Who Can See Your Criminal Record?

 


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Not long ago, it was difficult for anyone but law enforcement to quickly access criminal records. Today, anyone with a Visa card and the Internet can order up your file.

The reason everyone can see your record has as much to do with computers as courtrooms.

NO RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Most court records and police reports have been available for some time under state and federal public disclosure laws. Most courts agree that the constitutional right to privacy does not apply
to criminal records.

KNOWING WHERE TO LOOK

The real challenge was knowing where to look and asking the right questions. In one state, there could be numerous courthouses and police stations each with their own filing system.

THE CENTRAL STATE DEPOSITORY

By the 1970s, most states had developed a central depository and were hooked up to a national network and the FBI. Mandatory reporting rules made sure that each court and law enforcement agency sent information to the central files.

JUVENILE RECORDS

For a long time, state depositories and the FBI did not maintain juvenile records unless the individual was tried as an adult.

As juvenile crime increased in the last decade, including some highly publicized school shootings, public demand for this information has risen sharply. In 1992, new rules were adopted to disseminate juvenile records.

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CONVICTION VS NON-CONVICTION DATA

There is virtually no restriction on private access to criminal conviction information. Many states also allow access to uncharged police reports.

An older record with no conviction may be restricted at the central state depository but is easily obtained at the courthouse.

THE DAWN OF THE INTERNET

If you have not noticed, just about anything is
for sale on the internet including your criminal record. Two trends make this possible.

Central state depositories and individual court systems are beginning to place their records online and sell access directly to the public.

The private sector has followed this trend and now offers comprehensive record access in every state. These companies provide information from the central depositories and the individual courts.

TRY THIS SIMPLE EXPERIMENT

Log on to any major search engine and type in "criminal record." Count the number of companies willing to sell you information on anyone.

Click here to find out how your record can hurt you.

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We have made this Web site and provided these materials for informational purposes only.
This is not a legal opinion or legal advice. It is not intended to create nor does it create an
attorney-client relationship. No one should act upon this information without seeking
professional counsel. If you are interested in legal services, please contact us so that
we may place you in touch with a qualified attorney from your state.

? 2005. Clear Your Record Law Firm, LLC.