Do you have to take off a wig for a mug shot?

I was recently pulled over for a traffic violation in which I got arrested. While being searched the officer asked me to remove any hair pins and hair ties from my hair. I did. Then she proceeds to ask me was the hair I was wearing

real. I informed her that it was a wig and she told me that it had to be removed. I suffer from Alopecia and have been wearing wigs for years as part of my everyday look. I was so embarrassed and humiliated that I was forced to take a mugshot bald with patches of hair and I’ve never been asked to do that before with previous mugshots. I don’t go out in public without my wig. I was very uncomfortable and embarrassed in this situation. I was only in the

station about 30 minutes handcuffed to a bench. Why was my wig an issue? Especially since it I didn’t have to go into a cell?

Asked on September 15, 2017 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The wig was an issue because it is not part of you; it is not your real hair; it can be changed out at will for a different wig; it therefore does not help identify you. You had to the take off the wig for the same reason that a man with male pattern baldness who always wears a hat would have to take it off; the mug shot has to be of you, not of what you wear.


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