Arrest Records Search

Public Records Scandal

The United States is serious about its Freedom of Information Act. In late 2017, two state-level legislators were arrested for attempting to hide materials designated as public records.

Courtesy of the Miami Herald

Arrest records are generated by US law enforcement agencies when an individual is placed under arrest. The record is created to provide a detailed account of the arrest and usually contains information such as the suspect's name, date of birth, physical description, the offense they were arrested for, and booking details.

They can provide information about someone's criminal history, which is important for things like employment and housing decisions. Additionally, arrest records can help to shed light on someone's character and past behavior. However, arrest records are not an alternative to US criminal records, and they are not proof that a person committed a crime. It is important to consider the context in which the arrest occurred since not all arrestees proceed to be convicted or incarcerated.

Arrest records in the United States are public records. This means that anyone can request them from the relevant law enforcement agency. However, there are some restrictions on who can access these records. For example, employers may only be able to request arrest records that are relevant to the job they are hiring for, and landlords may only be able to request records that are related to tenancy.

US Arrest Statistics

In 2020, US law enforcement agencies estimate that there were over 10,000,000 arrests in the United States. This is an arrest rate of 3,611 per 100,000 inhabitants. The 2020 arrest rate was lower than the 2019 rate (3,760 per 100,000).

The estimated number of violent crimes in the United States decreased by 3.9 percent in 2020 when compared with 2019 data. Property crimes decreased by 2.2 percent from 2019 to 2020. These declines followed two consecutive years of increases in both violent and property crime.

The estimated violent crime rate for 2020 was 400.6 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,199.5 offenses per 100,000 people.

Despite a large number of arrests each year, the crime rate in the United States has been declining for several decades. This is likely due to a variety of factors, including an increase in law enforcement efforts and changes in demographics.

The decline in crime rates has not been uniform across all types of offenses, however. While violent crime rates have declined significantly since the early 1990s, property crime rates have only fallen modestly. Drug-related offenses have also increased during this time period.

Arrest rates also vary significantly by race and ethnicity. The disparity in arrest rates is likely due to a combination of factors, including socioeconomic status, discrimination, and differential treatment by the criminal justice system. Regardless of the cause, the large disparities in arrest rates highlight the need for continued efforts to ensure fairness and equality in the criminal justice system.

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What is an Arrest Record in the US?

An arrest record is a public document that contains information about an individual's arrest and criminal history. Arrest records are typically maintained by law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal level.

Arrest records are generally public record in the United States, which means they are accessible to the general public. However, there are some exceptions. For example, juvenile records are typically sealed and not available to the public. Additionally, some states have laws that restrict who can access arrest records, such as employers or landlords.

What is Contained in an Arrest Record?

US arrest records typically feature the following information:

  • The name, age, address and occupation of the individual in question
  • The crime that the individual has been charged with
  • The date and location of the arrest
  • A physical description of the individual, including their race, height and weight
  • The bail amount set by the court
  • The name of the arresting officer

This information is typically public record, meaning that anyone can request it from the relevant government agency. In some cases, additional information may be included in an arrest record, such as:

  • Previous arrests
  • Aliases or other names used by the individual
  • Outstanding warrants for their arrest
  • Results of any DNA testing done in relation to their case
  • Details of their trial, if they have already been convicted of a crime

Are Arrest Records Public in the US?

Yes, arrest records are public in the United States. Federal statutes provide for the maintenance and distribution of criminal history information, including Arrest Records. The most notable of these is the Criminal History Record Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-322), which authorizes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to maintain a national database of criminal history information.

Other federal laws that impact the availability of arrest records include the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. The FOIA generally provides that any person has a right to request access to federal government records, including Arrest Records. However, there are some limited exceptions to this general rule, such as when disclosure would violate an individual's privacy rights or could compromise law enforcement investigations. The Privacy Act imposes similar restrictions on the release of information by federal agencies, but it applies only to records that contain personally identifiable information.

At the state level, there are also laws that govern the release of arrest records. In general, these laws provide that arrest records are public records and are available to anyone who requests them. However, some states have enacted laws that restrict access to certain types of arrest records, such as those involving juveniles or sealed records.

Who Can Access Arrest Records?

While arrest records are public records, there are certain limitations on who can access them. In most cases, only law enforcement officials and court personnel will have access to an individual's complete arrest record. The general public may be able to access limited information from an arrest record, but this will usually only include the individual's name and the offense for which he or she was arrested.

In some cases, an arrest record may be sealed or expunged. This means that it is not available to the public and can only be accessed by law enforcement or court personnel. An arrest record may be sealed or expunged if the charges against the individual are dismissed, if the individual is found not guilty, or if the individual completes a pretrial diversion program.

Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics - UCR Data Online

While arrests for specific crimes have fluctuated up and down, overall numbers show crime and arrests in the US are continuing on a downward trend since at least 1990.

