How to Search Through Public Criminal Records

Criminal records, which includes arrest records, are a matter of public documentation. This means that anybody is able to view them. Public criminal records used to be kept solely in the police departments or courts in which the records were created, but thanks to the online world, they are now available through a variety of different websites. There are numerous reasons as to why you may want to look up someone’s criminal background and you are now allowed to do so with ease.

What You Will Find in Public Criminal Records

Public criminal records contain a wealth of information, including:

  • The arrest.
  • The charge.
  • The case number.
  • The disposition.
  • The filing date.
  • The court details.
  • The case outcome.

It is very important to understand that most websites only provide you with very specific records, which do not necessarily include all the above information. For instance, you can obtain an arrest record, which will tell you what someone was charged with and when, but it will not tell you anything about the court case and the outcome of it. Because everybody is innocent until proven guilty, you do need to make sure that you do not base your judgments solely on partial records.

How to Obtain Public Criminal Records

There are a number of different ways in which you can obtain these records, including:

  • Using a search engine and enter the name of the individual you are looking for. Try to find official websites for your results, such as those with an URL ending in .US or .GOV. This tells you a lot about the quality of the website itself.
  • Visiting the local criminal court house of the county in which the individual you are interested in lives. The downside of this is that, if they were arrested in any other locality, the local county courthouse won’t have any details on that.
  • Using online criminal database facilities that maintain all criminal public records.

Using Online Record Searches

There are now numerous websites through which you can look up someone’s background. Some of those are completely free, but you need to take those with a pinch of salt. They know that one of the first people individuals look up is themselves and they hope that, by showing the individual something unexpected about themselves, they can convince them to pay to have that information removed.

One way to make sure you use a good quality service is to opt for one that offers a free trial. Sometimes, the results you will see during this trial are somewhat limited, but they could reveal just enough for you to know whether or not you need to pay to find out more. Additionally, these services are usually quite expensive, selling either single searches or packages of searches. Make sure you spend some time reviewing what the different service providers offer you and how they can be of benefit, thereby ensuring that you will receive accurate, up to date, and complete information.

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