What Are Criminal Records And Where To Browse U.S. State Prisons And County Jails Felony Files Rosters? Inmate Locator Finder (Search Database Registry Logs And Lookup Online Public Files)

crininal recordsDocuments required as identity and conduct verifiers are always necessary for various purposes. Criminal records are among these vital documentations often asked from people and checked by several authorities.


A criminal record is defined as the record of criminal offenses a person incurred in the past. This record is usually used as indicator if a person can be trusted or not depending on the types of offenses listed. Recorded cases include active and inactive cases in between jurisdictions.


Checking criminal record is important for various sectors. This document serves as backing document for traveling, employment, civil procedures, and dealing with other legal matters.

A person looking for employment may be checked for criminal records, which employers use as essential criteria whether to hire the applicant or not. Every employer is entitled to having this record. Companies want to avoid hiring convicted felons as precautionary measure.

Civil procedures like adoption, school application, and others also require this document. Legal and academic authorities want to make sure they will grant rights to trustworthy people.

Common categories

There are three major categories for offenses: traffic, misdemeanors and felonies. Traffic violations caused by being under the influence and resulted to death or serious injuries are among the common charges many people incur.

Misdemeanor cases are a collection of minor criminal offenses like theft, assault, sexual harassment, and others. Usually, individuals with such charges spend jail time, settle fines in varying amounts, and be on probation with community service.

Felonies are regarded as the most serious groups of cases. People with these charges may spend a year of jail time at the most or punishable with life sentence.

Legal counsels check these records to see if they are admissible to trial. Some cases may be relevant that introducing them in trials is possible.

Covered areas

This record lists down all the criminal offenses reported by several jurisdiction. Details will be listed as offenses recorded countywide or statewide. Federal law criminal violations are also listed. Hence, obtaining this record include a broad set of data verified in databases.


Expungement is the process of sealing criminal records, which allows people with criminal offenses to start on a clean slate. Rules on expungements vary across states, but most states will allow people not to divulge their past criminal offenses after sealing. Hence, a person can say that he was not convicted as long as his record is expunged.

Nevertheless, expungement is only applicable to several cases as per specific jurisdiction’s regulations. As an example, some jurisdictions may allow expungements for misdemeanor cases, but not for serious offenses. Furthermore, it can only be done with the help of a lawyer.

Overall, criminal records compile the number of criminal offenses a person had under his name. Due to its importance, many individuals need to get a copy of this document as part of document processing for numerous sectors. Fortunately, obtaining records is made easy while people with records have an opportunity to clear their name through expungement.

Criminal Records Database Lookup

public records filesThe Background Searcher database service currently holds one of the largest federal/non-federal prison and county jail department of corrections criminal records system in the United States of America.

The Background Searcher service will enable you to access all the inquired criminal records information with fast, responsive and dedicated search results. More importantly, these criminal records can be discreetly accessed 24/7 from the comfort of your own home!

No need to drive to the local County Sheriff’s Office!

To access any criminal record, please CLICK HERE to enter the information in the box located on that page. The inmate’s first and last names are needed to obtain a search result. Other information such as the state, approximate age, middle initial and city are not obligated but if entered, will increase the accuracy of the results.

These criminal records includes:

Arrests & Warrants
DUI & DWI Records
Driving Infractions
Police Records
Jail Records

Sex Offences
Known Aliases
Phone Numbers
Address History
Friends & Associates

With more than 3 000,000,000 criminal records and counting in the nationwide database, the Background Searcher database will surely guarantee the information which you are seeking!

Nonetheless, the Background Searcher service was not only designed to search inmates’ criminal records!

The Background Searcher service additionally enables you to access personal information on any individual by utilizing the nationwide public records database!

These individuals can be your neighbor, teacher, dentist, police officer, friend, first date, family member, employee hence anybody who legally lives in the United States of America!

The Background Searcher database presently holds more than 5 billion nationwide public records which ranges from:

Address History
Death Index
Relatives and Associates
Property Records
Reverse Phone Search
Alias and Date of Birth
Unclaimed Money
Social Security Number (SSN)
Marriage Records
Divorce Records
Reverse License Plate
Tax Records
and much more…

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public recordsThe Definition Of The Other Records

County, State And Nationwide Records

Before giving the definition of county, state and nationwide records, it is first important to describe a county, a state and a nation. A county belongs to a state. It offers local government services like assessment of properties, keeping of property and public records and vital statistics, administration of judicial responsibilities, road management and election. But recently, counties have been taking more responsibilities like management of food and water quality, child welfare and employment. Each county has a budget that comes from the federal government and generated taxes within its jurisdiction. Under a county belong districts, towns, villages and municipalities. In the USA, there are currently 3,069 counties. The size in surface area and the number of residents living in a county vary. The population of the Los Angeles county reaches 9.8 million.

A state is a territory organized with other states under one government. It imposes its own taxes and has its own military unit. It has its own extensive sets of law and economic duties. A state has its own sovereignty and control over its boundaries. States can even wage war with other states. It has its own executive, legislative and judiciary institutions therefore it has a legal political identity. The US has 50 states.

A nation is a group of people sharing the same identity, culture, language within a boundary. For example, the United Kingdom is composed of 4 nations: the English, the Irish, Scots and Welsh. However, because of migration, the concept of national identity is threatened. The word “country” delineates the physical boundaries of a nation

What are County, State and Nationwide Records

County, state and nationwide records are all public records, but they require verification and proper identification to be accessed. County records are more thorough, meaning each record goes down to a person. They are comprised of many records such as vital records namely marriage and divorce records, death and birth records, real estate and property records like mortgages, tax records and civil records. From county records, one can conduct statistics on employment, population and age of population. The county records are housed in the county recorder’s office and county clerk’s office. They are kept as paper files, microfilms and digital files in a picture format or PDF. Vital records can be found in the department of public health. The name varies in each state. County records can be requested via mail, email or in person. A representative would need a signed authorization letter of the person involved in the records unless he or she is deceased.

State records have a more extensive function. They provide records for the government and keep archive collections. State records also encompass vital records, but claiming theme would require you to go to the county where the record is kept. Court records, shipping and immigration records are kept in the state records.

Nationwide records contain records similar to the county and state level but are grouped on a national level. Such records would be useful, if, for example, someone has a criminal record in one state and is migrating to another state. The company will do a national criminal records search for the crime to be identified.

Death and Birth Records

Death and birth records are classified as vital records. Vital records are documents pertaining to the legal life events of a person or business. For an individual, vital records include birth, death, marriage, civil union and divorce certificates. Application and acquisition of a copy vary from state to state and from county to county and always accompany a certain fee. Waiting time range from a few weeks to almost 6 months depending on the record requested. Requesting for a copy of birth and death records is limited to involved individuals and authorized persons. Special cases are applicable to attorneys who need to use death and birth records in legal procedures.

What are death and birth records?

Birth records are documents that contain information about an individual’s full name, nationality, birth place (including the hospital), time (date and exact time), parents (including their full name, nationality, age, present occupation, address and religion), number of siblings and basic vital characteristics such as weight, birth marks, disease, gender and blood type. Originally birth records are kept by the church but since the 1850’s, people and parents are obliged to register births to the government. It is the responsibility of the physician, hospital administrator and parents to ensure proper issuance of birth certificates. Documentation of births is important for statistics, manpower and taxation purposes.

Application and acquisition can be done in person, by phone and online. Ordering one requires a fee that depends on the state. Failure of the statistics office to search would result to an issuance of a certification stating that the birth certificate wasn’t found without a refund of the fee. Birth records for adopted individuals may be more complicated. In some states, a Certificate of Foreign Birth and a Certificate of Citizenship is required if the adoptee’s original birth certificate states another nationality. Only after submission of these two certificates could the adoptee have a new birth certificate with a new name carrying the parents’ surname. Birth records do not belong to public records, meaning access to them is very limited.

Death records include death certificates and funeral home records. They are legal documents stating the person’s time, place and cause of death. Other information may include the name and location of the funeral home, the deceased children or kin, occupation, civil status, age and address. In most states, it is required that the body undergoes a physician or coroner’s examination to validate the cause of death. This is crucial especially if the deceased has a will or a life insurance. Murder and foul play would invalidate his or her successor’s claim. Death certificates are duly issued by the attending physician then the funeral director. The documents are then submitted to the town clerk. Death certificates for fetal deaths and abortions are used mainly for statistical purposes (i.e. the main cause of death) and are destroyed after 5 years according to the law. Like birth records, death records don’t belong to public records. Public records are open to anyone’s access provided the completion of certain identification and authorization.

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Genealogy Records

Genealogy records may be used to trace down ancestry. Recently there has been websites that can trace down a person’s genealogy record based on available public records in the US. Genealogy records can only reach so far into history as long as there are valid written documentations. Without them, conclusions would be hazy.

What are Genealogy Records?

Vital records such as birth, marriage, death certificates and other records such as property and civil records are included to document genealogy. Genealogy records may be helpful in determining persistent disease in the family, race of family members, and occupation of ancestors. They may also include settlements and real estate properties.

To help with mapping relations with the past generations, most libraries have compiled and digitized newspapers and legal materials in the 19th century and offer free access to these. High definition digitized copies of old maps of US cities can also be downloaded from the New York Public Library and even overlaid over new maps for comparison. These maps are dated as early as 1500’s up to the 1800’s and are available for free with no copyright restrictions. Maps of New York neighborhood from 1660 to 1922 can also be viewed and downloaded and users can search the ancestor’s address and the website would convert it to the modern address. The New York City Municipal Archive has partnered with Ancestry.com that indexes 10 million birth, death and marriage certificates in New York.

Information and list of names about the US Marine Corps, volunteers and casualties during World War I and World War II are also available in public libraries and on Familysearch.org for free. This way, anyone can determine the occupation and residence of the person being searched. Nebraska, for example, has allowed Familysearch.org to put up a list of the Nebraska census in the year 1885. The Troy Irish Genealogical Society has collected interment records in St. Mary’s Cemetery from 1952 to 1970. Pennsylvania has an index from 1850 to 1880 of all census in the state.

Recently the website Genealogy Trails has almost completed as of March 2014, a list of pension soldiers in the Union. However, due to the Civil War, some census and vital records were destroyed by fire. Genealogy records can also be acquired in the form of taxation documents primarily on real estate. Texas, for example, has indexed list of property information from 1846 to 1910 including land owner’s name, number of acres of land, name of the original grantee plot description and value of land at that time.

Marriage and birth certificates older than 50 years old are automatically listed as public records. Public records are compilation of documents that can be accessed by the public, provided that he or she has the adequate information on hand and in cases of certificates and records less than 50 years old from issuance, signed and notarized authorization letter from the persons mentioned in the certificate. The authorization letter should state explicitly the name of the representative and his or her valid identification forms such as IDs or birth certificates.

Marriage and Divorce Records

Before, marriage records do not exist. A mere declaration from the man and woman involved was enough to serve as a proof that they were married, even with the lack of witnesses or documents. This was enough for the Catholic Church to list them as legally married. Since the 17th Century in North America, marriage licenses and certification became widely available and required to halt illegal marriages, polygamy and bigamy which are otherwise illegal. It’s hard to testify and prove anything that doesn’t have a documented proof. Depending on each state, the process of acquiring marriage and divorce records may vary.

What are Marriage and Divorce Records?

Marriage and divorce records are public records but they require a written or thorough request if you plan to acquire a copy. However, if you are neither the wife nor the husband, acquisition of marriage and divorce records requires an original copy of a signed and in some states, notarized written authorization from either spouse that includes the representative’s name as indicated by his or her proper ID cards or certificates. If you wish to obtain a copy, there are corresponding fees on either of these public records. Marriage records older than 50 years are open to public access.

