If you are reading this, you probably have a
criminal record. Almost every contact with police creates a permanent record.
This remains true even when your case is dismissed. It may be possible to
seal your conviction, or clear your criminal record, or expunge a dismissed criminal case.
We can help you clear your record.
Even if you were never charged with a crime,
your arrest remains a permanent, public record.
This is also true if your case was
dismissed or if you received a deferred sentence, deferred
prosecution, stipulated continuance, or stay of sentence.
Not long ago, juvenile convictions were sealed or destroyed after you
reached a certain age.
In many states, this is no longer true.
To make matters worse, many members
of the bench tell first time offenders
that if they complete their probation,
their matter will be dismissed and
"taken off their record."
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As a result, there are a number of
people walking around with
criminal records who do not
even realize the fact.
THE CRIMINAL RECORD AGENCIES
A chain of government agencies create,
store, and exchange criminal record
Every criminal record begins at the most local police level. Every agency
has its own criminal database.
Police maintain some of the most
comprehensive local records on
individuals including arrests,
investigations, 911 calls, and other data.
The Local Courts
City and county courthouses are the next step in the record chain.
Every court keeps a detailed
record of its cases. They then
report this data to one state agency.
The Centralized State Agency
Every state has one agency
that compiles, maintains, and distributes criminal record data.
This is the agency that most employers and landlords would contact although
many internet companies now act
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The FBI strives to maintain a criminal
database on every individual in the
system. Although the current trend
is toward a decentralized system,
this agency maintains a number of
important repositories including The
Master Name Index, The National
Fingerprint File, The National Crime Information
Center, and The National Instant Criminal Background Check.
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THE EVOLUTION OF THE
CRIMINAL RECORD SYSTEM
The "criminal rap sheet" is a
The earliest police departments
only began in the middle of the nineteenth
century. In the early days, the
"police blotter" recorded little more
than a list of the days events. Only
later did the information become
organized around the individual.
Near the turn of the century, the first
national criminal identification system
was born using photographs,
measurements, and other physical
descriptions. The most important
development however was the evolution
of fingerprint identification.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
In 1924, the newly created FBI established an official Identification
Division. It was instantly the largest
system in the country but was severely
limited by the lack of uniform records
coming out of every state. This problem
persisted for forty five years until the
advent of the computer.
National Crime Information Center
In 1967, the FBI helped develop the National Crime Information Center
or NCIC. This system had its own
and operated as a joint venture
with the states.
Around the same time, the states began
to develop their own central
depositories. By 1975, over half of the
states were participating in the
national Computerized Criminal
History (CCH) System.
INTERSTATE IDENTIFICATION INDEX
By 1977, many states were pushing for a
decentralized system. In 1978, the
I.I.I. network was established. This system
ties together all depositories into one
national system and has now replaced the
FBI as the primary criminal search engine.
Click here to find out who can see your record.