How To Look Up Criminal Charges Records In The US

Can you look for the criminal records to know if someone has a criminal record in the past? And if the answer to the question is yes, then you must be curious to know how?

How to look up criminal charges to find out about the criminal history of a person? Some of the criminal records are open for the public to conduct a background check for a criminal person. Law enforcement agencies around the country tend to gather a huge number of records during the course of any criminal case. These records include:

  • Incident and arrest reports (that are generally not easy to access publicly)
  • Arrest logs and incident responses (generally accessible to the public)
  • Office reports including search warrants and medical reports (accessible to the public)
  • Crime scene and evidence details (not usually accessible)

For the record that is available online, one cannot totally rely on it, as the police, the law enforcement agencies, are directed not to put every record online. This article provides you with further information about the criminal records that are publicly available.

Police reports

Usually, when police start an investigation after a crime is reported, they do not charge the criminal with the crime. Actually, charges can be implied only by the prosecutors. Additionally, a criminal case can only be opened for the person when he is charged by the prosecution. The Police records, including investigation reports and arrest reports are not part of the case proceedings, and are not submitted in the court. Therefore, the Police records are not accessible for private citizens. They can’t access these records even online.

Sealed records

The court proceedings of the criminal cases are assumed to be public, because court is responsible to provide the justice to the plaintiffs, and proceedings conducted publicly, allow media and the people to know about the court’s proceedings and report them with justice. Likewise, most of the criminal process reports that are available online, are accessible, other than the sealed records.

When the conviction has been made by the court, the court calls for an exception to the records for public access. Oftentimes, states allow the criminals to make motions as if they want to seal the convictions or the court records, or not. The rules for sealing the criminal records vary from state to state.

Record holders

The FBI, criminal records offices, and state courts are responsible to keep and manage the database of the crimes and the criminal records gathered from different resources. However, these records can only be accessed by the government personnel (law enforcement employees and the prosecutors). But partial access can be given to the business communities to conduct the background check for the employees before hiring them. This practice in the corporate sector is quite time-consuming.

Government records

A criminal history can also be viewed through the state criminal record office or the local courthouse in your state. The records that are easily accessible to public may contain some important information, including, the defendant’s name, attorneys and the jury involved in the hearing, conviction list, evidence and witnesses provided, hearing dates, offenses, sentencing, fines, or fee. The information that is considered private – and is not usually available online – includes social security numbers, sensitive data, protected health information, and medical history.

Private search companies

When you search online, it’s necessary to land on an authentic website that gives an accurate database for criminal records. During your online search, you may find many private companies that claim to provide you the information, you wanted without charging any fee for the search. You may need to go through the review sections to find out the reliability of these websites.

Furthermore, these private websites may compel you to download multiple files – to access the information you want – that may end up in a malicious attack. If some private companies give you the government provided data, then it might not be updated with the recent court orders, or the recent convictions.


If you are searching for a background check for a person online, you should be aware of the fact that the data can be amended, and can be inaccurate aforementioned that the private companies do not update the criminal record database. To know about the verified and recent criminal history of someone online, try putting the accurate credentials on the search bar or visit the local officer’s desk in your state.

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