The vast majority of people don’t know that arrest records are public, and anyone can view them – for free. You may want to look into your own name, for instance, to make sure that they are correct. Or perhaps you have a new friend and you want to know whether they can be trusted. Employers also regularly check public court records to determine whether or not they should give someone a job. There are many reasons why you would want to do this, in other words.
What Is an Arrest Record?
If someone is arrested, regardless of what for, they will be booked and fingerprinted, and listed in the criminal justice system. An arrest does not mean guilt, however. Sometimes, the charges are dropped completely and, other times, the individual is acquitted. The arrest record, however, stays in place and stays there for life, so long as the arrestee was over 18. Anyone can access these public records, just as they can access tax, birth, marriage, and divorce records.
What Can You Find in Public Records?
When you look up public records like arrest records, they will contain identifying information. This includes date of birth, name, and other important information that was collected when they were arrested. For instance, where they were arrested, why, and by whom will all be included on the record.
Where to Get Arrest Records
Once upon a time, the only way you would be able to get these records would be to go to your nearest government location where records were kept, which is usually the city hall. You could then ask for a copy in person. You can still do this today, but you can also put in a request via the mail, and now even via the internet. In fact, many cities now have all their public records listed online and you can generally access them for a small fee. This means you can get records very quickly and know that they are accurate, while also not having to queue nor having to wait for office opening hours.
We do live in an era where we don’t trust anything that is supposedly “free”. However, you have to remember that city offices and police departments are not profit making businesses. At the same time, there is a catch. The biggest catch is that the records you can access relate only to that geographical area. If you want to research someone else’s background, you will need to know all the locations in which they may have been arrested in the past, which isn’t necessarily where they lived. This means that, potentially, the information you find is not complete. There are companies that will search all the records for you. Those companies are for profit businesses, however, which means they will charge you a more substantial fee, above and beyond the cost of sending a piece of paper in the post, in other words. On the other hand, you do know that you have all the necessary information in that case.