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What Are Arrest Records?

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When Is a Person Under Arrest?

When a person is taken into police custody because of a criminal act, they are considered to be under arrest. The arrest can occur immediately after an alleged crime or after an investigation.

What Is an Arrest Record?

An arrest record, also known as a criminal record, is a document detailing a person’s criminal history. Arrest records are kept by law enforcement agencies and other judicial administrative institutions.

What Are Arrest Records Used For?

They are used to keep track of a person’s criminal history. They are also used by people who are: 

  • Renting property
  • Employing people
  • Performing background checks

What Information Is on an Arrest Record?

An arrest record contains personal information, such as the person’s last known address and age. Also included in a person’s arrest record are details about their arrest and:

  • Fingerprints
  • Photographs
  • Criminal charges
  • Identifying marks
  • Different names used
  • Social security number
  • Race
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Results of prior arrests

Will My Arrest Record Include Convictions?

Yes. Criminal convictions are normally included on arrest records.

Can I Have My Arrest Record Cleared?

Under certain circumstances, an individual can have their arrest record cleared. Whether or not an arrest records can be cleared depends on the jurisdiction and theirs rules regarding expungments. An arrest record expungement is an elimination of an arrest and/ or conviction by court order from all public government records, including police records.

Some jurisdictions allow a person to expunge arrests and convictions depending on the criminal act. For example, some sex crimes and traffic violations are not expugnable. Other jurisdictions only allow arrest records to be expunged if there was no subsequent conviction in the case.

What About Sealing an Arrest Record?

Sealing an arrest record is different than expunging it. Instead of destroying the arrest record, it still technically exists and is merely taken out of public view.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer About My Arrest Records?

Yes, it is highly recommended that you discuss your arrest record with a criminal attorney. If you are trying to expunge your records, a lawyer can help you determine if you meet eligible requirements.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 09-13-2016 08:17 PM PDT

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