Criminal records may be the most commonly accessible of all public records. The court systems are meticulous about recording their actions, including maintaining criminal histories on all arrested and convicted individuals. There are several types of criminal records, and there are also legal measures that can be used to suppress those records. Criminal records only provide minimal information. They do not routinely include case information, though a situation can be logical in what basically transpired.
Most background research is directed at criminal convictions, but there may also be situations where an arrest record can be viewed publicly. All states have a simple expungement method for individuals who were arrested, but not convicted. Everyone does not realize that the court does not automatically discard or destroy the information. The defendant must file a request. An individual may not have a conviction record, but an arrest record for that person may exist on dome database.
Most adjudicated crimes are misdemeanors. Misdemeanor convictions do not stay on an individual criminal record indefinitely. They also are subject to a possible expungement if the case qualifies. It is important to understand that expunged cases are done on the merit of the case and subsequent arrests. The defendant must request sealing of the record for each case. In some cases, the public record does not provide case information, such as a general theft or disorderly conduct conviction. On the other hand, an impaired driving conviction is often self-explanatory. The limitation statutes of most states trigger automatic record clearances for misdemeanor convictions.
Felony convictions are basically lifetime public records. The defendant can request a sealing of the record in some states, but the record is still available to the authorities even when they are not available for public viewing. Anyone interested in researching an individual criminal status will see any felony available for public viewing. It is important to understand that prosecutors have the latitude to reasonably adjust any case charge by one classification. The possibility exists that an individual can be charged originally with a low class felony, but the final conviction will be a Class A misdemeanor. Records will also indicate incarceration penalties and fines, as well as probation and parole information.