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How To Obtain Information About Your Criminal Arrest Record

Law Blog

You need information about criminal charges, convictions, and sentences when preparing for a court date. If you were nervous or intoxicated when an arrest took place, you might be confused about why handcuffs were placed around your wrists. You have a right to know which arrests appear on your record, whether you've been accused of a minor misdemeanor or multiple felonies. Here are 5 simple ways to obtain information about your personal history of arrests.

Visit Your Court's Online Website

Access online court records free of charge through your state's court websites if you are seeking information about past or pending criminal charges that happened in your area. View charges, parties involved, court dates, docket entries, judgments, and sentences. You may also find information about garnishments and fines related to your arrest record.

If you were arrested for a federal crime or a state other than where you reside, information about your criminal charges probably won't be on your local court's website. Visit the website for the court system in the state where you were arrested, or try the tips below to get the facts about your arrest.

Call the Courthouse

If information about your arrest record doesn't appear online or you have difficulty navigating the online website for your courthouse, call the courthouse in the city or state where the arrest occurred. Arrest information is usually public information that can be released over the phone, but you may be asked to provide your Social Security Number or date of birth first.

Depending on local laws, the courthouse may refuse to release information over the phone if your arrest involved the alleged harassment or abuse of a minor.

Run a Background Check

Perform a background check on yourself to find out what's on your arrest record. You can do an online background check or undergo one in person at your local highway patrol office. Some police stations also offer this service.

Expect to pay a small fee for processing. You may not receive immediate results, so request a background check several weeks before you attend court or embark on a job hunt.

Request a Detailed Police Report

Contact the police department in the city where the arrest occurred to request a detailed police report regarding a criminal arrest. All police departments in the state have access to arrest records, but detailed reports are available from the arresting agency.

Contact a Lawyer

Hire a lawyer if you don't already have one by requesting an estimate for the cost of services. Make sure your attorney estimate includes information about courtroom representation unless you plan to represent yourself after seeking legal advice.

Lawyers and paralegals keep current information on file regarding the criminal cases of their clients, so your attorney will find a way to get your arrest record. After your attorney receives your records, he can provide you with a copy and help you determine how to handle any pending allegations.


1 August 2016