Approximately 33% of American adults have a criminal record. Criminal records compile legal data about an individual. If you have a criminal record your record will outline every time you have been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense. Criminal records are normally public records. It is helpful to understand how they are accessed, who can view them, and what options you may have to restrict access if you have a criminal record.

Accessing Criminal Records in Person


Criminal records are available to the public. Every time a person is arrested, convicted, or found not guilty of a charge this information is added to that person’s record. Criminal records are stored by the court clerk’s office. Individuals can go to the court clerk’s office and request a copy of a person’s criminal record. They will be given a copy of the records that fit the search parameters they provide. The people receiving a copy of the records will be required to pay a fee for a copy of the records. Any individual can access these records.

Judiciary Case Search


Criminal records are also accessible online. State judiciary websites enable individuals to look up legal information about people through their websites. A judiciary case search can be performed with only a surname. The more information that is provided, the more accurate the results will be. These records include both criminal and civil legal data. Sites like provide a summary of the details. Criminal records may include sentencing information, indicate that the case has been dismissed, or state that the party charged was found not guilty. Users are required to be 18 years of age to perform a search.

Public Records Search


Golookup is a reputable site that can be used to access public records. A search will provide public data, as well as public arrest records for the subject of the search. One of the advantages of using GoLookUp is that a single search provides a wide range of data. GoLookUp will locate contact information, former addresses, relatives, and legal information for the subject of your search. The company restricts its services to individuals who are at least 18 years of age or older. There are also restrictions against using the data provided to screen potential employees.

Law Enforcement


Local, state, and federal law enforcement officers can access criminal records on any person. These records can be accessed through computer networks at their place of work. Members of any law enforcement agency may refer to a person’s criminal record to determine if they are a viable suspect for a specific offense or to identify known associates they have committed crimes with previously. They may also run a criminal record check if there has been an altercation. A person’s criminal history record and the record of their arrests can help police determine whether or not a party involved has a parole violation or other outstanding legal issue that needs to be addressed.

Restricting Access


You may be able to take steps to make your criminal record private. There are both civil and legal matters that may be sealed. For example, adoption records are sealed. Young offenders may be able to apply to have their records sealed or expunged. Adults can also apply to have criminal convictions sealed. States restrict which convictions are eligible to be sealed or expunged.

A murder case may be sealed to protect the identity of witnesses. Sex offender convictions are not sealed or expunged. A judge may determine that the record of a student who stole a statue as part of a college prank could be expunged, however. Law enforcement can still access sealed records, but they cannot obtain information about convictions that are expunged.

The Benefit of Public Records


Your criminal record can be accessed by any adult. This does have some potential benefits. Rumors often spread widely. Your criminal record may clarify details in your case that protect your reputation. For example, you may have been arrested for protesting military actions ordered by the government. Individuals who hear you have been arrested may think that you are prone to criminal behavior.

Learning that you were arrested for a political protest can clarify that you are a law-abiding citizen who took a stand for what you believe in. You may also have a criminal record due to minor driving offenses or youthful pranks. Your criminal record can also establish that your criminal conduct is in your past and demonstrate that you have been rehabilitated.

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