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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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