Ways to Access Criminal Records
Access to criminal records will reveal information on all types of crimes committed, arrests, sex offenses, felonies, misdemeanors, burglaries, murders, theft, rape, and so on. The legal system and the various law enforcement agencies in the United States of America maintain criminal records aimed at providing a comprehensive account of all criminal activities occurring in these states.
Reasons to Search Criminal Records
Access to criminal records is possible in each state by following the stringent rules that the state repositories have. These records are maintained at the local, state and federal levels and are updated regularly. You may want to access criminal records due to a number of reasons. You can do it to check if a new love interest has a clean or a murky past. You may also want to run a background check before employing a new babysitter or a new nanny for your baby. Often, employers run a background check on prospective employees to see if the concerned person was convicted for any criminal offense. These searches enable the seekers to assure themselves about any suspicions that arise in their mind. It also increases safety and reduces the occurrence of crime.
How to Access Criminal Records
In order to access criminal records, you have to visit the corresponding office in the state you are in. The local police departments, sheriff’s office and the special police agencies keep internal records. The State Police, the Department of Correction in each state and the other law enforcement agencies including the highway patrol maintain the criminal records at the state level. The rules vary from state to state or from county to county.
In general, you have to fill out a form providing all the information it asks for. You will be charged an administrative fee for accessing the criminal records. The fee varies from state to state. There are different types of forms available depending on the type of information you want to access. You may download it and mail it along with the other attachments. You will get the specific information by visiting the official websites of each state.
Some states maintain an electronic system by which you can view records online for free. There is also a fingerprint-based check that you can perform. The states conduct these scans in co-ordination with private companies. For this you have to get yourself a live fingerprint scan card and visit the company.
As a rule, juvenile records are not made public. You can not only access criminal records for performing background checks on other people. You may also want a report of your own criminal records. You may have to provide it as a part of the pre-employment check if you are applying for a job in a company. Also, you may want it for your own reference. Procuring a copy of your own criminal record will enable you to make any corrections or to expunge it as the law permits.
If you want information about any inmates, you have to do go to the Department of Corrections of that state. You have to enter the full name of the individual correctly and also the SSN. The search results reveal the individual's name, physical description, crime he is serving a sentence for, or if he was arrested but not sentenced.
Reliability of Criminal Records
There are many public sites offering a free search of criminal records. These sites promise to allow you to access criminal records for free. But the information they give may not always be accurate and more than often incomplete. The sources they accumulate their database from are not known. So, even if you have to pay a fee it is better to access criminal records from the legal authorities, the different government agencies, the police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
National Criminal Records
The Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation has a “Fingerprint Identification Records System” and also a “National Instant Criminal Background Check System”. The following are the links to these pages on the website of the FBI respectively:
The National Crime Information Center of the FBI gathers and saves data regarding arrests, arrest warrants, misdemeanors, felonies, stolen properties and missing persons. In order to know about the application procedure in greater details visit: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm. Another relevant link is that of the Criminal Justice Information Services or the CJIS. The CJIS provides accurate information within a short span of time. Visit the CJIS webpage by copying http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1201.html.
You can guard yourself from potentially harmful people and avoid being a victim of frauds and other criminal activities if you access criminal records.