Data provided by Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics from FBI

How Do I Lookup Someone's Arrest Records in the US?

Interested members of the public may look up US arrest records to find information about arrests that have taken place in the country. This can be done through a variety of resources, both online and offline.

Arrest records are typically maintained by law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.

While the best way to look up someone's arrest records is to contact the law enforcement agency that made the arrest. Many agencies have online databases that allow the public to search for arrest records. However, not all agencies make their records accessible to the public.

For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does not provide access to its arrest records through an online database. Instead, interested individuals must submit a request through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Interested persons may also query the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is operated by the FBI. The NCIC maintains a database of criminal justice information, including arrest records. However, the NCIC's database is only accessible to law enforcement agencies and authorized users.

Most states also maintain online databases of arrest records. For example, the Texas Department of Public Safety provides an online searchable database of statewide arrest records.

Arrest records may also be available through commercial providers. These providers typically collect public record information from a variety of sources and make it available for a fee.

The public offices that maintain these records will generally require the person requesting the information to provide some identification, as well as proof that they have a legitimate reason for wanting access to the records.

In most cases, anyone can request and receive US arrest records that are more than seventy-five years old. However, for records that are less than seventy-five years old, only certain individuals may request and receive them. These include:

  • The subject of the arrest record
  • An immediate family member of the subject
  • A legal representative of the subject
  • Someone with written authorization from the subject

How to Subpoena Arrest Records in the US

An arrest record is typically subpoenaed in order to be used as evidence in a criminal trial. The record may be used to impeach the testimony of a witness, to challenge the credibility of a defendant, or to show that a defendant has a prior history of criminal activity.

In order to subpoena arrest records, the requesting party must first file a motion with the court. The motion must state why they believe the records are relevant to the case and must be approved by a judge. Once the motion is approved, they will need to serve notice on the appropriate law enforcement agency and submit the necessary paperwork.

The specific process for subpoenaing arrest records will vary depending on the state in which the trial is taking place.

How to Search for an Inmate in the US Prison System

Interested persons can search for persons who are in the US prison system by visiting the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). On the BOP website, they will find a searchable database of all inmates currently in federal custody. The user can then search by inmate name, registration number, or location.

Alternatively, requestors can search for an inmate through the state Department of Corrections website. Each state has its own Department of Corrections website where inmates can be searched. The requesting party will need to select their state from the drop-down menu and then enter either the inmate's name or ID number. The user can also narrow their search by entering the inmate's race, age, or gender.

If the person being searched for is in county jail, the best way to find them is to contact the county sheriff's office directly and ask for assistance. The sheriff's office will be able to provide information on how to locate an inmate in their custody. Finally, if the individual is in ICE custody, the best way to locate them is through the ICE detainee locator tool which can be found on the ICE website.

Crime Rates

Arrests for crimes in the United States has fallen sharply since the early 90s, though public perception is that crime is growing.

Courtesy of Pew Research Center

How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in the US

There are a few ways to find out if someone was in jail in the US. One way is to check the national database of inmates, which is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Alternatively, check with the state Department of Corrections or county sheriff's office. Finally, requestors can search online databases of public records, which may include information on inmates.

Typically persons who have been be arrested in the past or who are on probation or parole are required to register with their local law enforcement agency. As a result, it is possible to find out whether someone has been in jail by searching the local police department's website. However, this will only work if the person was arrested within the past few years and if they were required to register with the police.

It is important to note that while some states do allow the public to access information on inmates, others have more restrictions in place. Thus, it may not be possible to find out if someone was in jail in every state.

How Long Do US Arrest Records Stay on File?

The length of time that an arrest record stays on file varies from state to state. In some states, such as California, arrest records are generally available to the public for up to 10 years. However, in other states like New York, arrest records may be sealed after a certain period of time, making them unavailable to the public.

It's important to note that even if an arrest record is sealed, it may still be accessible to certain individuals and organizations, such as law enforcement agencies and potential employers. Hence, it's important to know the laws in the concerned state regarding arrest records. This information can be found by contacting the state's criminal records office.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest record is a document that contains information about an individual's arrest history. An arrest warrant, on the other hand, is a legal document that orders the arrest of an individual. Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or magistrate and are typically based on probable cause that a crime has been committed.

Arrest records can be used in a variety of ways. For example, employers may use them to screen job applicants, and landlords may use them to screen tenants. In some cases, arrest records may be unsealed and made available to the public. However, this is not always the case. Arrest warrants, on the other hand, are typically sealed and are not available to the public.

It's important to note that an arrest record is not the same as a criminal record. A criminal record includes information about an individual's convictions, while an arrest record only includes information about an individual's arrests.

What is the Difference Between an Arrest Record and A Criminal Record?

An arrest record is a formal document that details the circumstances surrounding an individual's arrest. This can include information such as the date and location of the arrest, the charges against the individual, and any bail information. An arrest record may also include mugshots and fingerprints.

