Search icon


28th Nov 2022

The reason you should never smile in a custody mug shot

Steve Hopkins

If there was ever a reason not to smile – surely this is it

There’s a reason why you shouldn’t smile in police mugshot photos – and it is about as obvious as you’d expect.

It shouldn’t be a happy occasion and a smile does not indicate, remorse.

A TikToker has revealed how best to pose for a police mugshot if you don’t want the full weight of the law to come crashing down on you, should you ever be accused of a crime, that is. The video has been viewed over 60,000 times.

@sherifelsahly I bet she regretted smiling in her mugshot?#sherifelsahly ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose

In a YouTube post – a few months earlier – one lawyer – @AttorneyPish –  posted about the same case and issued similar advice.

He explained: “Does this look like a woman who is remorseful for the crime she committed, that ended up killing someone?

“The jury is going to absolutely hate you… and by the way that woman is a real person, and she was sentenced to 11 years in prison.”

Another attorney, @AttorneyTom, said he felt compelled to issued some advice after hearing a discussion on the radio. Listeners were being advised to smile in their mugshot snaps on the basis that the picture “stays on the internet forever”.

“I was just on my way to my office and the radio DJ I was listening to made some comment about how you should smile in your mugshot because this picture will live on the internet forever,” he explained in a YouTube video.

“That is the worst advice I’ve ever heard and let me tell you why.”

Tom used a fake mugshot of himself smiling to illustrate the point, asking his viewers: “Does this look like someone who is sorry? Who is remorseful for what they just did?

“Despite the fact they could have killed or injured somebody? No. They are smiling. This is why this case matters. This is why we are seeking the maximum sentence.”

Tom implored viewers to send his video to “your friend who is most likely to get arrested”.

People were quick to comment on the clips, with one person joking: “Your honour I just wanted to look pretty.”

Another recalled their own harrowing experience after getting arrested: “I was crying both times I was arrested because I knew I was in the right, and that it was a wrongful arrest (both times charges were dropped and the other parties were charged and convicted). That shit is stressful, I don’t understand how people manage to smile in their mugshots.”

A third person referenced the case of a Florida man who turned himself in for murdering his imaginary friend, Mr Happy, saying try not to look “guilty” like he did. The man looks very upset in his police mugshot.

Related links: