Criminal records can be used for a variety of different reasons, whether you want to confirm the person you just met online isn’t dangerous or if you want to see if any family members are hiding a criminal past. Since criminal records can be accessed on someone’s public record, this information can be viewed by anyone willing to search for it.
If you fear someone is keeping secrets from you about their past or if they’ve gone MIA all of sudden and you feel they might’ve gotten into trouble, criminal records can give you a detailed list of any prior or current arrests and convictions they’ve been dealt.
Before you begin your search, you should make sure you know the difference between an arrest and a conviction -- both of which can show up in criminal records. Although an arrest will likely lead to a conviction, some people are arrested for a crime they didn’t commit or are taken in for further questioning -- just to be released after.
Whatever the case may be, an arrest won’t always imply wrong-doing by that person and won’t always lead to a conviction.
Why Are Criminal Records Public?
When someone gets arrested, they go through a very specific routine within the judicial and court systems. Whether they are defending their guilt or testifying their innocence, they will have to appear in front of a judge -- and sometimes a jury -- that will decide to either convict that person of the crime or find them not guilty.
If they are found guilty, the county will have to create a criminal record for that person and file it with the clerk’s office. Once filed, the documents are accessible to the public and can be viewed by anyone.
The criminal records are often used by government agencies and police officers, who won’t need consent to view them. In some circumstances, you may have to give consent to employers and schools who might use the information to determine eligibility.
Here are some other reasons your criminal record might be viewed with or without your consent:
- Entering into the military
- Purchasing a weapon
- To be given security clearance
- Fostering or adopting a child
- Immgiration, international travel, or naturalization
- Professional and business licenses
- Registering to vote
- When you give consent to any background check
Outside of that, your friends and family can also view your criminal records if they are included in your public records. You can even view your own criminal record to confirm the information in there is accurate and up-to-date.
What Do Criminal Records Display?
Criminal records can display a variety of arrests and convictions possibly linked to your name. Although many state and federal agencies have different regulations regarding what to include in criminal records, you will likely be given basic information at the very least.
Not only will it contain personal information, including the person’s name, birth date, other known aliases, height, and weight, but it will also include the date of conviction, the courthouse involved, the sentence, and whether it was a misdemeanor or felony.
If you’ve ever been arrested, these records are normally kept by the county clerk’s office -- whether you were convicted of the crime or not. The arrests will normally remain on your public record and can be viewed on your criminal records for 7-10 years.
If you see an arrest on someone’s criminal records, don’t automatically assume the worst. You’ll want to confirm if they have any convictions that relate to that incident before making assumptions.
When someone is accused of a crime, they will have to defend themselves in court to clear their name. If they are found guilty in court, the conviction will be added to their criminal records and will remain in those records forever. Since convictions almost always imply wrong-doing, you’ll want to beware of what some people could have on their records.
Whether they were charged with drug possession, theft, larceny, or any other crime, it can show up on their criminal records for everyone to see.
Even traffic violations can be included in criminal records. Driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and even non-moving violations can be a clear indication of someone’s character -- especially while on the road.
These records are often used by car dealerships and creditors who like to know the type of person they are dealing with -- whether they are responsible or not.
Using Criminal Records to Your Advantage
We meet new people everyday through a variety of different sources and channels, but we often neglect truly getting to know these people. This opens the door for people to easily hide their identity and even pretend to be someone else entirely. For those that have criminal records, they will likely try to hide this from you.
It doesn’t matter if you just met someone on an online dating site, social media, just moved to a new neighborhood, or simply want to perform a search on your friends or family, criminal records are available to help you stay safe.
Even if you want to conduct a search for your own criminal records, you can do so online. This can help you confirm your own information out there, that way no one has to make assumptions about you.
How To Find Criminal Records
Starting a criminal records search is very easy and can be done right here on our Public Records Reviews website. Many people think the average person can’t view these files, even those that know it’s available think it requires a trip to the county clerk’s office.
That might’ve been true decades ago, but things are much simpler in this day and age. If you have the person’s first and last name that you’d like to search for, you can start the search today with just that information. If you know their last known location, that will only help your search -- although not required.
If you’re ready to do a criminal records check on your loved ones and new encounters, head over to the search engine located on our website and begin your search today!