Criminal records definition

Criminal records in the United States contain records of arrests, criminal charges, and the disposition of those charges. Criminal records are collected and updated at local, state, and federal levels by government agencies, generally, law enforcement agencies. A criminal record is stored digitally and presents a comprehensive criminal history of a specific person.

A criminal record, also known as a "rap sheet", can be used for background checks for employment purposes, security clearance, adoption, or immigration to the United States. They are also used for criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions.

Types of criminal records

These records can include one or more of the following:

  • Arrest Record
  • Arrest warrant
  • Conviction record
  • Felony
  • Inmate records
  • Juvenile criminal records
  • Parole information
  • Probation records
  • Misdemeanor
  • Sex offender listing
  • Serious traffic violations

How to find criminal records

In order to obtain federal criminal records, a person will need to access the FBI website and request a copy of their Identity History Summary, this how the FBI calls a criminal history report. The FBI only allows a person to request a copy of their Identity History Summary, therefore, it is not possible to look up another person’s criminal records through the FBI database.

To get a criminal record, it is necessary to complete an application information form. After, the applicant needs to get their fingerprints taken and send an original copy along with the application. To get the fingerprints, the applicant can go to the closest sheriff’s office or local law enforcement agency.

To complete the process of requesting criminal records, it is necessary to cover the 18 USD fee in the form of a certified check, money order, or credit card. Finally, the applicant can mail the application and the respective documents to the FBI CJIS Division - Summary Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306.

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