Are Arrest Records Public?

Whether you’re dating someone new, want to learn more about the babysitter you’re hiring, or have a troubled past yourself, you may be wondering whether arrest records are public. And if they are, you may want to know what information they include and how you can find them.

To answer your question – yes, arrest records are public.

And you can typically find them online, but some sources are more reliable and detailed than others.

Before we talk about what information is included on public arrest records and how to find them, let’s talk about why arrest records are made public in the first place.

Why Are Arrest Records Made Public?

Are Arrest Records Public


There’s a hot debate as to whether or not arrest record should be made public. And some states do have rules or laws that restrict or minimize access to this information.

But the primary reason why arrest records are made public is – you guessed it – to inform the public that a person has been incarcerated. While you may not always be able to see what the person has done, you will know for sure that the person has been arrested for some crime.

Arrest records can be used for a variety of purposes, but people primarily search for these records when performing background checks for employment, immigration, adoption, security clearance, licensing or developing a list of suspects for an ongoing investigation.

Arrest Records and State Laws

national arrest records

Criminal records are first generated and maintained by various law enforcement agencies on the federal, state and local levels.

As mentioned previously, there are some states that restrict the information obtained from arrest records particularly if the person in question was acquitted or never charged for the crime.

Vermont arrest records, for example, are open to the public unless they’re part of an ongoing investigation. In Texas and Wisconsin, the public is given access to general arrest sheets when searching for information about a particular incident, but courts are generally hesitant to provide record access if the request is concerning arrest records or personal histories.

Many states try to restrict access to arrest records on the basis that it includes personal information that needs to be protected. Oftentimes, records involving juveniles will not be made available to the public, nor will sealed or restricted records.

What Information Is Provided on Arrest Records?

Arrest records usually contain not only information about the arrest itself, but personal information about the person arrested. This includes the person’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, race, sex, weight, and height. The arrest data will include the date of the arrest, the arresting agency and the charges. Other data might also be included, such as the criminal justice agency or prosecutor and custodial information.

Keep in mind that this data may vary from one state to another. However, most records will contain these vital pieces of information.


How to Find Arrest Records Online

arrest records by state

Arrest records are public, so they should be easy to find, right? Wrong. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to search for public arrest records, and discuss which method is the best option.

County and State Websites

Many county and state websites provide access to public arrest records through an integrated search feature. Typically, searches are free and only require you to input the person’s name, arrest city and date of birth. But as always, the more information you have, the more accurate your search will be.

While many county and state websites will provide information on the charges, some will charge a fee to divulge this information. Generally, you want to avoid sites that will charge you to find out this information, unless you can trust that the data will be accurate.

The County Courthouse

If you can find the record through the state or county website, you can visit the local county courthouse to get the information you need. Access to these records are provided for free, but you’ll be required to look for the information yourself. Going to the courthouse will require more time and effort, but you will be sure that the information you obtain is accurate and directly from the source – and it won’t cost you a dime.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Website

The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website allows you to search for prison records. All you have to do is input the individual’s name to find out whether he or she has ever been to prison, is currently incarcerated, or on parole.

There are several ways to search through the site. You can simply type in the person’s name, input their Social Security number, or enter their federal identification number. While these records are typically accurate, whether or not you get the results you desire will depend on how much information you input. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all counties and states are efficient at updating their database. Remember, this federal database will only contain information that local counties and states provide to it.

Of course, this will only provide you with information on prison records – not jail. Prisons are operated by the federal government, while jails are operated by local governments. Jails are designed for offenders who are serving short sentences or awaiting trial.


The quickest and easiest method is to simply search through our site – We obtain daily arrest reportfrom s law enforcement agencies all throughout California and the entire USA.

What does this mean for you?

It means that you gain access to the most accurate and updated arrest information available.

Finding public arrest records doesn’t have to be complicated. We make the process easier and more convenient. Once you have access to the records you want, you can find out why the person was arrested and confirm that their personal information matches the information you have. Whether you’re checking to see if your own information is accurate or want to check up on a new love interest, public arrest records are free and relatively easy to access – if you have the right tools.