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Arrest Records: How to Find Public Arrest Records Online

Arrest Records: How to Find Public Arrest Records Online
September 11, 2022

Most individuals with arrest records often want to keep that part of their lives hidden. While this is quite understandable, you also have a right to know before entering into partnerships with them. In most of the US, arrest records are considered public records, which means members of the public can access such records.

An arrest record is created by law enforcement agencies, and this is done immediately after an individual has been arrested. The record helps the enforcement officers to have the necessary details about the suspect.

How to Find Arrest Records Online?

In compliance with criminal laws and information acts of the United States, arrest records fall under the category of public records that are made available to everyone. Although these records are made available to the public, it often requires some form of processing and visiting different law enforcement offices before gaining access. 

a man being fingerprinted

However, in this modern era, you do not have to go to the court or police station. You can quickly gain access to arrest records via online portals. Here are the two most important ways of obtaining arrest records online:

Online public records

Almost all law enforcement agencies have an online presence that allows public members to access information at their fingertips and in record time. 


The information about arrest record is often made available state by state, and the requirement for each state often differs. You can request arrest records through the government webpage by following the stipulated instructions on the website.

Even though arrest records are public records, they are still subjected to state laws that handle who can view arrest records and how they can be accessed. Some state laws are stricter than others, especially when it concerns juveniles.

a man being arrested and handcuffed

Third-party websites

Aside from checking for arrest records on government webpages, specialized third-party websites can provide you with the needed information. 


The advantage of using these websites, aside from the speed of getting the information, is that it also allows you to access multiple databases. For example, third-party search websites have access to large databases across different states, saving you the time to search various state records.

Most of these search websites require you to pay a small fee or have a monthly subscription before you get the entire arrest record you need. Numerous third-party websites offer this service, although you need to know you are using credible ones.

a man's finger on a 3D illustration of a search bar

What is Contained in an Arrest Record?

When an arrest is made, certain information is collected to correctly identify a suspect after arrest, which is provided in the arrest record. A typical arrest record contains the following:

Name: The arrest record usually has the suspect's full name: first name and last name. In some cases, the middle name is also made available to minimize the confusion of people with similar first and last names.

Charge or offense: This is the valuable primary information in the arrest record. It details the incidence of the arrest, especially a description of the charge or offense. This allows the public to know why such an individual was arrested. You can also see the category of the committed charge or offense. 

Date of arrest: In addition to the information about the type of offense committed. You can also know when the crime was committed in recent times or a long time ago. Having such information can help you make a clear decision about dealing with such an individual.


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Location of crime: The site where the crime or offense took place is also essential and is part of the information provided in the arrest record. When an individual has left the state where the crime was committed, you can still know about their past life through the arrest record.

Arrest record source: In most cases, because of the sensitivity or grievousness of the crime, some information might be redacted from an arrest record or not made readily available to the public. 


Although most arrest records contain the source of information supplied, which allows you to find out more information about the arrest if need be. The city or local court is the usual source for finding more information.

Regulations Guiding Arrest Records

The Freedom of Information Act of 1967 allows free access to public records, although this comes with some exceptions. Most times, only basic information is made available to the public, and only court personnel and law enforcement officers have access to the whole record. 


In addition, there are situations whereby an arrest record is sealed or expunged, making it no longer available for public view.


Arrest records are valuable information for the public to have and be able to know people with such records. This helps people verify information about strangers or prospective business partners. These records can be obtained online through law enforcement or third-party websites. 

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