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.
Of course, finding arrest records on individuals other than yourself may become a necessity if you’re hiring for a business or looking for legal documents related to family members. The concept of searching out old arrest records can be pretty confusing if you’re not an attorney or familiar with the system though.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways that average people can look up records to see if someone was arrested in the past. Keep reading to educate yourself before you start your search for past criminal and arrest records.
What 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 criminal history.
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 are often expunged so they don’t retroactively penalize a person for past mistakes many years later.
Arrest records are typically held by law enforcement agencies or judicial administrative arms if a court case went in front of a judge.
Are Arrest Records Public?
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 available to the public either.
How to Find Arrest Records
- 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.
- Go to the country clerk’s office in the country where the person was arrested if you are looking for records on someone else. You may be able to request these records online with a fee associated, though you are not likely to get a copy of official records.
- Use a third-party search site to do a basic search. While these are not official records, they can provide information very quickly.
- 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 like a potential employee.
Checking arrest charges can seem complex, but there are a few ways you can find your own. You may also be able to find another individual’s arrest record using the methods outlined in the ” how to find arrest records ” list above.
Types of Arrest Records
Arrest records can give you an idea of a person’s past, but there are a few different types of crimes to look for. Here are some of the most common types you’ll see after a successful search:
- 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.
Do You Get a Criminal Record for Being Arrested?
A criminal record is simply a recording of a crime that has been committed. For this reason, a criminal record is created every time an individual is arrested. If the person has been arrested before, a new crime will be added on that date.
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 before long. Felonies, on the other hand, may stay on your record permanently.
Finding a criminal record, whether you’re looking for your own or somebody else’s, doesn’t have to be hard. With this guide, you should be able to find your own history or get basic information about potential employees, family members and anybody else in your area.