Mugshots: evidence of guilt or just a moment of bad judgment?

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Mugshots: evidence of guilt or just a moment of bad judgment?
So, we all know about criminal mugshots: you get arrested, you go to jail and in the process of being booked into the system, you get a picture taken. This picture is your mugshot, and for better or worse, becomes effectively a public indictment of your character. Unless you go onto the county register and check what they are in for, mugshots alone are not an indication that a serious crime was committed, only that the person in question was taken into custody.

Here's the kicker, though: a lot of people associate mugshots with criminality, since only people who break the law get booked, thereby meaning the person looking at the mugshot is a more upstanding citizen than the person IN the mugshot, but is this the case? Are mugshots evidence of guilt or just a moment of bad judgment or lack of clarity? We all make bad decisions, and depending on the severity of the offense for which we are accused (because that's all the mugshot indicates, an accusation of a crime; almost never is a mugshot immediately followed by a conviction), but in the end, it can either be a case of "much ado about nothing" or serious life-altering charges. There is really no way to tell until there is a trial or the person goes free with no charges at all.

Regardless, the mere existence of the mugshot in the public domain is usually taken as an implicit statement that whomever is depicted is no doubt guilty of whatever they are charged with. This makes it really difficult to move on from an arrest, especially since oftentimes there is no easy way to clear your name and after all, "you did get a mugshot, correct? Surely, you HAVE to be guilty of SOMETHING? Why else would you have been arrested otherwise? Where there's smoke, there's fire", right?
Mugshots: evidence of guilt or just a moment of bad judgment?
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