Marriage Records

Marriage licenses and marriage certificates are the most common marriage records. These public records are almost always confused with one another. Marriage license is the first document that a couple should get before they can get married. A word of caution: applying for a marriage license does not legally state you as married. A marriage license is simply a document issued by the county clerk upon application and submission of required documents that allows the couple to marry in that county. Some states even require a blood test. Acquisition of a marriage license therefore varies from county to county and most churches require a marriage license before allowing a couple to be wed. After the wedding ceremony, the marriage license is forwarded to the clerk of the court for filing.

A marriage certificate is a legal document in that certifies that the couple is married. It is the actual proof that a couple is married. In some states, at least 2 witnesses are required to sign the marriage certificate. Acquisition of marriage certificates and licenses require a non-refundable fee that would be used for printing and researching databases.

Divorce Records

Divorce records are one of the official public records that are essential for protecting human rights. Divorce laws may be different in every state. They can be accessed from the state’s Vital Records. Official divorce records are kept in state Superior Courts. When the court or Vital Records Department failed to search the divorce record, a Certificate of No Record will be sent. If children and property are involved, there will be more paperwork and a lengthier procedure. Acquisition of a copy which can be done by telephone, mail or online requires the fee and legal identification means specified by the state otherwise the request may be rejected.

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Property Records and Civil Records

Property and civil records are two of the most vital documents an independent individual should have. Aside from the usual vital records such as birth, adoption, marriage, divorce and death certificates, property and civil records constitute much on the professional level. Acquisition of either may require a certain fee per copy depending on the state and county of the property and the person.

What are Property and Civil Records?

Property records are documents that state the ownership of a real estate. Because of their nature, they are classified as public records, meaning they can be accessed by anyone provided that he or she follow a prescribed procedure with the fulfillment of further required documents such as authorization letters. Special cases and requirements are applicable to attorneys which may use property records for legal procedures and when the owner of the property is deceased. Real estate includes a residential house and lot, an owned condominium unit, a piece of land, an office space and building and an apartment or flat. Property records are very crucial as they determine the past and present owners of a property and can help in settlement if precious resources like gold or oil are involved in the land.

Property records reflect the transfer of ownership by another party to another party. Transfer of ownership can be done through a sale, an inheritance or a gift. Depending on the state, the names of offices that keep property records on file vary. It may be the clerk of court or department of records. A deed is an example of a property record. A deed reflects the transfer and sale of land from one owner to another. Deeds are kept as public records and the former and new owner will be given a copy of the deed. If full payment is not possible, a mortgage is issued. This reflects the owner, the buyer, the full amount and the amount yet to be paid. A mortgage company, a bank or an individual can issue a mortgage. Unpaid taxes and violations against property and reflected in property records.

Civil records hold information about non-criminal suits, violations, marriages, divorce, child custody, employment, propensity for litigation and even failure to pay goods. Civil records are often accessed by potential employers that would like to know more about their potential employee. However, depending on the state, there are federal laws that limit the extent of information that can be accessed by or reported to an employer, although these belong to public records. Civil records are kept in file by County Courts in digital and paper files. County courts do not share records with other counties. Certain civil records can make their way at the federal level. Cases that violate federal laws and constitutional rights are kept in record at the federal level. Civil suits may be done against individuals, companies or government entities. Any case should bear a case number and a sequence number. Short summaries of civil records can be accessed online.

What are Address History Investigation records?

We all move around from place to place during our lifetime. It is difficult to keep track of how many places you have lived especially when you move frequently all over the place. You might be surprised to know that there are several places where you need to provide a history of your current and past addresses. For example, you might need the information when applying for a mortgage or when applying for a job. You might also need the information for more obscure reasons.

If you have forgotten your address history and want someone else to refresh your memory, you are not very lucky. Unfortunately there is no single database that has the address histories of people. However, you can recreate this information from several sources. You will be surprised by the number of people who keep records of your address history. Since you cannot get your address history from one place, you must get creative to retrieve your entire address history. Let’s now look at how you can recreate your address history.

Method 1: Get your credit report

Retrieve your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies i.e. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You can also access your annual report from the Federal Trade Commission through mail or online. Credit reports and the FTC report have very accurate details of your address history.

Method 2: Find past addresses online

There are many websites where you can search for your past addresses. Most of these sites will charge you a fee to give you your address history. Unfortunately this method is not very accurate because if you have a name that is very similar to other people, you might get records that are not yours. You should never provide personal information to any website unless you are sure that it is safe to do so and the website is trustworthy.

Method 3: From tax records

Regardless of whether you store your records on the Internet or in a filing cabinet in the basement, these records have your addresses. The IRS recommends that tax payers keep records between 3 to 7 years depending on their type of filing. If you cannot find your physical tax records, you can call the IRS and request tax transcripts which will have your past addresses and are provided absolutely free of charge. If you want even more detailed records, you can pay for a full copy of your tax records.

Method 4: Pay for a professional background check

This is the most reliable way for you to get your address history. A background search can be quite expensive but it will give you the most detailed information about your history. With this method, you can get information as old as your date of birth containing all your addresses in between.

Regardless of your reason for seeking your address history, you should keep several things in mind. For instance, you should get the most accurate details possible. If you are applying for a mortgage and the lender wants to know how long you stayed at your previous address, you should state the exact month and year you moved in and out of the house. The accuracy of the desired address history varies a lot depending on who is asking.

What Are Background Check Records?

Background investigation entails looking up background check records such as criminal records, financial records and commercial records of a person or an organization. These can be easily accessed online. With the increasing databases and technology, these are more convenient than ever.

In the past, to perform a background check, you need to do all the leg work on your own, or hire a private investigator to check on the public records. At present, with a simple point and click, you can access the information you need.

