Finding Federal Arrest Records: Effective Tools and Resources

federal arrest records

Public Arrest Records

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines a criminal history record as “a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests.” This is also known as a “rap sheet,” or criminal history summary. Those who were convicted in a Federal court or whose case was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have federal arrest records.


Who can request a copy of my federal arrest record from the FBI?

Requests for criminal records are becoming more of a necessity in almost every avenue. Countless private and government agencies require you record during a screening process. Often if you have a history of an arrest, you are liable to be rejected, especially if you have been convicted of a serious offense. For this reason, it is important to note that only an arrestee can request a copy of his/her arrest record if it is held by the FBI.

This may be required in several cases. For instance, it is required if the arrestee is involved in an adoption process. In addition, it is required in some cases if an individual is desirous to travel, work or live abroad. An arrestee may also request a copy of the record to challenge or verify the information that is present therein.

How to request a copy of your FBI record:

The FBI identifies two ways in which you can request a copy of your criminal arrest record. The first option is to submit a request to the FBI directly. This process has several steps that are highlighted on he FBI’s website.

  1. Obtain and complete an Applicant Information Form from the FBI’s website.
  2. Do a fingerprinting process, preferably by a fingerprinting technician, and submit the card.
  3. Verify the required costs for a copy of your record by checking the FBI website.
  4. Submit the required payment to the U.S. Treasury.
  5. Use the FBI’s Criminal History Summary Request Checklist to ensure that all relevant information has been provided.
  1. Mail your request to the following address:
  2.   FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
    1000 Custer Hollow Road
    Clarksburg, WV 26306

The second option is to submit your request to a FBI-approved Channeler. This third party private business collects all the relevant information and sends it to the FBI. When your request is reviewed and a response is received they will notify you. You can check the FBI website for a list of approved channelers. The FBI provides the name of the business agencies as well as their website and contact numbers.

Before you choose a FBI-approved Channeler here are a few considerations.

  1. Both the FBI-approved Channeler and direct submission request are similar since the same information is required. However, costs may vary so verify the FBI-approved Channeler’s service charge before you choose any service.
  2. An FBI-approved Channeler can only process the requests for U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  3. A FBI-approved Channeler is prohibited from processing a request for licensing or employment reasons in the U.S.

How to find public arrest records

Public records may be easier to find than you think. For any investigator there are two things you must know: 1) what you are looking for and 2) where to look. Below is a list of tools or resources that you can use when attempting a criminal records search.

  • Check a court database. A reliable option in order to access criminal records is the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). This electronic service is available online to the public. You are not required to pay a registration fee. However, the service comes with a cost so check the website for the cost before you register for this service.
  • Contact state agencies that govern the distribution of public records. These agencies will inform you about the State laws and processes which affect the accessibility of records in your area. Since laws vary based on states, it is very important to find out the laws in your own state. For instance, in New York you can obtain your record but you cannot obtain another person’s record. On the contrary, in states like Texas you can obtain someone else’s record by using resources such as the Texas Computerized Criminal History System.
  • You can also search arrest records by using free online services or services. Some of these include sex offender registries. The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) is a U.S. Department of Justice website provides detailed information about an arrestee along with a booking photo. Details, for instance, may include an arrestee’s name and aliases, address, age/date of birth, height, description of scars/tattoos and the type of offense. If the arrestee has been convicted and is currently incarcerated these details are also provided.  Sites like NSOPW often provide advanced search options which allow you to improve the likelihood a successful criminal records search. These options include:
  1. Search by name/ alias
  2. Search by city or town
  3. Search by zip
  • A mugshot search online is another way to find information from federal arrest records. Free search tools, like a search engine, can be used by anyone who has an Internet access.  All you need to do is open a web browser. Use a search engine and type the name of the person as well as the word “mugshot”. For example, “James Johnson mugshot”. The search engine will provide the most relevant websites on the first results page.

In conclusion, remember that many tools are available to help you search for federal arrest records. These include government agencies, court databases and free online resources. Learn about what options are available in your state and use them. Lastly,remember to check with your state’s requirement in order to remove unwanted record history.

About Angela

Hello, Cyber world! I currently work as the Web Content Editor for the Expunge Center page and through my whole life writing and blogging has been in my Top priorities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *