You might be wondering, “do I have a criminal record?” Everyone has a right to know if they have a criminal record and be able to see it. This article aims to share with you all you need to know about criminal records, including what they are, what they include, how to access them, and who else can see them.
What Is a Criminal Record?
Also known as a rap sheet, a criminal record is a compilation of all your criminal arrests and convictions. We should state that there is no such thing as a national or global criminal record. Your record is kept in different local, state, and federal systems, depending on factors such as:
- The court where you were tried
- The arresting police
- The severity of your offense
What’s Included in a Criminal Record?
The information your criminal record has varies from state to state and county to county. The local law enforcement agencies are responsible for maintaining criminal records. Though each of them set their own rules that determine what to include, there are some similarities, such as your name, date of birth, height, weight, and known aliases.
Certain criminal records only include your convictions, detailing the court and date of conviction, whether the charge was a misdemeanor or felony, and the sentence. Other records might also contain your arrest records.
How To Check Your Own Criminal Record
Now that you know you can access your criminal record, your next question is probably, “how do I check my own criminal record?” or even, “how do I check if I have a criminal record?” There are different ways you can get your criminal record. The best way to get the most accurate information is to request a copy from the FBI, the state police, or the public safety office. Often, these agencies will need you to provide them with your fingerprints to process the request.
The other way to access your criminal record is by asking for a copy from your local police department. You should be cautious when using this method, though, because the record only includes information on local arrests and convictions.
Who Else Can Get Your Criminal Record?
Government agencies have unlimited access to your record and can access it without your consent. If you have been charged with a crime, your criminal defense attorney is another person who can access your record and may examine it.
Organizations such as schools and employers can also see your criminal record. They might need your consent, however, before they can obtain a copy. Also, depending on the state, there are certain limits on the information employers can request or access.
Who can see your criminal record greatly depends on the reason they want to see it. Usually, someone might check your record when you are:
- Applying for school or a job
- Entering the military
- Buying a gun
- Adopting a child
- Getting a business or professional license
- Registering to vote
- Signing a lease
Your criminal record might also be accessed for international travel, naturalization, immigration, or security clearance.
Getting Legal Assistance
Having a criminal record can make it challenging to rent an apartment, get a job, or get a professional license. You can, however, erase or correct your record through the help of a criminal defense lawyer.
Contact Matthew Leyba by dialing 206-258-603 for a free consultation on the steps you can take.