If it had been done thoroughly in the past, crimes and lawsuits could have been prevented. Since the internet was not available before, carrying out background checks on each and every individual you need to check was not viable. Because of this, some people end up relying on what others would say, only to find out that the persons were not at all as clean as they made themselves out to be.

Public records both criminal and civil have always been made available to the public. These records have never been centralized. They were kept at separate areas. At present, database companies are assigning mega resources to looking up, indexing and making available to the public, complete background checks from across the country.

With this latest easy to use, centralized format, there is no excuse anyone should not be able to find out the history of new individuals they allow in

Reasons for Conducting Background Check

These background checks are most of the time requested by employers to screen a candidate for the job, particularly on candidates vying for a position that needs high security like school, airport, hospital, government and financial institution. These background checks are carried out by a government agency for a fee, but can also be done by private organizations. Accessing public records can be expensive depending on the information requested. Outcomes of a background check normally include previous employment verification, criminal history and credit history.

These are usually used by employers as a way of judging a job candidate’s previous mistakes, fitness, character and to identify possible hiring risks for security and safety reasons. Checking a person’s public records are employed to investigate thoroughly potential government employees so a security clearance can be given. However, these may sometimes be used in illegal works, such as identity theft, violation of privacy and unlawful discrimination.

Checks are usually done to confirm information found on their curriculum vitae or employment application. A study showed that half of all background checks done on potential employees differed between what the applicant provided and what the source provided. They may also done as a way to differentiate potential employees and choose the one the employer thinks is best fitted for the slot. It is the employers obligation to ensure their work environment is safe for all employees and prevent any employment issues in the working area.

The Brady Bill in the United States requires criminal checks for those who wants to purchase handguns from authorized firearms dealers. Restrictive firearms, large quantities of precursor chemicals, suppresors, concealed weapons permits or explosives also require criminal checks.

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What are Bankruptcy Filings and Credit history Reports?

When you are barely surviving financially and can’t be able to repay debts, your only way out might be bankruptcy. Even though bankruptcy might sound like an easy way for you to discharge debts, the actual process is perilous. There are many scams and people waiting to take advantage of you at this distressing time. The legal procedures involved when filing for bankruptcy are confusing at best and that’s not all – you should expect to spend significantly to get legal help. In this article we shall take a look at bankruptcy filings and hopefully shed light on this often misunderstood topic.

Let’s start with the legal aspects of bankruptcy. There are six types (chapters) of bankruptcy set out in the bankruptcy code.

The first type is under chapter 7 where you sell all your business or personal assets to settle most of your debts. Before filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy you must pass a means test.

The second type of bankruptcy is municipal bankruptcy for cities which is under chapter 9.

Thirdly, chapter 11 bankruptcy has to do with businesses. In this type of bankruptcy, a company continues to function while making plans to repay debts. This process often involves reorganization of the business.

Under chapter 12, fishermen and family farmers can file for bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy is granted for limited cases but it provides better exceptions than chapter 13 bankruptcy and offers higher debt ceilings.

Fifth is chapter 13 bankruptcy which is for individuals who have a source of income. You must have enough income to repay debts and the debts must not exceed certain levels.

The last type of bankruptcy is for international cases and is under chapter 15. Chapter 7 and 13 are the most common types of consumer bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy

People file for this type of bankruptcy for many reasons. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is very common and is sometimes called ‘straight bankruptcy.’ As mentioned earlier, you must liquidate all your assets and pay as much of your debt as possible in this type of bankruptcy.

You must pass a means test to qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is an assessment by the court to confirm that you are not taking advantage of the system. If you pass this test, you are allowed to file for chapter seven. The test is a simple one: if your income is below the median state income, then you qualify. If it is above median state income, you can still qualify if your disposable income is below a certain level.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy

This is for people who want to keep some property. The bankruptcy allows people to pay their debts over a certain amount of time, usually between 3 and 5 years. It is for people with consistent income. If any debts are unpaid after the grace period, they are simply discharged.

Credit history reports

This is a report that has data pertaining to the status of your credit accounts and bill repayment history. It shows how often you make timely payments, how much you owe, your available credit, and how much debt you are getting into. It also shows if there is a debt collector collecting money that you owe. A credit history report helps lenders to decide if they will lend you any money.

What are Business and Owner inquiries records?

There are several resources available to people who want to find out about businesses and their ownership. In this article we shall mention some of the ways people can find out about businesses. The focus of this article is on small businesses because they are harder to find listed on the local chamber of commerce and industry. However, most of these methods can be used to find out about big companies as well. All businesses are registered under the state department but sometimes it can be hard to find out anything about them from there because people file incorporation papers using attorneys and agents. The names that appear on this paperwork are therefore not that of actual owners but the names of the attorneys or agents. Here are some ways of finding out about business ownership.

Call them: Unless circumstances prevent you from calling the business, the answers to your questions might be a phone call away. Look for the phone number of a business in telephone directory and call the company directly. You can also find the company’s phone number on search engines.

Check the company’s website: Most small businesses don’t have websites but if you are fortunate enough to find one, you should follow the “about” and “contact” links. These can help you to get information about people that answer your questions about a business.

Search the Better Business Bureau: The BBB has information about numerous companies including those that are not members. However, the main contact might not belong to the owner of a business. The information on the BBB website might also not be current.

Search for the business in the state’s database: As mentioned earlier, companies doing business in a state must be registered in the state. You should go through the state database to find the business by its name. You might find the owner information together with the information on the business but not all states list owner information.

Query business-oriented search engines: Some search engines and social networks target businesses. Searching these sites might give you information about the owner of a business you are investigating.

Call the local agency that licenses businesses: The local government office can be an important source of information about businesses. If you are unsure about the licensing authority for the state or city, you can find out by conducting an online search using terms like “(local) city business permits.”