A criminal record is a formal document that details an individual's criminal history. This can include information such as past convictions, sentencing information, and any other relevant details. A criminal record may also include mugshots and fingerprints.

An arrest record is created when an individual is arrested, but it does not necessarily mean the arrestee has been convicted of a crime. Criminal records are created when an individual is convicted of a crime. Therefore, an individual may have an arrest record but no criminal record or they may have both an arrest and a criminal record. An arrest record can provide important information about an individual's criminal history. Thus, an arrest does not necessarily mean that an individual is guilty of a crime. A criminal record is the best way to obtain accurate information about an individual's criminal history.

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How To Obtain Arrest Records For Free In the US?

Persons who want to obtain arrest records for free in the United States can contact the local police department and request a copy of the report. Another way is to go through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process and submit a request to the government agency that maintains the records.

The easiest way to obtain arrest records is to use an online public records search service. These services provide access to millions of public records, including arrest records. Users can typically search by name, case number, or other identifying information. Some services may charge a fee, but many offer free trials or low-cost options.

After obtaining the record of interest, it is important to verify the accuracy of the information. The requestor may do this by contacting the court where the case was heard or by obtaining a criminal history report. Arrest records are public record in most jurisdictions, but some may have restrictions on who can access them. For example, sealed records or juvenile records may not be available to the general public.

How to Search for A US Arrest Record Online Using A Third-Party Search Service

Interested members of the public may search for arrest records online using a third-party search service. This type of service provides an efficient way to access public records, including arrest records, from multiple jurisdictions across the United States.

When searching for arrest records online using a third-party search service, it is important to consider the following:

  • The costs associated with the search service: Some providers may charge a subscription fee, while others may charge per-search or per-download fees.
  • The coverage offered by the search service: Some providers may only offer access to certain types of records in certain jurisdictions. Requestors must check and ensure that the provider offers the type of record they are interested in and that they cover the jurisdiction(s) they are interested in.
  • The turnaround time for the search results: Some providers may offer real-time access to records, while others may take longer to process and deliver the results.
  • The accuracy of the search result: Some providers may offer guarantee the accuracy of their results, while others may not. Users must verify that the service provider they opt for is reliable.

To use a third-party search service, the user will be required to provide information with which to facilitate the search. This may include the name of the individual being searched for, as well as their date of birth or social security number. Some providers may also require additional information, such as a credit card number, in order to process the search. Once the search is processed, the results will be delivered to the user, typically in the form of a report. The report will include any arrest records that match the criteria specified by the user.

What Can I Do If My Arrest Record Has A Mistake?

Individuals who come across a mistake on their arrest records can take the following steps to have the mistake corrected:

  • Get in touch with the arresting law enforcement agency and request that they correct the record.
  • If the law enforcement agency objects to correcting the record, they can file a complaint with the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division.
  • Complaints must be written and detail the individual's name, date of birth, a description of the problem, and supporting documentation.
  • CJIS will investigate the complaint and take appropriate action.
  • Individuals can also contact the state identification bureau to have the record corrected.
  • The bureau will then notify all agencies that have received the incorrect record.
  • If the mistake is on a federal record, individuals can contact the arresting agency or the FBI.
  • The FBI's CJIS Division will investigate and take appropriate action.
  • Individuals might also want to consider contacting an attorney if they are having difficulty getting the record corrected.
  • If the records are on third-party sites, individuals can request that the site take down the incorrect information.
  • The site must then comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and remove the material.
  • Even if the mistake is corrected on one site, other sites might still have the incorrect information. In this case, individuals will need to contact each site individually to have the material removed.

How to Expunge Arrest Records in the US

In the United States, there is no one federal law that governs the expungement of criminal records. Instead, each US state has its own laws and procedures for expunging criminal records.

In general, an arrest record can be expunged if the charges against the record-holder was dismissed, they were found not guilty, or if they successfully completed a deferred sentence or probationary period. Here's how an individual can petition to have their arrest records expunged:

First, the individual must check to see if they are eligible for record expungement. In order to be eligible, the charges against the individual must have been dismissed, they must have been found not guilty, or they must have completed a deferred sentence or probationary period. If the individual is unsure of their eligibility, they can consult an attorney.

Next, the individual must gather all of the necessary paperwork. This will likely include court documents related to their arrest and any subsequent proceedings. The individual will also need to fill out an application for record expungement.

After gathering all of the necessary paperwork, the individual must submit their application to the court. The court will then review the application and decide whether or not to grant the expungement.

Where the judiciary decides to grant the expungement, the individual's arrest record will be sealed. This means that it will not be accessible to the public. However, there are some exceptions. For example, sealed records can still be accessed by law enforcement and other government agencies. Additionally, sealed records can still be used in certain legal proceedings, such as impeachment hearings or civil lawsuits.