Arrest information is a matter of public record. This means that any person can access these records at any time for any reason. The information is permanent unless an individual has requested and received a court order to have the records sealed or expunged (permanently deleted). Here is some valuable information that you need, to make an arrest inquiry:
Unlike an inquiry into a person’s criminal record, you are not required to receive permission from an individual to access their arrest record. It is important to keep in mind that arrest records do not provide any information regarding convictions and will only give you details of an arrest.
2. How to Search
There are many online websites that charge for this service or offer these searches at no cost. Though you need to be aware that not all arrest records will be reflected, especially those that are older than 20 years or where offences were committed in another state or county, when searching in specific location. The first stop should always be your state or county website that provides up-to-date information free of charge. You can also check the Federal Court database to make an arrest inquiry.
You will need an individuals full name and date of birth to make a search. Any additional information will narrow the search further to ensure that you are looking at records that are relevant to a specific person and not another individual with the same name or date of birth. In smaller counties, the information may not be available online and you will need to approach the County Courthouse where public arrest records are kept. These records should however also be held on national or federal databases.
3. What Type of Information Will Come Back?
When your search criteria are returned, you will be able to view a mugshot of the person and be given details of the reason for the arrest as well as the date of the arrest. This information will only reflect the original arrest particulars and not any updated information. The data will be incorrect in the event that charges were downgraded or where the person was the victim of a wrongful arrest. In cases where the charges were dropped after an arrest incident, the record will still be reflected.
4. Evaluating the Returned Information
Most commonly, people who make arrest record inquiries are employers, landlords or credit providers. The reason for the search is to establish the character of the person applying for a job, rental, or loan. However, there are a number of factors that these people and companies need to take into account after discovering that an individual has been arrested. An arrest record is NOT the same as a criminal record. While employment, lease agreements or loans can be declined due to a criminal record, the same discrimination cannot always be applied to an arrest record.
As a matter of fact, President Obama recently signed an executive order banning all Federal job application forms from including the section that requires acknowledgement of any criminal records. Private companies and state contractors still have permission to consider criminal history when interviewing applicants. It is advisable to speak to the person regarding the arrest record and find out the reasons behind the event, especially if this was a once-off occurrence that took place a long time ago or if the person was very young when they were arrested.
When doing an inquiry about an arrest, even more importantly, the information needs to be evaluated further if the arrest never resulted in a trial, if the charges were dropped or the person was never convicted. If an individual did not receive a conviction and a sentence, it means that they were found not guilty of the charges brought against them. On the other hand, arrests that involve felony charges need to be taken more seriously as well as cases where a person was arrested for sex crimes or offences.