Searching Criminal Records

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 I Need Help Searching Criminal Records

For various reasons, it may be important to search criminal records. For example, a criminal history check could be required when a person’s background is being investigated for employment or housing.

They could also be required when applying for particular jobs or community responsibilities. Or, a person might wish to run a record search to learn more about their criminal history.

The local or county criminal record system typically allows access to criminal records. These are often kept up through the local judicial system. Access to criminal records may be subject to several restrictions, particularly if the records have been sealed or kept inaccessible to the public.

What Details are Accessible During a Criminal Record Search?

Information like the following is accessible for records that can be accessed:

  • Detailed information about prior charges
  • Dates, parties’ names, and the accusations’ locations
  • Sentencing details
  • If there are any charges pending
  • In some instances, details on outstanding arrest warrants

When Is It Necessary to Check Criminal Records?

Criminal background checks are typically requested in these circumstances:

  • Making a job application
  • Making a visa, passport, or other immigration-related application
  • Applying for a job or post with the government
  • Working for schools and other places where interacting with kids or adolescents is required
  • Looking to purchase a home or other type of accommodation
  • Situations involving visitation, child support, and child custody

Therefore, criminal history checks are typically required when security and safety are raised. This is especially true when there is a history of violent crimes committed by the individual.

Can One Have Their Criminal Record Erased?

Some people may occasionally choose to seal or clear their criminal record. As a result, it appears as though the criminal charges were never brought, and deleted information is typically not accessible to the public. This typically involves a variety of needs, such as:

  • The defendant has fulfilled all terms of their sentences and probation or parole related to the charge(s).
  • Since then, the guy has not committed any crimes.
  • The criminal accusations were dismissed a specific time ago (usually anywhere from 5-10 years).

What is Expungement?

Treating someone’s criminal records as if they don’t exist is known as expungement. State rules on expungement differ; however, all states allow some record sealing or expungement for juvenile offenses.

Although state-by-state variations may exist in the criteria and conditions for expungement, the following are frequently needed:

  • A written request for expungement was filed with the court where the conviction occurred;
  • The original sentence must have been served in full; or
  • There are no fresh or further criminal allegations against the applicant.

The person asking for their record expunged must show that probation or other criteria have been fulfilled. Typically, the application for expungement is only good for one case (the one they seek to have expunged). Multiple records or charges must be expunged through separate petitions from the applicant.

Once all the paperwork and forms have been sent in, a judge will analyze the petition and decide whether the person is qualified for expungement. In specific courts, there are frequently extra steps or processes for expungement.

Can a Juvenile Record Be Expunged?

In many places, but not all, juvenile criminal records are automatically expunged. You ought to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who focuses on sealing juvenile records. Only individuals with a spotless criminal record throughout the intervening years are eligible for an expungement. Individual courts may have their own processes for youth expungements.

Can Misdemeanors Be Removed from a Criminal Record?

Misdemeanor offenses are typically less serious offenses that are only punished by a fine or a term of less than a year in county jail (not a prison facility). A person’s record can be cleared of the majority of offenses.

Traffic offenses, particularly first-time DUI or drunk driving charges; other non-violent crimes; simple theft-related offenses, trespassing, and vandalism; and resisting arrest are some examples of misdemeanor convictions that are frequently wiped out.

An individual’s criminal record can be cleared with a misdemeanor expungement. Certain sanctions, such as restoring the right to own a gun or removing a person from a list of sex offenders, cannot be reversed.

Can a Felony Be Expunged from Your Criminal Record?

A felony is a more serious offense that carries a sentence of more than a year in imprisonment (as opposed to a county jail) and heftier fines or fees. In general, it is more challenging to clear a felony charge than a misdemeanor charge. Only specific felonies are eligible for expungement in some states, and some states do not permit the expungement of felonies.

It is commonly accepted that the likelihood of a felony being erased from a person’s record decreases with the severity of the offense. More serious crimes typically result in longer sentences and greater fines.

Typically, non-violent misdemeanors like drug possession are more likely to qualify for expungement than more serious felonies. Typically, sexual offenses like rape and sexual assault, felonies with victims under the age of 18, and other offenses of a similar type cannot be purged.

Not to mention, federal crime convictions cannot typically be overturned. Pardons for federal felonies may occasionally be granted (though this usually happens under very limited circumstances).

What is the Distinction Between Sealing and Expunging a Record?

Expunction is frequently used interchangeably with other words that mean the same thing, particularly “record sealing.” There are a few key ways in which expungement and record sealing differ.

When charges on a criminal record are expunged, they are no longer connected to that person’s criminal history and are handled as though they never happened. The accusations have typically been dropped in court.

When records are sealed, the charges are still present, but the public is not permitted access to them because they are private. In other words, employers cannot access these records even though they are theoretically present in the system.

In some places, a sealed conviction may occasionally be utilized to raise the harshness of a subsequent sentence. It is applicable when a person’s history as a “serial offender” may be important. This is still possible even if the records are legally sealed.

Qualifications for Record Expunction or Sealing

The requirements for record sealing vary from state to state, but in general, they go like this:

  • Write to the court where the conviction happened and request that the record be sealed.
  • The original sentence had to be completed.
  • There are no current charges against the person.
  • The candidate must demonstrate that all probationary conditions have been met.

People frequently request expungements in the same court where their cases were initially brought.

They must submit separate applications if they want to expunge more than one record because expungement petitions typically only apply to one instance. The court will assess the petition and decide whether they are eligible. Courts occasionally handle record sealing and expungement in different ways.

Informational Resources Regarding Record Sealing or Expungement

It is crucial to remember that:

  • Expunction is not possible for a lot of felonies.
  • Record sealing is not permitted for almost all sexual offenses.
  • Typically, juvenile offenses or misdemeanors are eligible for expungement.

In some places, the original sealed conviction may still be utilized to increase the harshness of a subsequent sentence, even when records are sealed.

Do I Need an Attorney to Look Up Criminal Records?

Criminal records are frequently complicated; thus, an expungement lawyer can be necessary. You might want to contact a lawyer nearby if you need assistance looking up, gaining access to, or expunging a criminal record. The criminal records rules in your state can be explained to you by your attorney.

Law Library Disclaimer


16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer