How to Pose for the Perfect Mugshot

As long as there have been celebrities, there have been celebrities getting arrested, and as long as there have been celebrities getting arrested, there have been celebrity mugshots. But what can we learn from them?

Knowing our derelict readers, there's a good chance that most of you have been arrested at some point in your life, or will be one day in the future. Mugshots are often a matter of public record, which means your own police station snapshot could be released for all the world to see.

That's why you need to make sure yours is as perfect as possible before it goes out into the public domain. You can hide your shitty driver's license photo from just about everyone but the bar bouncer and the arresting officer. But millions may see your mugshot one day.

Here are some tricks we learned from the pros, and by pros I don't mean prostitutes (who also probably know a thing or two about mugshots) I mean celebs like Lindsay Lohan and James Brown, who have both taken more than their fair share of mugshots.

Smirk, Don't Smile

The most important part of any mugshot is the facial expression. You can't look totally dead in the eyes like some kind of drugged out zombie who just got hauled in for having balloons of heroin in her snatch. You also can't be beaming ear to ear like John Edwards, looking like a total prick for making light of a grave situation. You certainly can't have some gonzo grin like you're still high. (We're talking to you, Eric Roberts.) No, you need something in between. You need the smirk. Look at Samantha Ronson, Nicole Richie, or David Bowie. They say, "Yeah, I know I'm in the clink, but I'm still awesome and I'm going to get out of this, and I did, in fact, shoot the sheriff." That's what you want: bemused badassery, a photo that says you know you're going to get off because you're famous, pretty, and, perhaps, innocent.

Look Straight at the Camera

There is a tendency, due to either the camera placement or the situation at hand, where the perps look up at the camera. This is a very bad angle. Not only does it make your head look shorter than it really is, but also when looking up, you look like you're confessing guilt. It's like you just got caught taking a cookie by your mother and you're looking up at her with the sweetest face possible to avoid a spanking. A jury will acquit you on this photo alone. Unless you're Phil Spector.

Wear Something Cute

If you're turning yourself in, make sure you have a fashionable but conservative outfit on, because it is going to be preserved for posterity. Just look at the killer '70s duds Woody Harrelson is rocking or Bowie and Mick Jagger's dandyish choices. All wonderful indeed. Sure, you can't exactly choose when you're going to the slammer, so maybe we can excuse Nick Nolte for wearing that heinous Hawaiian print shirt. Actually, no. No matter what you're doing, you shouldn't be wearing something so awful in public in the first place. And if you are, try not to get arrested in it. And if your outfit is that bad, try to rip it getting in or out of the police car so they have to give you an orange jumpsuit or something. Looking like an inmate is preferable to looking like a fashion victim.

Make a Statement

What is the most famous celebrity mugshot of all time? Hanoi Jane Fonda's fist in the air, of course. That's because she's not just standing there holding the little board. No, she's got her fist up in the air doing her best hippie protester or Black Panther or whatever the fuck. Who knows? Who cares! She looks amazing and like a political prisoner being beaten down by the man. That's the image you want to give off. "I don't belong here, but the Thought Police came for me." Go down in history by making your mark. You just have to think of a way to do it so that you don't look like you're stealing Jane Fonda's look.

Do It Young

If you're going to get arrested, have the decency to do it before your 30th birthday. That's just better for everyone. Old people like Rip Torn, Tom Delay, Larry Craig, and Nick Nolte just look pathetic. That's because we think that young people are foolish and can learn from their mistakes and reform themselves. That Tim Allen sure turned into a great guy, didn't he? But Larry Craig, well, he'll be a perverted toe tapper for the rest of his life. But the other reason to commit crimes in your younger days is because you look so much better. Just look at all these badly aging celebrities glowing in their misspent youth. As John Waters says, everyone looks better under arrest, but her mugshot is the best damn picture a young Suzanne Somers ever took!

Fix Your Damn Hair

I know most of these prisoners have handcuffs on, but can't you get someone to run a comb through that mop before the camera snaps? Please!

[Video by Matt Toder. Image via Shutterstock.com]