If the police suspect that someone has committed a crime then they will arrest them. They create an arrest record after the arrest of the individual. Arrest records normally include details of the individual and the crime they suspect the person committed.
You need to understand that an arrest record is not the same as a criminal record. The police will arrest someone and create a record because they suspect a person has broken the law. This does not mean that they have. A lot of people arrested go free afterwards. Only the courts can prove that a person is guilty of a crime.
An arrest record is likely to contain information such as:
- The full name of the person arrested
- What crime the police suspect them of
- Where the incident occurred
- The date and time of the incident
- Category of the charge
- A unique case number
- Type of case
Why are Arrest Records so Important?
Arrest records are a valuable source of information for law enforcement agencies and the government. They can also provide individuals with key information as well which we will talk about later on.
You can form a picture of specific individuals through arrest records. While there are some cases of wrongful arrest it is fair to say that most arrest records lead to a court appearance. When bringing a suspect in for questioning the police will look at their arrest record. They will make a judgment about the individual based on this.
Governments create statistics about the category of crimes in arrest warrants. They want to see if there is a trend developing for a particular crime category so that they can work with law enforcement and take the appropriate action.
Law enforcement agencies state that arrest records are vital in assisting their investigations. They need to know what kind of background a suspect has so that they can narrow down a list of suspects. Without the information in previous arrest records the police would have to arrest anyone that could be a potential suspect.
Law enforcement use many tools when solving crimes. Arrest records are an important part of that toolkit. It is essential that law enforcement officers use arrest records properly and use the right amount of discretion.
It can be very tempting to go along with the “no smoke without fire” concept. If an individual has arrest records but no convictions then he or she must be guilty of some of them. There is nothing wrong with an arrest record pointing an officer of the law in a certain direction but they need to avoid prejudgment.
Why should you care about Arrest Records?
For the same reason that law enforcement officers can make a judgment about an individual by looking at their arrest records so can you. There could be a number of different situations where you have met someone new and you need to find out more about them.
When you meet someone for the first time they are not going to tell you if they have arrest records. Having an arrest record is nothing to be proud of even if no prosecution followed. For some reason the police suspected you of breaking the law.
A lot of people are using online dating websites these days. This is not surprising as it opens up a whole new world of opportunity. It is very unlikely that someone you meet through an online dating website you would have met in real life.
The problem with online dating is that not all of the dating profiles are accurate. If a person has arrest records they are hardly likely to make that fact known to you. It is not usually high on a person’s list when they are looking for a new relationship.
If a person has an arrest record it does not mean that they are a bad person or a danger to you. The police arrest some people for minor issues. They can also wrongfully arrest people. The important thing here is that you know whether a person has arrest records and what they were for.
There are many other life situations where arrest records can help you to make important decisions. If your children have made friends with other kids from a family you don’t completely trust then check to see if the parents have arrest records.
If you are trying to track down a long lost family member then when you find out where they are look to see if they have arrest records. You may not want to meet with this member of your family if you feel that they are a possible risk to you.
What about people selling items online? Unfortunately a lot of people hide behind the Internet and cannot be trusted. If you have their name you can search for any arrest records for fraud and other related crimes.
How can you access Arrest Records?
Most arrest records are available to the public but there are exceptions such as investigation cases that are pending. The laws on the public use of arrest records vary between states. In some states you will find there is a restriction on some information. You may also find that certain arrest records are not public such as those without convictions.
You can go to the courthouse in the jurisdiction and ask to see an individual’s records. Sometimes the sheriff’s office hold arrest records as well. In some cases you have to pay to view arrest records.
The easiest way to view Arrest Records
If you want to check on the arrest records for people in the United States then the easiest way to do this is using an online background check service. A good service will have access to arrest records all over the country.