A sentencing record is effectively the record of the incarceration periods ordered by a state or local court. After a defendant has been convicted of a crime these become public record. Of course, crimes are prosecuted in various ways by individual courts on different levels. The policies for reporting are not necessarily as uniform as may be thought generally. State and local courts are not all converted to digital text regarding criminal conviction sentencing records, but many are at least in that process of conversion. An official sentencing records search will need to be accessed personally, even though there are multiple unofficial databases online that allow paid access to their listings. While they can be excellent sources of information concerning an individual sentencing record, these listings are not always complete and may not contain all records regarding actual time served on a particular sentencing.
An official sentencing records search must be requested from the court in which they are filed. In some localities the sheriff or a local police department can supply sentencing records as well. This means that an individual may have a record in various locations if they have criminal convictions in multiple courts. Many times the sentencing records may be viewed online if the multiple convictions were in the same state, but the official report will still need to be processed by the court clerk or a policing agency for the particular conviction jurisdiction. Many people with sentencing records may want an official copy of their own record, which is a subset of the total criminal conviction history. Personal records can be obtained in the same manner.
An online sentencing records search can offer up a lot of information but it’s important to go through it all to make sure you’re finding the relevant information. While there are many criminal history databases available online for an access fee, states also keep a record of convictions within the state. Federal sentencing records are also available online, and they can be obtained free from official digital listings. Federal sentencing records can be easier to access than state records in some cases because the federal court system was the first to comprehensively digitize sentencing records.
It is important to remember that all issues involved in a criminal case may not be included in database information. The court has the authority to expunge any particular record that qualifies through an engagement hearing. Juvenile records are also often sealed by the court. Sealed records are not available for public viewing or official requests and must be requested of the court by the defendant in a separate motion.