Find if Someone Was Arrested

Name Phone Number License Plate VIN
Name Phone Number License Plate VIN

How to Find if Someone Was Arrested

Getting arrested is obviously not something that anybody ever intends to do. Whether it’s for unpaid tickets, traffic violations, misdemeanor drug possession or a more serious offense, keeping records is always smart so you know where you stand down the road. It can also be useful to know who else you know has been arrested, or has a criminal record. Knowing ” how to find if someone was arrested “, can be useful information for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps you want to know if your neighbor or co-worker has been arrested, or perhaps someone else that your family associates with. Having this information can help to keep those you love safe and be able to avoid difficult situations that can arise from associating with a known criminal. Finding arrest records on individuals other than yourself may become a necessity and it’s not always possible to do this with legacy state run systems. Luckily, there are a variety of ways that people in the US can look up someone else’s public record to see if they were arrested. The FOIA and online public record websites make this journey of discovering arrest information fairly simple.

How to Find if Someone Was ArrestedWhat is an Arrest Record?

An arrest record is commonly referred to as a criminal record. In fact, most people that you come across will refer to records using this more common nomenclature. In the simplest terms, an arrest record is a document designed to detail a person’s arrest from a law enforcement agency. Arrests are not always criminal records however, sometimes someone is arrested and then let go or deemed innocent in a court of law. That said, there is still a public record of someone’s arrest that can be accessed and viewed by anyone online.

On an arrest record, you may find one or more criminal charges. In some cases, old criminal charges may be removed, particularly if an individual committed a crime when they were a minor and now they are an adult. That’s because old arrests can be sealed or expunged, so they don’t retroactively penalize a person for past mistakes many years later.

Are Arrest Records Public?

Arresting information is public record which is made available to the general public via the Freedom of Information Act. Arrest records are generally available to individuals of the public. However, if a case is currently ongoing, is in court or there is simply suspicion about whether a person committed a crime, you may not be able to find any record at all.

Old records where a person was not convicted of the crime are also sealed and not made public, though most police and judicial systems do keep these records. Expunged records for minors or individuals who performed community service, for example, are not typically available to the public either. Military arrest records are also not part of the public record that can not be searched.

Types of Arrest Records

  • Misdemeanor records. These records are reserved for minor offenses and typically do not have a major impact on a person’s future. Misdemeanor offenses may fall off your criminal record after a certain amount of time depending on the state you’re in as well.
  • Traffic records. These are reserved for traffic violations and crimes related to things like large amounts of unpaid parking tickets.
  • Felony records. More serious crimes like drug sales, arson, assault and murder are often listed as felonies. These tend to stay on a person’s record for many years. In some cases, a felony charge will never be removed.

These are just a few of the most common types of criminal records you can find online and through in-person searches. Other types of arrest records may exist depending on the jurisdiction where the report was created. Arrest records can give you an idea of a person’s past, but there are a few different types of crimes to look for as mentioned above.

Do You Get a Criminal Record for Being Arrested?

A criminal record is simply a recording of a crime that has been committed where a person is found guilty in a court of law. For this reason, a criminal record is not created every time an individual is arrested. If the person has been arrested before, a record of the event will be added on that date. This can be followed up by a criminal record if the person was found guilty by a judge or jury. There will still be a publicly available arrest record even if the person was found innocent and the charges were dropped.

However, it’s important to note that not all criminal records are serious or problematic for everyone. A misdemeanor, for example, will likely fall of your record, or sealed after a certain amount of time. Felonies, on the other hand, may stay on your record permanently.

What Are Arrest Charges?

Getting arrested is a big deal. Even if you are never convicted of a crime, the fact that you have simply been arrested can have a major impact on your life. Potential employers may be hesitant to hire you, landlords could deny you housing, and you may have a hard time qualifying for a loan. For these reasons and more, it is important to make sure you know what is on your arrest record. Arrest records are often needed by people living abroad, especially if they are working or studying abroad. Alternatively, you may want to find out if somebody you know, such as a neighbor or a new date, has a history of run-ins with the law. Knowing how to check my arrest charges is a question most of us don’t want to have to answer but it’s better to know just in case this scenario arises.

What To Do If You Are Arrested

 If you have been arrested it is important to stay calm and know who to contact, you may only be allowed a limited amount of phone calls. Remember that you do have the right to remain silent and a right to an attorney. It is almost always best if you exercise both of these rights. Trying to argue with the police rarely ends well and you could say something that could hurt your case later on. Ask to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will have a much better understanding of your rights and proper police procedures than you will and they may be able to get the charges against you thrown out or reduced. If you do not have an attorney or legal counsel then you may just want to reach out to your spouse, partner, family member or close friend to help acquire a lawyer.

How to Check My Arrest Charges

How To Lookup Who Was Arrested

To lookup who was arrested you can access this information online with a simple name search. An arrest record is essentially one part of a public criminal record, so the same rules that apply to looking up a criminal record also apply to looking up an arrest record, they are all public records according to the FOIA.  One of the most popular and easiest way to find out if someone was arrested is to use a third party public record website, these are privately run database repositories that allow people to search arrests quickly with a first and last name. A big benefit to using resources like this is you can lookup anyone’s arrest and not just your own, which is what you are limited to with government state agencies. With these privately run resources a person can quickly reference arrests with a simple name search from any device that has an internet connection.

