Sentencing records are documents and files maintained by the court systems across the United States detailing sentences handed out to criminals. When someone is convicted of a crime, they must be given a punishment -- normally in the form of a prison/jail sentence or a fine. If you’re looking for someone’s sentencing records or want to look up your own records, you can do so online with little to no information on your end.
As you could probably imagine, people aren’t as open about their criminal and sentencing records as they might be with other things -- like their age or hometown. Some things are easy to open up about, while others can be more embarrassing or can detail a dark moment in their past that they are actively trying to change.
Sentencing Records Allow For Transparency
Whatever the case may be, sentencing records are meant to give the public a sense of transparency. Things happen everyday, mistakes are made, and punishments are given. Having sentencing records available online can allow others to view your past without having to confront you about it. Whether you like it or not, it’s for everyone’s own good.
Many people with a sentencing record like to occasionally check their information online to make sure there are no mistakes, false claims, or inaccurate details included. This can be essential to making sure others don’t make and negative assumptions about you that aren’t true.
If your information is going to be out there no matter what, you may as well make sure it’s correct.
Different Types of Sentencing Records
Sentencing records can contain a wide range of documents and data, so making sure you are “hip to the lingo” can ensure you understand what you’re reading about people. Especially to those who aren’t keen to the court system or legal procedures, doing some basic research before looking at sentencing records will be in your best interest.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common sentences that might be found in a sentencing record:
- Absolute Discharge - this will be the lowest level sentence given to an adult. Although guilt is found and it will remain on a criminal record for up to one year, there will be no further conviction or penalty.<
- Conditional Discharge - similar to the previous in that guilt is found and no further conviction is made, but there will be conditions they will need to follow in the form of probation. These can stay on a criminal record for up to 3 years after probation is completed.
- Suspended Sentence - this will lead to a conviction, a criminal record, and a probation period between 1-3 years. It will stay on a criminal record indefinitely and will require a pardon to be taken off.
- Probation - when in probation, the guilty person will have certain things they either can or can’t do for a set period of time. This can include no alcohol, no weapons, no drugs, staying away from certain people, rehab, and reporting to a probation officer. Probation is normally combined with another penalty.
- Fine - a fine is an amount of money that the guilty person is due to the court. It will often be combined with other penalties and will remain on a person’s criminal record until a pardon is given (if one is given).
- Imprisonment - the offender will be admitted to a jail (under 2 years) or federal penitentiary (more than 2 years) depending on the length of the sentence.
- Weekends - similar to imprisonment, but done in chunks. For example, the guilty person can serve a jail sentence on the weekends and be released during the week. This is only done for sentences under 90 days, but isn’t commonly granted.
- House Arrest - also known as conditional sentence, this will be an imprisonment inside the offender’s home. There will be conditions to make it less like a day off and more like a jail sentence.
Those are the main types of sentences that can be found in sentencing records online. There are a lot and the offender will likely receive multiple punishments when convicted. Especially when imprisoned, those convictions are normally met with fines and probation.
Who Can See Your Sentencing Records?
If you’ve ever served a sentence for a crime you committed, your sentencing records are available for everyone to see. They can even be included in a background check, though some laws and regulations will protect you from discrimination.
What surprises a lot of people is the availability to the public, which can be credited to the Freedom of Information Act. Although the act doesn’t directly allow state and county governments to release sentencing records to the public, it does require the federal government to do so. Furthermore, it was the Freedom of Information Act that inspired the state governments to implement their own similar laws.
As a result, sentencing records are only a few minutes away when using the right tools and resources. Some databases found online are limited to certain counties, cities, or states, but other databases bring all this information into a single, easy-to-read report for you.
How to Find Sentencing Records
I know, all of this talk about looking for sentencing records have you eager to give it a try for yourself. Don’t worry, it’s a common feeling among those that weren’t fully aware this stuff was so widely available.
There’s more good news -- we have everything you’ll need for your search right here on our website.
To get started, enter the first name and last name of the offender you would like to search for in the boxes located below. Hit the search button and start sifting through the possible matches our search engine brings up. If you know the person’s location, date of birth, birth location, or any other vital information about them, you can use it to further confirm you have the right person.
When you open their report, loads of information pertaining to their life will await. You will likely find much more than just sentencing records, so feel free to stoop around and unlock everything the report has to offer.