Call the state regulatory agency that governs the industry in which the business operates: Most businesses must obtain a license regardless of the industry in which they operate. If you know the industry the business you are asking about belongs to, you can call the regulatory agency and ask about the owner of the business. You can also search for a database of inspection records, permits, or licenses.

Commercial databases: There are countless businesses operating in virtually all corners of the country and you can be sure that there is a commercial database that contains details the business you are asking for. You are usually required to purchase membership in some commercial databases in order to find out about businesses in their records. However, these databases are very comprehensive and chances of getting exactly what you want are very high.

What are Court Records?

Court records are recorded or written acts and judicial proceedings that are enrolled in parchment for a testimony and perpetual memorial. When a prosecutor charges an individual with a crime a criminal court case is generated. In cases that involves California law, an individual is formally charged with a crime by a county district lawyer in a county superior court. For federal cases, a U.S. Lawyer’s Office will file charges in a United States district court.

Criminal court records are considered as public records open to public inspection, unless a judge has granted the prosecutor’s motion or the defense lawyer request that some of the records remain confidential. Parts of documents filed in criminal court that contain important information concerning the individuals that could be edited out or redacted by a county clerk to keep the person’s safety or privacy protected. Other situations in which these records are not open to the public is when the charged individual is a juvenile.

Court proceedings vary from one state to another and between federal and state courts. But they have the same general characteristics. The records that are not considered as public records are not used as a guide to criminal or legal law. Court procedures are only described so reporters can understand what types of records are filed in court cases and when those records become available during the criminal proceedings.

Indexes to Criminal Court Records

Every criminal law court has a name index arranged alphabetically and can be considered as public records depending on the criminal cases filed against an individual in that court. It is a database at the criminal court clerk’s office.

Every case listed in the index will have the individual’s name, the date he case was filed, the criminal case number and sometimes it include the penal code section for the charge that was filed against the individual. If you want to get the actual criminal case file, you can copy the case number and present it to the court clerk.

Every court maintains its own index. There is no publicly available and free master index of all criminal cases you can look up to find all the cases filed against a particular individual in every court.

Thus, you need to go to each court separately – both U.S. district courts and county superior courts – to check its index of criminal cases and look for the court files there.

Where to Look

There are several ways to carry out a Court Record Search. Some are faster and easier, some may need patience and more time, some may require a small fee and some are for free.

Checking public records have become much simpler in recent years. A huge number of public files can be searched online, since most courts have their own websites. It makes access to court records to the public much easier. The courts and the County Clerk’s office,can give copies of most public records. These documents and records are most of the time obtained through the court’s website or upon the written request in person.

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What are Driving Records and License Plate records?

A driving record or motor vehicle record (MVR) is important especially for people employed in the transport business. People who do transport for a living must keep good driving records to retain their jobs. Insurance companies also use your driving record in order to determine your insurance premium when you are buying insurance. Your driving license could also be revoked if you have a very bad driving record. You must keep track of your driving record so as not to get into trouble with the authorities or employers.

A driving record has information about any incidences that you have been involved in on the road. How your driving record appears depends on your experience, traffic tickets (speeding), accidents, and training. Your risk level on the road is tied to how good or bad your driving record is. The driving record is maintained by the motor vehicle division of your state. There are five major categories you should expect in your driving record and they include the following:

• Within your driving records is your personal history information.

• The driving record also contains licensing information.

• It also has your accident/conviction history.

• Every time you get your driver’s license sanctioned it is recorded in your driving record.

• Your driving record should also have your motor vehicle accident history.

A driving record contains pertinent information regarding your driver’s license application. It also has information about the examination process of your driving license application. The driving record details the denial of your driving license, its issuance, suspension, revocation, and cancellation. It also has your performance history as a driver and actions taken against you for unsafe driving practices.

If your driving information has not yet been recorded in the Motor Vehicle Division database, your driving record will be appended a ‘history not on file’ notation. This notation is removed once your information is recorded in the system.

A driving record is compiled throughout your lifetime. The appearance of information in your driving record is affected by changes in data sources, computer systems, legislation, court cases, and judicial rulings.

Where to get your driving record

There are three places you can get your driving record. The first place is your local DMV. This is where you can get the most accurate driving record which includes everything in your driving history. You must present a valid driver’s license and usually have to pay a small fee.

You can also get your driving record online from third parties. This will cost you quite a lot more than you would pay at the local DMV and the information might not be so accurate. However, you will get the record quicker than any other place.

You can also get your driving record from your insurance company.

License plate records

When you buy a new car, you must register it at the local department of motor vehicles. There are several types of license plates you can choose from. First are the general issue license plates which are assigned by the DMV. These cannot be personalized in any way. Other types of license plates include: specialty license plates, replacement license plates, and souvenir license plates. The DMV keeps a record of all license plates issued in the state. The information regarding license plates such as the people who own them is not publicly available for security reasons.

What are Expungement and Legal Files Records?

Expungement means that a criminal record will be removed from the database. Another option of discretion is sealing the criminal record, putting it in a highly restricted access. However expungement does not totally wipe the record clean. Expungement will also be documented and reflected in expungement records. Sealed criminal records, although placed in a highly restricted access, may also deny the acknowledgement of arrests contained in the sealed record.

Among these cases include: admission to the bar (for lawyers and attorneys), a defendant in a criminal prosecution, a prospect to be employed in a criminal justice office, a person seeking employment in any health, educational, academic (school or university) or social and family services department and an individual who intends to buy a firearm from a licensed retailer and will therefore be subject to background check according to the federal law. This mean, that when the aforementioned conditions apply, the sealed and expunged documents will be duly presented. The conditions for expungement of criminal records are determined by the laws of the state.

