Is it illegal for police to detain you and take your mug shot and fingerprints if they tell you that you are not under arrest and have not read you your rights?

Asked on October 18, 2014 under Criminal Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you have not been arrested or read your rights, the police can *ask* to take your picture and to fingerprint you, and if you agree to let them, it's legal--same as the fact that while they need a warrant to search your home against your will, you can always agree to let them search. The could also just snap a photo of you without your permission, same as anyone can pull out a smart phone and take a picture of another. But they cannot force you to pose for a mugshot and they cannot take your fingerprints against your will unless you have been arrested.

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