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Criminal Records Basics

If you have been arrested for a crime, there is a record of it. Most employers run criminal background checks on you before they hire you. Arrest records are kept in a few places:

  • The New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) keeps your official arrest and conviction history called a rap sheet. Rap stands for “record of arrest and prosecution.” This record can’t be requested without your fingerprints.
  • The FBI keeps a rap sheet about convictions in every state and Federal Court. This record can’t be requested without your fingerprints.
  • Credit reporting agencies buy information about criminal court cases and then sell background checks. These criminal background reports are not always correct.
  • The court system keeps an informal history of your convictions. You don’t need fingerprints to do a criminal history record search (CHRS). Sealed records should not appear on this search. This search is based on your name and birthday. Anyone can search. It costs $65.00.

Employers and credit reporting agencies can’t get Sealed Records. Only official personnel and you can get your sealed records.

Convictions to summons are not listed on a criminal record.


Case Information

You can get information about current criminal court cases in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the County Courts in the Ninth Judicial District (Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess Counties), the County Court in Erie County, and the Buffalo City Court. Other courts may be added. Visit WebCriminal to search by name or case number.

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