Like any other document, expungement records are open to application. This will require a print out of the entire length of the applicant’s criminal case history as required by the state, in which the applicant was charged. Then the applicant should download or print out a Criminal Expungement Form. This can also be requested from the local county courthouse. If the individual was arrested but not charged and jailed, he or she has the right and choice to opt for the expungement of arrest records. Arrest records do not belong to court records however the law enforcement agencies keep a record of each arrest they make. Arrest records are considered one of the public records, and can be accessed immediately by employers and landlords. If a person wishes to have his arrest record expunged, he or she may write a request to the law enforcement authorities informing them that he or she has an arrest record. All proper information such as date, time and nature of arrest must be indicated in the letter and addressed properly. But special cases are applied for expungement of arrest records. He or she must not have been convicted and not just arrested of any crime or felony within 10 years before the said arrest. The prosecuting attorney should have dropped charges and the court must deny the nature of arrest as not an indictment. Expungement of crimes and arrest can be a sensitive process and the failure to follow the prescribed steps and required forms can result to the denial of expungement and the applicant would be required to start over again. Having a criminal or arrest record expunged allows the person to truthfully state that he or she has not been involved with any crime or arrest. This will serve to his or her advantage when seeking for an employment.

Take note however, that not all crimes are eligible for expungement. The list of crimes valid for expungement varies from state to state.

What are Government Legal Judgments and Police Records?

Legal judgment

It is the formal decision made by a court of law after hearing all the evidence presented during a lawsuit. Once a legal judgment has been made, the court might at its discretion issue court orders to determine what will happen to the defendant or plaintiff. For instance, a court might impose a sentence on a person if he/she has been found guilty in a criminal case. It might also provide a remedy to the plaintiff for a civil matter.

The legal judgment is the final order of business for federal and state courts and after the judgment is passed, the court needs not take further action. Usually, only final judgments can be appealed but there are some exceptions. Final judgments are not made in some legal systems (civil law) until all the avenues for appeal are exhausted.

There are several types of judgments including: consent decree, declaratory judgment, default judgment, summary judgment, and vacated judgment. A judge is not mandated to make an immediate judgment and he may retire to consider the case before passing judgment at a later time.

Police records

The work of the police is to investigate crimes and arrest perpetrators. However, it is not their job to charge suspects – that’s the work of prosecutors such as district attorneys. This clarification sets the stage for an important distinction – police records are not part of the court system and they are not open to the public like court records. There are numerous types of police records with the most prominent ones being arrest reports and incident reports. An arrest report provides details about an arrest that the police made. On the other hand, an incident or crime report details the responses made by the police after people call for police assistance.

Are they publicly available?

Although most police records are governed by public record laws at state level, many of them are exempt from disclosure. Police can give many reasons for not disclosing their records. For instance, they can claim that disclosure of certain records will undermine an ongoing investigation. Some may say that disclosing information will endanger somebody’s safety. Generally, the police have a lot of wiggle room available to them if they don’t want to disclose their records.

Various police departments handle requests for their records differently. Police frequently provide their records to people such as reporters but with any sensitive information edited out. Some provide most records while others don’t release any. Let us now look at some common police records.

Arrest warrants

Police obtain arrest warrants when they believe they have sufficient evidence to arrest a suspect. This document must be signed by a judge.

Arrest logs

The police keep a log of all arrests made. These logs have the names and addresses of the arrested persons and some information regarding the circumstances of their arrest.

Incident logs

They are logs of calls from citizens asking for assistance or reporting crimes. Incident logs are presumed to be public.

Search warrants

These also require written approval by a judge before they can be useful. The police cannot conduct searches on private properties unless they have search warrants or consent by the owner of the premises. Search warrants are court-related public records and have detailed information about the case being investigated.

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What are Lien Records and Debt Reports?

A lien is a notice, usually attached to property, which informs people that there is a creditor who has a claim on your property because you owe him/her some money. A lien is usually attached to a property when you use the property as security for a loan or debt of some kind. A lien is usually a public record and is usually filed at the county record office (for property) or state agency (for boats, cars, office equipment, and other such movable items). Real estate liens are preferred by most creditors because they make it easy for them to collect what they are owed eventually. Liens on other property such as motor vehicles are less common.

How lien affects property

Before you can sell or refinance property, your title must be clear. This means that you must have no lien attached to your car, house, or any other property you want to sell – otherwise your title will be unclear. In order to clear the title, you must pay off the creditor who has a claim on your property. A creditor has the right to sell off your property to collect his debt; however, creditors rarely do this for houses. This is because most houses have mortgages on them and if a creditor sells the house, he/she must keep up the mortgage payments or else lose the house to the bank. Instead of forcing the sale of a house, creditors usually wait for the house to be sold.

Types of liens

There are various types of liens that can be attached to property. The following are some brief descriptions of common types of liens.

Involuntary liens: These liens are attached to properties without the owner’s consent. The liens are imposed as a result of special tax assessments and unpaid taxes among other reasons. The owner does not need to take any action such as borrow money in order to cause this type of lien.

Lien judgments: When a home or property owner fails to pay a debt, his creditor might move to court and the court might order liens to be placed on the property. A common type of lien judgments is mechanic and contractor’s liens. This is when a mechanic or contractor works on a house and the owner of the house fails to pay for the services. The court can therefore grant the mechanic or contractor lien on the house.

Tax liens: As you would expect, when a person fails to pay taxes and owns a property, the government can place a lien on his property to recover unpaid taxes. It doesn’t matter which type of tax the property owner failed to pay – all taxes can cause tax liens to be attached to their property. Tax liens take precedence over any other types of lien including mortgages. Mortgage companies usually pay off the tax lien on the homeowner’s behalf to avoid losing the house to the government. This amount is then added to the homeowner’s mortgage.

Debt reports

A debt report is an account of all debts that a person has. A debt report is not to be confused with a credit report. This is because it is less formal than a credit report and it is not relied upon by banks and other lenders. It is also not used to calculate your credit score such as FICO score.

What are Missing People Records?

