Criminal Records Watch


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Common Methods for Obtaining Public Criminal Records and the Truth behind Most Records Search Engines

In order to cut through most of the filler and muck that many how-to articles present for searching through public records, We’ll state the current best resource for searching through federal public criminal records:

So, if you know the individual’s name and a few other details, and they were convicted of a federal charge (at the federal court level - district, appellate, to SCOTUS) this website will conveniently direct you to the particulars of the charge, arrest, etc. Of course, it will also omit necessary confidential material in order of continual privacy for the individual, judiciary, and law-enforcement.

Convoluted Recording System:

However, the public criminal records system in the United States is a strange and confusing entity. Often a search through the website will not yield results for some federal offenders, turning into a missed opportunity and a responding charge of .08/pg. after the initial 'free searches’. Even then, when you fail to find the record in question, turning back to the search engine and its many promises, you’ll encounter a plethora of spam-ridden, falsified public record search engines. The best advice we can give is this: STAY AWAY from these websites, seriously. They’re built to prey on new Internet users that seek to get quick unlimited access for the documents, all the while hoodwinking the customers into signing up for services that don’t work.

 Alarmingly, what the websites fail to declare is that most state-tried, or local criminal records are under privacy obligation. And further, depend on a three-tiered state court system for record keeping, ensuring most of these websites don’t have access whatsoever to these databases at the local level. In some jurisdictions they’re still primarily kept in physical format! Don’t worry; there are genuine public criminal record search sites that are run by state governments and maintained through merit.

These are available at the inclusive of all local, state, and district judiciaries. It offers the most comprehensive and true listing of the state courts.

There, you will find all necessary probate, local, traffic, and subsequent courts listed as a directory with multiple back links to confuse you. To combat the overwhelming information, simply scroll through to find your state and then click on the court to which handled the case from the many jurisdictions. When you get to this point, you must scroll to the bottom or to the 'Contact Page’ and find the directory in order to reach the clerk in charge of record keeping by way of telephone or email. However, you’ll still need the full legal name of the individual and the case/docket number. Again, there are online directories mentioned above, so that you don’t have to make the trip to the courthouse. If these measure fail then…


Physical (Manual) Procurement of Public Criminal Records:

We left the final section to discuss the method of obtaining physical, public criminal records, due to the time constraint it creates and reciprocal effort involved. We state this in order to let you know of the difficulty involved with using the physical process, laboring through the tepid stairways of bureaucracy, just to get a copy of a criminal record. You’ll meet a painstakingly slow process, so if you really need the physical records and don’t wish it to be faxed or sent by mail, these are the steps you must take. Try not to fall asleep in the waiting room though.

-First (at the local/county level), you’ve to know the name, birth date, and docket number for the case before you march upon the courthouse. Though, if you don’t, there is a way to bypass this route by checking through your local police department. If you truly need the information, you can try to submit a FOIA request, although this will incur a fee as well as provide increased notice of your search. Many law-enforcement agencies pride themselves on their privacy and retention of data; therefore it will be hard to convince them of this. If the case was moved to a higher court, you must quit your search here and advance to the next tier. If you’re asking for your own public criminal records, this will be fairly easy.

-Second, most state courthouse records departments require a fee for using their services, ranging from $10 in some states, to a burdensome $45 price tag. This still has roadblocks to prevent you from accessing the information, in addition to requiring the same statute of limitations for privacy rights and acquisition. If the clerk at the local courthouse won’t help, you’ll have to advance to the district court’s record department.

 At this point, the process will be increasingly challenging, requiring evidence that you have the individual’s written consent before accessing the documents. If you don’t, you might as well give up and head back online. There is a reason why the state government oversees the records of individuals for minor crimes. We, for one, are thankful that a minor criminal act won’t factor into a prejudicial decision by means of privacy breaching.

-Third: you’ve basically exhausted all routes for obtaining the public criminal record you were hoping for, except for a direct appeal to the State’s Supreme Court or the Appellate Court. This will require paying a notary/lawyer to draft documents requiring the release of the physical criminal records. Of course, once again, if you’re searching for your own criminal records or deceased family member’s, return to the first step.

If at the end of this step you haven’t received the criminal records, your search must stop. You will not be able to acquire the documents without some form of express consent from a governmental body.

For the federal level, the best method to search for public criminal records is still by utilizing If you have to get the documents in physical form, you must submit a request with the case number and individual in question to one of the many physical records centers.

 There are locations spanning from California, Arizona, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia, DC, and Maryland. All ready for you to use. Don’t hesitate to find the public criminal records you need. We can only hope these resources helped. Please remember that it is illegal for an individual to access public records at the state level (for most states) without the explicit consent of the individual in question.

An Instant Criminal Background Check for Fast Decision Making

August 2, 2015

Background Report

We tend to think an instant criminal background check is not possible, that such a check requires days of investigation, searches on records across the country, that if a person has never been checked for a criminal history, days will be required to compile the information. In fact, an instant criminal background check on anyone is at your fingertips.

Private criminal records reporting agencies on the Internet have already compiled criminal records for anyone who has a criminal past, and these agencies are ready to provide you with all they have on anyone with a criminal background. All you need to do is ask.

Criminal records, including arrests, are public records kept at local, state, and federal levels. Being public, these records can be accessed and copied by anyone. In order to compile a criminal history on anyone, you would have to either check all local, state, and federal criminal records repositories, or know the person's residence history and just check each locale and state criminal records repositories where that person resided. In either case, doing it yourself would take considerable time and money. Fortunately, you don't have to do it yourself these days. Private sector criminal records reporting agencies have done all the research for you. These organizations gather criminal records throughout the country and store them in databases that can be accessed using such keys as first, middle, and last name, social security number, and even reverse-address lookups. They continually maintain these databases, updating them as new crimes are recorded for any individual. Providing such an agency with one of those keys will get you an instant criminal background check on anybody.

If you commit a crime in this country, there's going to be a record of it and it’s going to stick with you. Prior to 1998, reporting agencies were required to remove a report of criminal conviction if the conviction was older than 7 years old. This was required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1972. In 1998, the requirement was dropped so that criminal convictions or arrests of whatever age may be reported. This means that the criminal background check is going to be thorough.

An instant criminal background check is useful when you have a short time to make a decision about putting someone into or allowing a position that requires trustworthiness. For instance, the babysitter that a family relied on suddenly gets sick just when the parents were about to go on a weekend out of town. The unavailable babysitter recommends a substitute. The parents are familiar with the substitute, but know very little about she or he. They may have local references, but haven't been in town long. Their children are too valuable to them to take any chances. Using the Internet, they can locate a reporting agency and get an instant criminal background check on the substitute before they make their final decision.

When it comes to the security of your property, the property of your business, the security of your family, employees, and customers, when it comes to your own security, don't confer trust blindly. Do a criminal background check and trust in confidence. Then you will have a reliable basis to which you can feel rest assured.