October 17, 2017, 10:40 pm
Criminal-Records

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What are Public Criminal Records?
Some criminal records are open to the public for review. Even though most criminal records are available to the public, there are some instances when release of records is prohibited.
The entire case file is typically included in public criminal records. This information can include motions filed by the attorneys or by the defendant, the charges that were filed as well as the outcome of the case. Usually, criminal records are kept on file at the courthouse in the region or county were the case was heard; however, some criminal records may be available for public review online.
When you are searching for criminal records, you will have better luck if you know a few basic details, such as the defendant's name and date of birth. If you are able to supply a date of birth, you will not run into the problem of two or more individuals with the same name adding confusion to your search. In some cases, when searching for specific criminal records, you may have to research the database on your own and provide the appropriate case number to the clerk in order to gain access.
In most instances, criminal records are kept in a folder that is referred to as the case file. For cases that have a lot of paperwork, the case file can include a large number of folders that are full of valuable information.
One of the first pieces of information you may find within criminal records is the charging document. You may also find any motions related to the case, including change venues, pretrial motions to suppress evidence or set different kinds of other hearings.
Keep in mind that even though criminal records are available for review by the public, the originals have to remain in the case file. Most offices will offer you copies of the records that you need, but you should expect to pay a small fee.
In some states, criminal records are made available to the public via the court system's official website. Some will charge a reasonable fee to access their records, while others will provide the information that you need at no charge. In addition, some court systems are graduated, meaning you will be able to access a certain level of information free of charge and access to other portions require you to pay a fee.
Sometimes, review of normally public criminal records is prohibited. This is usually when the case involves a juvenile defendant. In cases where the victim is a juvenile, some information will be blacked out or redacted from the public file. In addition, if a judge orders a person's criminal record to be expunged, this may lead to the sealing of those criminal records. It is also important to keep in mind that some criminal records will not be made open to the public until the case has been concluded.
Although criminal records are usually open for public inspection, they may not be available at all times. If a case is in the midst of litigation, the judge may be in possession of the file that you seek. If so, a clerk can attempt to retrieve the file, or request that you return at a late date when the file will be available.
 
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