Missing people records contain people that have been reported missing by family, friends, colleagues, etc. The national database of missing persons is kept by the government in a system known as NamUs (National Missing and Unidentified Persons) system. This database was created with the intention of centralizing and strengthening missing and unidentified person cases. NamUs is a freely accessible online database which can be used by coroners, medical examiners, law enforcement officials, and every member of the public from any part of the country.

Virtually anybody can add a person in the missing persons database but the information is verified before it is entered into the NamUs database. Several resources are provided by NamUs including assistance with biometric collection and testing and the ability to print missing person posters. The system also gives people access to coroner offices, medical examiner offices, law enforcement agencies, links to state clearinghouses, victim assistance groups, and also relevant legislation.

Things you should know about missing persons reports

Contrary to what you have watched on crime and legal dramas, the process of filing missing reports is usually not as efficient in real life. When people get to the point of filing missing person reports, their tensions are high and they are therefore at risk of making errors and missing important details. TV does not give you all the details about filing missing person reports and some of the things you see don’t happen in real life. Following are some things you probably didn’t know about filing missing person reports.

There is no ‘grace’ period: TV shows have made most people to believe that there is a period of time (usually 72 hours) that one must wait before he can file a missing person report. However, in real life, there is no waiting period and you can report a missing adult or child as soon as you realize that he/she is missing.

Anyone can be missing: Missing person reports are not limited to any demographic. Hollywood likes it when children or some other vulnerable person goes missing but in real life, anybody can be classified as a missing person. If you have reason to believe that anybody needs medical, legal, or any other kind of help and you have no idea where they are, you are free to file a missing person report.

Bring the right information: When you are filing a missing person report, you must provide as many details as possible about the missing person. You should provide an exact description of the missing person including hair color, skin tone, eye color, build, approximate weight, height, scars, and any other identifying information. You should also tell what the missing person was last seen wearing. If a person has a medical condition, you should mention the medical attention that the person needs. This information can save the missing person’s life once he/she is found.

Know what to expect when the person is found: It is everyone’s hope that their missing persons are found quickly and in a healthy state. If a missing person shows up on their own, you should inform the police to call off the search. If the police find a missing adult and his/her disappearance was voluntary, the police cannot disclose the missing person’s location without their permission. The police might inform you that the person is safe but they can’t disclose their whereabouts without their consent.

What are National Land Line Phone and Reverse Cell Phone records?

For the sake of privacy of American citizens, keeping landline phone records is a hotly debated topic in the media. Currently, the National Security Administration is the only governmental agency that keeps significant amounts of land line phone records. The president said that the NSA keeps a vast archive of telephone call data. This data is collected in order to help the agency to intercept communications between suspected terrorists. The NSA keeps five years’ worth of all land line telephone call records in the U.S. However, a proposal by Obama seeks to stop the NSA from keeping such a massive archive of landline phone calls. If his proposal is adopted, the records will be kept by telephone providers for a period of 18 months which is the standard practice in the industry.

Several years ago, the NSA kept a record of all land line telephone calls but the rapid adoption of cell phones has affected its ability to collect the records. Currently the NSA only records 30% of phone calls because it has been unable to catch up with the rapid growth of cell phone use. In a 2013 study, 4 out of every 10 households in the U.S. now use cell phones only. The landline telephone might be dead just a few years to come. Cell phone records are harder to keep compared to landline records hence the NSA is at a loss if it wants to record all phone calls. The difficulty of recording cell phone calls and privacy concerns might have forced the administration to abandon the task of recording phone calls.

The keeping of such records always raises serious privacy concerns. Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the NSA exposed a very controversial surveillance program that was being carried out by the NSA. The NSA was carrying out massive surveillance on all citizens by recording telephone conversations. The agency had unrestricted access to all records and it could therefore be able to ‘spy’ on anybody without any legal repercussion. Obama said that the NSA will now only be allowed to search phone records kept by companies with specific court orders. In the past, the NSA could use a blanket court order to compel telephone companies to hand over their records.

How long do carriers store phone records?

Telephone companies keep detailed records of your call logs, text messages, and even web surfing records. Many people are unsure how long their carriers keep these records so let us consider some wireless carriers.

Verizon records your call logs and the cell towers used for a period of 12 months. They also keep details of text messages. The message content is retained between 3 and 5 days but the sender and recipient information is kept for one year.

AT&T has the highest retention duration for call records storing between 5 and 7 years’ worth of call records. They also retain sender and recipient information for text messages for 5-7 years but don’t keep actual message content for any duration.

Sprint keeps call records for 18-24 months. They don’t retain text message content but record sender and recipient information for up to 18 months.

T-Mobile keeps call records for five years. Text message details are kept for 5 years but they don’t keep message content.

Reverse cell phone records

When you have a cell phone number and want to know who it belongs to and his address, you can use reverse lookup services. They are operated by third party companies who collect the records from local phone companies. Numbers not listed in phone company records are not available but you can get the details of most phone numbers by using the various reverse lookup websites.

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What are Sex Offender and Online Predators records?

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) was established in 2006 to strengthen the existing legislation governing sex offenders. The Act was created to close loopholes that existed in previous laws and to harmonize nationwide sexual offender registration sub-systems. The main purpose of registering sex offenders is to enhance public safety by providing a system for tracking and monitoring offenders that have served jail terms and have been released into the community.

The United States Department of Justice maintains a record of all registered sex offenders and this record is publicly available on their website. Individual states have their sex offender registries but the DOJ goes a step further and combines all records from the 50 states, the principal U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and federally recognized Indian tribes. The sex offender registry contains anybody who has committed sexual crimes and was convicted, cautioned, or released after serving a prison sentence.

