relates to penalties.

District of Columbia
B. 73
Status: Jan. 22, 2013. To Council Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.
Requires the Metropolitan Police Department to release photographs of arrested individuals to the public.

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Terms and Conditions

2012 Legislation

Louisiana
2012 S.B. 452
Status: Failed
Provides that the booking photograph of any person arrested for an alleged offense held by law enforcement agencies and communication districts will be disclosed upon request.

Washington
2012 H.B. 1689
Status: Failed
Requires department of corrections officers and chief law enforcement officers to maintain a jail register that is open to the public and includes booking photographs of each person after charges have been filed.

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Terms and Conditions

Public Records Background

In many states, government records generally are presumed to be open unless specific exemptions in law prevent their release. In many states, public records laws do not specifically exempt or address mug shots, meaning they may be considered public. For example, a December 2012 Oklahoma Attorney General Opinion concluded that mug shots are open records under the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

Some states' public records laws specifically address booking/arrest photographs or mug shots, such as the following:

  • Minnesota Stat. §13.82 (26) (e.g., provides that a booking photo is public data, but may be withheld if the agency determines that access will adversely affect an active investigation)
  • Virginia Code § 2.2-3706 (e.g., adult arrestee photographs taken during the initial intake following the arrest and as part of the routine booking procedure must be released, except when necessary to avoid jeopardizing an investigation in felony cases)

Other state laws also address the release of mug shots by law enforcement agencies. For example:

  • Haw. Rev. Stat. § 831-3.2(e) (provides that any person entitled to an expungement order hereunder may by written application also request return of all fingerprints or photographs taken in connection with the person's arrest. See also Attorney General opinion regarding the law.)