Free Public Arrest Records?
By Ben Jen
Except where the subjects are juveniles or when it is deemed to be against public interests of security or other official proceedings, arrest records are strictly public records. That means they are freely retrievable through any legitimate means that are available to the public. By definition, they are documentations of any detention or custody taken by law enforcement, including military authorities, on grounds of suspicion or allegation of criminal violation. This record itself stands whether or not it results in incarceration, indictment, dismissal, discharge or acquittal.Arrest records are commonly used to check out job applicants, new neighbors, friends, prospective spouse or in-laws and even tenants. It must be noted though that it is not permissible particularly in relation to employment to officially ask someone if he or she has ever been arrested. When asked in that context, it should be understood that an individual can rightfully decline to answer without any threat or repercussion.
There are a number of options to access arrest records. Free information can be obtained from police departments or even the FBI with written requests. Many of the government agencies have websites that will serve this purpose too. Fees are usually nominal if required at all. There are also private databases on the web which can be explored. Some are free, some paid and others hybrid in a sense that charges come into play depending on what level of information is sought. For example, many of the commercial information brokers online offer free searches and charge when hits are made and download of the report is ordered.