Sex offender classification

Not all sex offenders are the same. In fact, there are three distinct classifications of sexual offenders: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. When an offender is found guilty, the sentencing court determines his risk level. The court determines risk level when an offender is released on probation or when an incarcerated offender is being released after serving his term. The sentencing court gets a recommendation for the risk level of an offender being released from the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders. A sex offender can also be given three designations including: sexual predator, predicate sex offender, and sexually violent offender. The combination of risk level and designation determines how long an offender must stay in the registry.

How long does a sex offender stay on the register?

As mentioned earlier, how long a sex offender has to register depends on his risk level and designation. The length of time a sex offender has to register varies from one state to another. However, most states keep sex offenders on the registry for life. The registration is not a one-time affair either – a sex offender must register every time he moves to a different residence (usually within 5 days of moving). He must also register not more than five days after his birthday each year.

Can a person be removed from the register?

Quite a number of people on the sex offender registry were convicted of violent crimes and they cannot remove their names from the registry. However, some are listed for having committed non-violent crimes and they can be removed from the register (often with the help of a criminal defense attorney). People who were convicted for defunct crimes such as consensual sex between same-sex partners can also be removed from the registry in some states.

Online predator records

The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act of 2008 requires all sex offenders to provide information relating to their online accounts. This information includes: Internet accounts; e-mail addresses; user names for instant messaging and chat; social network accounts, and any other information regarding their online lives. They must notify the Department of Justice within 10 days after they change any of the above information.

What are Social Security Number (SSN) records?

A social security number is a nine-digit code that identifies an individual to the social security administration (SSA). The social security administration is responsible for keeping a record of registered social security numbers. You must have a social security number in order to get employment, collect social security benefits, and to get government services. There are numerous other places where you need your social security number. The social security number was never intended to be used for personal identification. However, quite a number of people and companies now use the SSN for identification.

There are certain times when a social security number is required including:

• When seeking employment

• Most financial transactions

• State and federal tax returns

• Medicare benefits

• To identify yourself to the social security administration

• When applying for fishing, hunting, or any other recreational license.

States have varying provisions regarding social security numbers. How you use your SSN in one state might be completely different from how you will use it in the next state. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (2004) explicitly prohibits any state from displaying people’s social security numbers on vehicle registration forms and license registration forms. However, the act does not prevent states from collecting the information.

Since the standard practice for identifying a person is with his/her social security number, you need your SSN for many transactions. You need the number for anything that involves a background or credit check. A prospective employer, potential landlord, or anyone extending credit to you will need your social security number.

How to check your social security earnings and benefits

There are several reasons why you should check your social security benefits periodically. For instance, you’ll be able to check for errors and will have an easier time planning for retirement. The SSA keeps track of your work credits and earnings and it does this using your Social Security Number. You can get the information recorded by the SSA in your Social Security Statement which you can access as long as you are aged 25 and above. This statement also has an estimate of your benefits at retirement.

In order to get a copy of your Social Security Statement, you can go online to the official Social Security Administration website. The SSA used to mail annual Social Security Statements to people who are 25 years or older but they stopped in 2011. It is no longer possible to request for a printed statement.

Once you get your Social Security Statement, you will see that it contains a record of your earnings on which you paid tax. It also has an estimate of your benefits if you retire at the ages of 62, 67, or 70. You should go over the numbers in the statement because the Social Security Administration makes errors on at least 3% of records it keeps.

When you find an error in your Social Security Statement and you have evidence of the error, you should call the Social Security Administration to correct it. Have all the pertinent documents handy when you get through to a representative. You can also make an appointment with someone at the Social Security office if you’d rather talk to someone in person.

What are Tax Records?

When some people hear the word “tax records,” their minds suddenly fill with images of empty pockets and piles of paperwork. Others would shake their heads in bewilderment, vaguely aware of what those are or what they are used for. If you belong to the latter group, you might be missing out on some of the benefits that a solid knowledge of taxation can provide. Even if you can answer the question, “What are tax records,” then you may still benefit from a quick review of what those are and their significance.


These may refer to a transcript of transactions that relate to taxation, wherein basic information, such as the amount of taxes paid by an entity, deductibles, and any outstanding balance, are stored for further reference. These are stored by government tax agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, to ensure that all citizens comply with proper taxation policies. Although guidelines vary greatly among countries, individuals and businesses might be able to request a copy.

Additionally, these may also refer to any documentation of taxable transactions, such as receiving income or buying real estate. Such documents usually take the form of receipts, tax forms, official invoices, or proofs of payment.

The Taxation Process

To better understand these records and their importance, people must first understand the process of filing tax returns. In this system, which is largely used in Western cultures, taxpayers fill out tax forms on which they declare any income they have acquired for a specified period of time, usually one year. Such income includes their salaries or wages, as well as earnings from any investments. Moreover, taxpayers will also state any applicable tax deductibles or credits, which can be earned by complying with certain conditions, such as supporting charities and having environmentally friendly appliances. Tax deductibles reduce the amount of taxable income, while tax credits directly decrease the amount of tax. Once the tax returns are completed, taxpayers send them to the appropriate tax agency, which will confirm the authenticity and accuracy of the tax returns. Afterwards, the agency will then calculate the required amount of tax and notify the taxpayers.

Importance of Tax Records

Even though filing tax returns only happen every now and then, they can still be stressful for many citizens. To ensure that you complete your tax returns as quickly as possible, you must have a complete and organized collection of records. This will keep you from wasting your precious time searching through mountains of files for missing records.

Also, many citizens fail to spot deductibles and credits which they could have otherwise declared. Having complete records minimizes the risk of missing out from these opportunities to save money.

Occassinally, the agency will conduct an audit, defined as the examination of an entity’s financial accounts. The agency will request for the entity’s records and check them for any inconsistencies. Having incomplete records will only complicate the auditing process. Furthermore, if you cannot prove the declarations you made in your tax return, you might be given additional fines or even be charged with fraud.


Hopefully, when someone asks you, “What are tax records,” you should now be able to give them a well-informed answer and help them become adept at managing their records.

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