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.

An arrest record, also known as a criminal record, is a document detailing a person’s criminal history. Arrest records are typically stored on file 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
  • Various other uses

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 may be details about their arrest and personal info such as:

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

The arrest record will usually also contain information regarding the classification of the crime. For instance, the record may contain information pertaining to whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor. Felonies may be associated statutes of limitations than misdemeanor crimes.

Will My Arrest Record Include Convictions?

In most cases, criminal convictions are normally included on arrest records. They may also contain other procedural information such as:

  • Whether the person owes any criminal restitution or fines
  • Previous incarcerations, including amount of time spent incarcerated, as well as the type of facility the person was placed in
  • Any instances of pending or upcoming hearings or litigation
  • Military service, if applicable – this may relate to other issues such as dishonorable discharge

The exact details and information contained in an arrest record will of course vary from person to person. They may also vary by jurisdiction or region.

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 expungements. 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. Under special circumstances, the records can sometimes be made accessible when needed for a specific purpose.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer About My Arrest Records?

Arrest records can contain much information and may be difficult to interpret sometimes. If you are trying to expunge your records, then you should contact a local expungement lawyer to see if you meet the requirements to be eligible.

But it’s important to keep in mind, as seen in the above information, it is difficult to have your record expunged as there are specific requirements that must be in place before the process can begin. Be sure to know your entire criminal history and show any paperwork that might help your cause.