Search Arrest Records

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What are arrest records?

Criminal arrest records do not always become a criminal records. If someone has been arrested anywhere in the United States, a record of that arrest will exist either on file at the local police station and courthouse or online on a computerized system if the incident occurred recently. An arrest record does not mean that someone was guilty of the crime for they were arrested; it merely means that the person was either involved or suspected of being involved in a criminal offense. The arrest record will detail what crime the person was arrested for and what the result of that arrest was, whether the person was let off, the case went to trial, or if the matter is still under investigation. A public arrest record will also often tell you when the person involved is due to be released from prison if they were found guilty and incarcerated. The basic details included on arrest records, and whether you can search for these details or not, vary from state to state.

The arrest report, compiled by the officers involved in the case, will usually include plenty of personal information, such as a description of the individual, name, address, and date of birth. Some details are included on all arrest records, as well as the details of the crime for which the police arrested the individual. All of this information can not only help assist you in carrying out your initial search on public arrest records but can also help you make sure you have identified the right person. Many arrest records will also contain a mugshot photograph, which you often see in tabloids and magazines after celebrities have been arrested. These are usually obtained without deception by a journalist, illustrating how easy it is to get information and peace of mind from searching for someone’s arrest history.
All arrest records are public documents, though what details are made public from within the police files can vary across the US. Suppose you are unsure what information you can get from your state’s public arrest records. In that case, you can check with staff at police stations or courthouses, who will be able to advise you whether the specific information you seek is likely to be public or not.

Why do you need to search on arrest records?

You might need to search public arrest records for several reasons to see if a particular name comes up. One of the main groups of people who utilize online searches for arrest records is potential employers. More and more employers are starting to ask applicants if they have ever been arrested rather than if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Many people think that arrest records are private or that they would no longer exist if they were arrested a long time ago, so they try to lie about this in their application forms. In some cases, such as juvenile arrest records, it is true that an employer cannot search for this person’s arrest history, as juvenile records are automatically deleted or cleared when the person turns 18. There are some exceptions to this in some states, such as for sexual or violent crimes, but most people with an arrest report as a teenager get the chance to start again as an adult.

If you are an employer, you generally have the right to search for public records of every potential employee, though, in some states, you are not allowed to ask applicants if they have ever been arrested or discriminate against them if they have been arrested without being convicted of a criminal offense. Most bosses are only actually likely to spend the time and money on a search like this if the person is applying for a position of trust, such as being involved in cash handling or working with children, or if they are suspicious that the applicant may have lied on their form. If an employer chooses to hire someone without carrying out this simple check, they have only themselves to blame if that person turns out to be unreliable.

Many people, particularly women, are starting to carry out searches on court arrest records and police arrests when they meet a new partner. This is especially true if the woman has young children and wants to ensure her new boyfriend has never been arrested for any crimes involving young people. Just because a case did not make it to a court or that person was found not guilty doesn’t mean that every mother would be happy to introduce them into their home. A quick and easy search of public arrest records is one way to determine if your potential new partner is really who they say they are and that they have no skeletons in their cupboard!

This can be a nightmare for many parents, who only have tools such as an arrest search to help them decide if their family will be safe with an individual they might not know very well. An arrest report can be a valuable tool in other aspects of your personal life, such as when looking for a babysitter for your children. Similarly, children’s charities can use these free arrest records to check out the credentials of any potential volunteers. Parents may search their addresses to see if anyone nearby has ever been arrested for crimes against children. Armed with this knowledge, they can keep their family as safe as possible from easily accessed public arrest records.

How to search public arrest records?

You will need certain pieces of information before you can start searching for someone’s arrest history yourself. You must know which state the arrest was likely to have occurred in or the different states where the person lived. No freely available national database of arrest records exists, so if you search yourself, you will need to use that state or state’s own individual arrest records. Personal information, such as name, date of birth, and address, is also helpful, and you should try to compile as much of this data as possible before you even start your arrest records search. Staff at police stations and courthouses will be able to give you advice, but they also have their jobs to do!
Many internet sites allow you to search for arrest records from all over the country. Most of these will charge you a fee for signing up or for their staff to search on your behalf. Most free sites will return only a limited amount of information from the criminal arrest records. This might be enough for your needs, or you might wish to pay to receive the entire document.

Common problems

Some common problems when searching arrest records include incomplete or outdated information, difficulty accessing specific databases, inaccurate or inconsistent record-keeping practices across different jurisdictions, and the potential for errors or discrepancies in the records themselves. Additionally, there may be legal restrictions on who can access arrest records and for what purposes, further complicating the search process.

One of the most common problems people encounter while searching public arrest records is that they fail to get a “hit” back on their search parameters, suggesting that the person whose name they are searching for has never been arrested. This could indeed be the case, but many people may have been arrested in the past in a different state than the one they now live in or may have even been given an alias when arrested. You can try and counter this by gathering as much information about the person whose arrest history you are researching and being prepared to spend a lot of time and perhaps even money searching police arrest records in other parts of the country. Some online databases offer a national search by compiling arrest records from all over the country; note that most of these require users to pay a fee for the service, though some allow for a free initial search in their databases.

Sometimes people can apply to have their arrest records expunged. This means they would be wiped from the system and would not appear in any searches, even those carried out by internet sites on your behalf. It can be quite a complicated legal process to have an arrest record expunged, though more and more people are applying to begin this process. Because it is so easy to search on public arrest records, people arrested once for a minor crime several years ago find that they are being discriminated against because of one black mark in their past. An arrest record can only be deleted if the case never went to court or if they were acquitted or found not guilty of the crime for which they were arrested. If someone is found guilty, they cannot expunge their arrest record, and you will still be able to find out the details by searching.


Q: What are arrest records?

A: Arrest records are records of any action taken by an authorized law enforcement officer or entity, such as seizing or detaining a person or issuing a summons or warrant citing offenses committed by the named person.

Q: Are arrest records public information?

A: In general, yes, with some restrictions.

Q: What are common problems when searching arrest records?

A: Incomplete or outdated information, difficulty accessing specific databases, inaccurate or inconsistent record-keeping practices, and legal restrictions.

What kinds of information are available in arrest records?

A: The person being arrested, charges filed, time and location of the arrest, and disposition of the case.

Q: How can I search for arrest records?

A: Contact relevant law enforcement agencies/courts, use online databases, or work with a private investigator or background check service.

Q: Are there legal restrictions on accessing arrest records?

A: Yes, for instance, employers may need consent for background checks, and some records may be sealed or expunged.

Q: How can I ensure the accuracy of arrest records?

A: Verify any information found by cross-checking with other sources and using reputable databases that are regularly updated.