Searching criminal records may be necessary for various situations. For instance, a criminal record check may be needed when checking a person’s background for employment or housing purposes. They may also be necessary when applying for certain positions or roles in the community. Or, a person may simply want to search their records to learn more about their own criminal records.

Criminal records can usually be accessed through the local or county criminal record system. These are generally maintained through the court system in the area. There may be various restrictions on accessing criminal records, especially for records that have been sealed or made inaccessible to the general public.

What Information Can Be Searched in a Criminal Record?

For records that can be accessed, information such as the following can be obtained:

  • Information regarding previous charges
  • Dates, names of parties involved, and locations of charges
  • Sentencing information
  • Whether there are any pending charges
  • In some cases, information regarding outstanding arrest warrants
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Is It Possible to Have a Criminal Record Cleared?

Sealing or clearing a criminal record can sometimes be an option for some persons. This makes it as though the criminal charges never occurred, and the public usually can’t access such information that has been deleted. This usually involves several different requirements, including:

  • The person has completed all sentences and probation/parole requirements from the charge(s).
  • The person has not engaged in any criminal activity since.
  • A certain amount of time has passed since the criminal charges were completed (usually anywhere from 5-10 years).

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Searching Criminal Records?

Criminal records can often be complex and may require the help of a criminal law attorney. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need help searching, accessing, or clearing a criminal record. Your attorney can provide you with guidance regarding the criminal records laws in your state.