A criminal record, commonly referred to as a rap sheet, is a collection of an individual’s criminal convictions and arrests. As a citizen, you are entitled to a copy of your own criminal record. However, the biggest concern for most people is how to find criminal records. However, the most important thing that you need to keep in mind when seeking a copy of your criminal record is that there isn’t such a thing as a universal or nationwide criminal record.
The record of your criminal charges is usually kept in various local, state, and federal systems. Depending on the severity of your offense, arresting police and the specific court where you were tried, your criminal records may be in any one of the different places. Having a copy of your criminal record is a good thing. Read on to find out how you can obtain a copy of your criminal record.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Criminal Record?
While there are several ways of obtaining a copy of your criminal record, the best way to get the most accurate information is to request a copy of your criminal record from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), your state police, state bureau of investigation, or the state public safety office.
In most cases, you will be required to submit a copy of your fingerprints to facilitate the processing of a copy of your criminal records. However, you need to be careful when requesting for the copy from your local police since such a record will only contain local arrest and conviction records. The processing officer should inform you what is included in the records search.
What Is Included In Your Criminal Record?
Both federal and state law enforcement agencies that maintain criminal records sets their own standards regarding what is to be included in a criminal record. However, a common rule of the thumb is that all criminal records must contain basic information about the individual such as their official name, date of birth, aliases, height, and weight.
While some records may contain only convictions, others will contain both arrest and conviction records. The conviction records may vary as well, but most of them will provide the exact date of conviction, the court of conviction, sentence and whether the charge was a felony or misdemeanor.
Who Can See Your Criminal Record?
All state and federal law enforcement agencies have unlimited access to your criminal record. If you are charged with any crime, your criminal defense lawyer must also access a copy of your criminal record and scrutinize it for any errors.
Other parties such as your employer and school administration will need your consent to access your criminal record, and you may grant or deny them permission. However, if you deny a prospective employer the permission to see your criminal record, you will most likely be denied the job opportunity. Your criminal record may also be checked when you register to vote, for security clearance or when you want to foster a child.
Are you or your loved one facing criminal charges in Southern Maryland? Contact the Law Office of Jaimee C. McDowell today for professional legal assistance, representation, and advice. Contact us today for case review and evaluation.