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Pennsylvania Mugshots: Guide to Finding Mugshots in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Mugshots: Guide to Finding Mugshots in Pennsylvania
July 20, 2022

Offenders in Pennsylvania often have their mugshots taken by the arresting agency. These mugshots are then stored in their arrest or criminal records and, along with the records, are typically made available to the public, except in a few cases.

You can find mugshots in Pennsylvania quite easily through official and unofficial means. In this article, we’ve explained some of the most common and effective methods of locating mugshots in Pennsylvania. 


Through Criminal Records in Pennsylvania


Criminal records in Pennsylvania provide detailed information about offenders. Typically, they contain facts such as the personal details of the offender (including their mugshot) and conviction information.


The best part is that anyone can easily access these records. The Pennsylvania State Police keeps and maintains these records, and it is to them that you must direct your requests to view and obtain criminal records.


Individuals interested in obtaining Pennsylvania criminal records can do so in one of three ways: online searches, in-person requests, and mail requests.


handcuffs on a paper that reads criminal record


How to Access Pennsylvania Criminal Records


To get access to criminal records in Pennsylvania, you may conduct a criminal record search on the public access portal, which the Pennsylvania State Police updates and maintains.


There is a $22 charge for each name-based search made on the online portal, which is not refundable. Upon paying by credit card, a search request is validated, and the results should be available within 24 hours.


Obtaining criminal records in Pennsylvania can be done in two different ways, in addition to searching online. To submit your request, you must complete a form and submit it in person or by mail.


You must also include a check or money order for the $22.00 search fee if you’re requesting it by mail. The documents must then be enclosed in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mailed to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.


It is possible to obtain a free public criminal records check in Pennsylvania. One method is to directly request a fee waiver from the record custodian.


If releasing the document serves the public interest, the Pennsylvania State Police may grant the waiver request.


Otherwise, the requester may be forced to look through databases that provide free criminal records. You should know that there’s no way to guarantee the accuracy or completeness of records gotten through this method.


a 3D illustration of a mugshot backdrop

Records of Arrest in Pennsylvania


In addition to the personal details (including mugshots) of arrestees, arrest records in Pennsylvania provide details relating to the arrest of the suspect (time of arrest, who arrested them, where they were detained, etc).


Having said that, arrest records in Pennsylvania do not always act as a substitute for criminal records because innocent people can and do get arrested on occasion.


Arrest records may not even get upgraded to criminal records if the suspect goes to trial but escapes conviction.


The Process of Obtaining Arrest Records in Pennsylvania


Arrest records in Pennsylvania can only be obtained by paying a physical visit to the office of the arresting agency or local law enforcement department.


This can either be the Sheriff's Office or the local police department in a county. Assume the arrest was carried out by two or more agencies. Requests for arrest records would then be directed to the law enforcement agency in charge of the arrested person.


a man's finger being fingerprinted


If you want to get access to Pennsylvania arrest records, you'll typically need to pay for the cost of duplicating the documents.

These costs are minimal. In a few cases, police departments in the state may consider granting waiver requests, especially if releasing the record is in the interest of the public.


In these situations, the requester is entitled to a free copy of the arrest record. There aren't many databases that provide free arrest records right now.

Even then, the completeness and accuracy of such unrestricted recordings may be unverifiable.


Through Inmate Records 


For people who have spent time in any of the state's correctional facilities, checking out Pennsylvania's inmate records is another excellent way to find mugshots of search subjects.


Inmate records in Pennsylvania contain personal information of the inmates as well as their current locations. 


a magnifying glass on a laptop keyboard


How to Check Pennsylvania Inmate Records


Innate records in Pennsylvania are created and maintained by the state's Department of Corrections. This agency also provides an inmate lookup database through which members of the public can locate specific inmates. 


Members of the public can access records of inmates who have passed through (or are currently in) correctional facilities through the department’s online inmate lookup database.


There are no restrictions on searches and everyone has the right to conduct inmate searches on anyone incarcerated in the state.


To conduct an inmate search of PDOC’s online inmate lookup database, simply log on to the state’s DOC website and provide relevant information about the inmate.


Hitting the search button will bring up a page containing the inmate’s details as well as administrative information relating to their offense and incarceration.

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