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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

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How to Find Free Criminal Records

Malicious intents are hard to detect in a person, especially if it is someone who is only a casual acquaintance. So a free criminal history check is your only way to ensure your and your family’s safety before you let anyone enter your life or gain access to your property and belongings.

A free criminal background check can be conducted at any of the numerous public records web sites. But it is always a good idea to look for free criminal public records in the web sites hosted by government agencies and law enforcement bodies. These databases are extensive, and are maintained, supervised, updated regularly, and are authentic. Furthermore, the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act make it possible for you to obtain copies of criminal records maintained by federal agencies.

Where to Look for Free Criminal Records

Free criminal records include the criminal history or background of a convict, information on fugitives, warrant records, stolen properties, and missing persons. Most state law enforcement agencies or the county sheriff’s offices have websites of their own that house extensive free criminal records. These are available to the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and you can also access them if you visit these sites. Many US district court websites also stock free criminal records and you can access these via the online court docket system.

There are, however, some free criminal records that are only available to the federal authorities, and not to the state or county governments, or law enforcement bodies. These include drug records, immigration, fraud, and weapon charges.

Federal Records

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintains and regularly updates the official national criminal history database. It does this through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC.) The NCIC web site at http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fbi/is/ncic.htm houses information on outstanding arrest warrants, missing persons, stolen properties, municipal and traffic offenses, felonies, and serious misdemeanors. Information here is categorized as per FBI’s Interstate Identification Index (III) format where these data are contained: the convicted person’s identification details, arrest, conviction and incarceration information. This is actually the FBI’s Record of Arrest and Prosecution or RAP Sheet.

In this context, it is worth mentioning that the information stocked by the NCIC is based solely on the facts voluntarily provided by the county law enforcement agencies and other federal bodies.

Free criminal records related to firearms can be obtained at the official website of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) web site, at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/nics.htm. Initiated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, this database is extensively used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to sift through prospective firearm buyers.

The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), also maintained by the FBI, and is the largest biometric system in the world. It is a central repository for fingerprints and criminal history records provided during arrests and civil submissions. You can conduct a search at their official web site, http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/iafis.htm or get in touch with the authorities at 304-625-2000 or 304-625-5590.

The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) web site, at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/http://www.peoplepublicrecords.org/lab/html/codis1.htm, stores DNA samples of both convicted felons and unknown samples collected from crime scenes.  These two kinds of samples are found in the Offender Index and the Forensic Index, respectively. At present, all the 50 US states and Puerto Rico are a part of this initiative and as such the CODIS database is growing day by day.

With free criminal records being computerized and hosted online, searching is made easier and less time-consuming.

 

Free Criminal Records in Specific States:

 

Free California Criminal Records

Free Florida Criminal Records

Free Iowa Criminal Records

Free North Carolina Criminal Records

Free Ohio Criminal Records

Free Texas Criminal Records

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