Looking up free arrest records is simple and fast, though it is not always safe. Some websites offer free arrest records searches, but with some extra, unwanted features. They may ask for credit card features to verify your age, which then sometimes leads to charges for services you didn’t want and have difficulty ending. They might require a download, which places adware or even malware on your computer. Find a smart, safe way to look up arrest records for free before attempting your search.
Why Look for Free Arrest Records?
There are a number of reasons to seek arrest records. You may have questions about a prospective employee or a personal relationship. You might wish to verify someone’s identity. You may even be curious if your own information is available.
Should You Pay for Arrest Records?
The answer is a simple no. Arrest records are public. It may be faster to pay someone to look up arrest records for you, but it is never necessary. The only cases in which you may not be able to find arrest records are if they have been sealed or thrown out. Otherwise, you can get them for free, often with very little effort.
Can You Find Arrest Records Online?
This answer is a bit more murky. Arrest records are available online in some places though not in others. If you know exactly which state or county an individual lived in when arrested or where they were charged, you can go to that state or county’s websites. Many have arrest record searches available to the public. You will need to know the person’s name. You often need their date of birth as well. Some may even ask for identifiers like last known address or ethnicity. The more information you have, the more likely you will be able to accurately identify the person.
Another option is to use the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This search will not give you all of the information, as it only includes records of those who have been to prison. Many arrests do not end in prison time. Likewise, the Federal Bureau of Prisons only contains information that is voluntarily submitted by county and state prisons.
Are There Other Ways to Find Arrest Records for Free?
You can go directly to a county courthouse to ask for arrest records. You may also do a search of local newspapers if you happen to know the location or rough time frame of the suspected crime. You may also call a state or county system to ask about arrest records, though if these aren’t already online you may be charged a processing fee.
When is it Time to Pay for Arrest Records?
If you have exhausted all of your resources and you are still unable to find an arrest record for free, you may wish to pay a service to look for you. The safest and smartest choice is to run an official criminal background check through your state highway patrol. You will need to have the person’s name and date of birth or social security number. You will receive any public records for a nominal fee while also being certain that your personal information is protected.