How to Request Your Own Arrest Record

  • Request your own criminal records from the state where you were arrested. For example, you can get your own records from the state of California here. You may be required to submit fingerprints to prove your identity. You will only be able to access your own arrest information this way and not someone else’s.
  • Go to the country clerk’s office in the country where you were arrested. You may be able to request these records online with a fee associated, you’ll need to pay a premium if you need a copy of your official criminal records.
  • Use a third-party search site to do a basic search. While these are not official records, they can provide information very quickly for reference. You can also lookup other people’s arrest records where you cannot typically do that through state run agencies.
  • Hire a private investigator or attorney to help you. This is often an ideal option if you’re trying to find old arrest records or perform a background check on somebody that you cannot find with the other online options.

Checking arrest charges can seem complex, but there are a few ways you can find your own arrest charges. You may also be able to find another individual’s arrest record using the third party public record websites.

State and Federal Arrest Record Retrieval

Using state run or federal run arrest lookup resources, the steps will vary depending on where you live. These are official resources that you can use for official purposes such as employment, security clearances, rental agreements and academic applications. In some state and federal jurisdictions you can request a local or state arrest record online, but only your own. Pennsylvania, for example, allows you to lookup your own arrest record online for a fee but you wont be able to lookup other people’s arrest record. In other states and counties, however, you will need to head to your local police department and request an arrest record in person but it is not always possible to get someone else’s arrest record this way. Be sure to have your Social Security Number and a piece of photo I.D. with you when making a request. There will also usually be a fee that you will have to pay that will vary depending on what agency it’s from and what type of arrest report you are requesting.

Criminal Arrest Requests For Employers

Before looking up an arrest record, for a potential employee, make sure you use the correct resources so that you are not violating any laws by doing so. You must use a certified FCRA service to access background information for employment. if you are looking up another person’s background record without using a certified service, you could inadvertently be breaking privacy laws. This is especially true if you are an employer checking a job applicant’s background or for other official purposes. Even if that applicant’s arrest record is public, you still need to have authorization to use that record in determining whether he or she is a suitable candidate for employment.

FBI Arrest Record Lookup

You will first need to decide whether to get your arrest record from the FBI or from a local or state police department. You will only be able to access your own arrest record this way, you will not be able to access arrest information on other people. If you need your arrest record for employment or other official purposes, then usually an FBI record will suffice. An FBI arrest record is known as an Identity History Summary. You can begin the application process for your Identity History Summary online by visiting the FBI’s webpage. You will need to fill out the application and pay the required fee. Also, you will need to provide a set of fingerprints to the FBI in order to complete your application. You can get your fingerprints done at your local police station. Note that you can only request your own Identity History Summary and not somebody else’s. 

Can My Arrest Charges Be Expunged?

Keep in mind that some arrest records can be expunged. While the exact definition of expungement varies from state to state, it generally means that the record of the arrest is no longer viewable by the public. Not all states have the same expungement laws and, those that do typically restrict it to non-violent offenses. Furthermore, to be eligible for expungement you will usually have to go through a waiting period during which you cannot have any new arrests or convictions. Expungement is rarely automatic and it usually can only be obtained by petitioning a judge to grant it. 

Hopefully most of us will not need to answer the question, ” How to lookup my arrest charges ,” but if this situation arises at least there are some guidelines you can follow

Search Arrest Records By State

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Are arrest records considered a criminal record?

Not necessarily unless that person is convicted of a crime in a court of law. In the United States, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty so an arrest may not transpire to a criminal record if that person is found innocent.

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Responses to “Find if Someone Was Arrested

  1. says:

    Catman, unfortunately we cannot assist you with your search for arrest records without a name, age and state of residency

  2. says:

    I have searched high & low without resolution. Last stop, Attorney – trying to avoid that if at all possible. In 2006 I was arrested – charges: 1)expired tag, 2)possession of paraphernalia, 3)possession of a controlled substance. Charges 1-3 dropped, I was held on charge 4. First time offender, participated in drug court, completed successful, case dismissed. That was nearly 15 years ago. My record looks horrendous as though I’ve been arrested hundreds of times. Locating the dismissal entry is practically impossible but it’s there. It seems as though this won’t just fall off of my record. Any recommendations on cleaning it off and clearing it all out? Thanks in advance!

  3. says:

    Rodney, we ran an Alabama warrant check for you mother and did not find anything active in our database resources.

  4. says:

    Yes I’m trying to find out if my mother has a warrant for her arrest I was pulled over tonight driving my moms cars and the cop was very nice and told me to let my mother know that there was a warrant for her arrest in phenix ciry Alabama I was told this by the lee county sheriff but if wouldnt tell me what it was for or how long the warrant has been can u plz let me know if she does have a warranty for her arrest. Cathy Radford age63 said warrant was out of phenix city Alabama. thank you

  5. says:

    Amy, since this was a recent arrest there will most likely not be a criminal record attached since arrest records are not necessarily criminal records. A criminal record means that person was convicted of a crime in a court of law.

  6. says:

    Until you are convicted of the charge you were arrested for, it shouldn\’t be on your criminal record. Innocent until proven guilty

    How do I find out if someone was arrested but released on ROR?
    I looked through the the search options online and they cost money. This person was \”supposedly\” arrested on 11/26/19 around 8pm in phila, PA. I do not believe her but don\’t want to accuse if I am wrong.

  7. says:

    the short answer is yes, an arrest that leads to a conviction in a court of law will be part of your arrest record

  8. says:

    If you get arrested and then are convicted, is the arrest record part of your criminal record?

Last Updated: 2019-09-10

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