How To Check If Someone Has a Criminal Record

Do you want to know if someone you know has a criminal record? It can be challenging to find this information out, but it is essential to know if someone has a history of criminal behavior. Many people are under the impression that they can’t find this information, but it is easy to do. 

There are a few different ways to check if someone has a criminal record. You can use online databases or contact the police department in the city where the person lives. 

Another way to check is to request a criminal background check from the FBI. This article will discuss how to check if someone has a criminal record. We will also talk about how you can obtain this information and what to do if you find out that someone has a criminal record.

What Is a Criminal Record?

Criminal records are created when arrested and convicted of a crime. A criminal record will include information about the arrest, such as the date of the arrest and the charge(s) filed against the person. 

A criminal record will also include information about any convictions that the person has received, including the date of conviction and the convicted offense. 

Criminal records are maintained by state governments and local law enforcement agencies. In most cases, you can only access criminal records if you are authorized to do so by law. 

For example, employers who wish to hire employees with backgrounds in law enforcement or childcare often have authorization from state authorities to view criminal records.

Are Criminal Records Public? 

Public Access

Public access to criminal records is determined by the state in which you reside. Most states make criminal histories available to anyone who requests information about a specific individual

However, some states allow only certain individuals or agencies access to criminal records. If you are not sure how your state handles public access to criminal records, contact your state’s bureau of identification or department of justice.

Sealed Records

Sealed records are court records that have been placed under seal by a judge. This means that the public cannot access them without a court order. 

However, sealed records can be opened if the person who is the subject of the record waives their right to privacy or has an overriding interest in doing so.

What Are Arrest Records?

Arrest records are documents that show whether a person has been arrested. Arrest records may include the date and location of an arrest, as well as the name of the arresting officer. They can be used to check if someone has a criminal record. 

You can find arrest records in two ways: through public records and private databases. Many states make arrest records available to the public, while others keep them confidential. Some states allow you to search by driver’s license number or social security number. 

However, not all states have this information online. If the state you’re looking in doesn’t have this information online, you can try contacting the police department or sheriff’s office. 

Another way to find arrest records is through private databases. These databases are subscription-based and contain criminal records from all 50 states. In addition, some databases allow you to search by driver’s license number or social security number. 

However, not all states have this information online. If the state you’re looking in doesn’t have this information online, you can try contacting the police department or sheriff’s office.

Are Arrest Records Publicly Available & Free? 

Arrest records are public records, and as such, they are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The act allows any person to access criminal justice information held by government agencies. This means that anyone can request arrest records from law enforcement agencies or courts. 

However, not all arrest records are created equal. For example, arrests that did not result in a conviction will likely be less accessible than arrests that resulted in a conviction. Therefore, the best way to get arrest records is to contact the agency responsible for maintaining them. 

This will be the local police department or sheriff’s office in most cases. You can also contact the court where the case was tried or resolved. If you know which state or county the person was arrested in, you can contact the corresponding state or county agency. 

The information contained in arrest records varies from case to case. However, most records will include the person’s name, date of birth, and the date and location of the arrest. 

The record may also include information about the charge(s) filed against the person and the outcome of the case.

Searching For Criminal & Arrest Records

Sex Offender Registries

There are a few different ways that you can go about checking if someone has a criminal record. The easiest way is to search for criminal and arrest records online. Most states have their own official website where you can conduct a search. 

You can also search national databases such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS). 

Another option is to check sex offender registries. All 50 states maintain their own sex offender registry, and many of them make this information available online. 

The Sex Offender Registry Database maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice includes information on registered sex offenders nationwide.

Search Federal Court Records

Find a Case (PACER) is the best resource for researching federal court records. The website offers free access to millions of records, including criminal records. 

Simply enter the person’s name and state into the search bar to search for criminal records. Results will include information about any convictions or arrests that have been made in federal court. 

If you need more detailed information, such as a copy of the person’s criminal record, you can order a full report from Find a Case (PACER). Reports typically include all court proceedings related to the individual, including arrest reports and case transcripts.

Search County Court Records

Most counties make court records available online. You can search by name or case number. The results will show you the date of the offense, the charge, and the outcome of the case. If you don’t know the person’s full name, try using just their first name and last initial. 

County court records can be a great way to determine if someone has a criminal record, but they may not show all convictions.

Hiring Private Search Companies

Private search companies will conduct a criminal records check for you. Fees vary depending on the company, but most charge around $50-75. The best way to find a reputable company is through word of mouth or by doing an online search for a “private criminal record check.” 

When looking for a private search company, make sure to ask the following questions:

  • What type of information do you provide?
  • How long has your company been in business?
  • Do you have any references?
  • Can I speak with someone who has used your services?

What Can You Do With Criminal Record Findings? 

As an employer, if you find that an applicant has a criminal record, what can you do with this information? First and foremost, you can ask about convictions on an application form. You can also require an applicant to provide a written explanation of the circumstances surrounding any arrest or conviction that is not revealed on the application. 

If you decide to hire the applicant, you have the right to terminate them at any time if their criminal record poses a threat to your business. However, if you’re not an employer, there are still steps you can take if you come across someone’s criminal record online. 

Most records are available for public inspection, but some may be restricted depending on the state or local laws where the person was convicted. It’s important to remember that just because someone has a criminal record doesn’t mean they are automatically guilty of the crime. 

Each case should be judged on its own merits. However, it’s important to do your research and understand the implications of criminal record findings before taking any action with all this in mind. 

Bonus: How To Check If I Have a Criminal Record

Visit the police department in your area. You can find out where they are by checking online and using their provided information, then go request a search on yourself for any criminal records that might exist against you or anyone else who has made an application with them before

This will provide access to everything you need! You could also go the route of a private investigator, which will be more expensive. 

If you want to do this from the comfort of your home, there are many online services that offer criminal record checks for a fee. However, when checking someone’s criminal record, it is important to remember that not all crimes will be listed. 

For example, if someone was arrested but never convicted, their arrest might not appear on their criminal record. That being said, any conviction – no matter how minor – will likely show up.

How Do I Request My Criminal Record? 

To request your criminal record, you will need to provide your local police department information. If you have ever been fingerprinted, the police will likely have your criminal record on file. You can also request a copy of your criminal record from the FBI’s website. 

Your criminal record will include information about any arrests and convictions you have had. It will also include information about any charges that were dropped or dismissed. 

Your criminal record may also include personal information like your date of birth and social security number. 

Wrapping Up 

There are many reasons why you may want to check someone’s criminal record. For example, if you’re dating a new person, it might be important for you to know that they have never been convicted of any crimes before. 

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about hiring somebody as an employee, knowing their history could help you decide whether or not they would be a good fit for the position. 

Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that checking somebody’s criminal record isn’t always easy, and there are some things to keep in mind when doing so.


bryan rucker
Written by Brian Williams

Brian is an expert in security, privacy, and information. He has studied background checks, criminal, people search, and such topics over the last 5 years. He is also an avid writer and enjoys sharing his knowledge through this blog. Read more of Brian's articles.