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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 Access North Carolina Criminal Records

The central repository in North Carolina maintains all criminal records of individuals subjected to its criminal justice system. This database is updated and maintained by the Department of Public Safety and the State Police. The information includes details of any depositions, charges and arrests, along with fingerprint identifications. The central repository of NC can be accessed through

Besides the federal courts and the state repositories, federal government watch lists, sexual predator lists and sex offenders list, vendor databases and prison record systems are other sources of North Carolina criminal records. Two factors govern the criminal search process conducted at the North Carolina law enforcement repositories:
* Restrictions on access of files and records
* Accuracy of the contents of the criminal records

Class of Criminal Records


North Carolina criminal records can be divided into three distinct classes. These are infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are minor offenses that are not punishable by a jail term. Some of the minor offenses include traffic tickets, the violation of municipal codes and DUI. Misdemeanors are relatively less serious offenses in which the offender may be subjected to probation or a prison term that is less than a year. Felonies are the most serious offenses that attract a penalty of a jail term that can be for duration of one year or more, or it may attract probation as penalty.

The process begins when a particular criminal case is tried at one of the towns, counties, municipal or state trial and federal courts that are situated in North Carolina. The information from these courts is then forwarded to the centralized state repository in NC, which is controlled by the state law enforcement agency. The records are then transferred to the FBI.

Need for Criminal Records

The criminal records provide detailed information on the types of offenses, their degree and severity, along with the criminal history of any individual living in North Carolina. These records help to identify and ascertain if an individual can be entrusted with the care of our loved ones such as our children, the elderly or the disabled. It can help to identify sex offenders, career criminals and con men. Criminal records also come in handy for performing background checks for employment or even matrimonial alliances. Apart from individual needs, these records are also important for state level and legal investigations.

Access to North Carolina Criminal Records

All North Carolina criminal records are not open for the consumption of the general public. Any records or court proceedings involving juveniles as the central subject are usually kept confidential. Apart from that, communication and confidential information shared between a doctor and his patient or a social service worker and the individual using their services are automatically sealed by statutes.


If you need to search, access, or verify any information pertaining to any criminal matter in  North Carolina, all you need to do is either visit the county courthouse or the police station of the town, county, or municipality in which the crime or incident took place.

A courthouse search utilizes name search system. You need to include the date of birth and last name to access the criminal records that are open to the public. Providing the SSN number is optional, but it helps to narrow down your search. You can download the form available with the State Police or the Department of Public Safety, fill it out carefully and then send your request through the mail along with a money order for $50 to expedite the search process. Conducting each search requires three business days to complete.

North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety
4701 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4701


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