Alaska is an open records state, which makes accessing criminal records in the state somewhat easy. Similar to most other states, criminal records in Alaska are organized and maintained in online record depositories that are searchable by the general public.
Most of the criminal history information for Alaska is managed by the Department of Public Safety, Criminal Records and Identification (R&I) Bureau.
To help people access Alaska criminal records, this guide should answer questions to frequently asked questions.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and a police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
In the State of Alaska, criminal records are kept in an online database and are easily available to the public, authorized by an Alaska statute that allows any person to receive criminal justice information. The subject of a record has the power to purchase or view a copy of their entire record. The Alaska Criminal Justice Information gives people access to records online. Records can be searched by name or by submitting a fingerprint card.
Why would someone access a criminal record?
There are many reasons why someone would access criminal records. Typically, people search criminal records to run a background check on a particular person. They’re also used by law enforcement agencies to identify or locate people involved in crimes or by the judicial system to determine an appropriate sentence after a conviction.
An individual may want to access his or her own record as well in order to see what information is public. Since a criminal record can affect a person’s future by limiting travel or restricting the ability to become a U.S. citizen, for example, it’s not uncommon for people to obtain their records to see if anything can cause problems.
In some instances, records could be inaccurate or include outdated information and need to be updated. If this is the case, it is important to have the record corrected as soon as possible.
What is included in an Alaska criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, an Alaska criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, an Alaska criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- Traffic records
- Past and outstanding arrest warrants
- Prior arrests
- Pending and dismissed charges
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
When you access a criminal record, the person listed on the record may have an offense listed. Criminal offenses are usually broken into three categories: Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
An infraction is a minor violation, a misdemeanor is more serious, and a felony is the most serious type of crime.
To better understand the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each offense and its severity:
- Infraction: A small traffic violation or littering are considered infractions. An infraction is a minor violation of the law. Usually, punishments are a warning or a fine. Typically, no jail time is associated with an infraction.
- Misdemeanor: If someone were to get a DUI or a drug violation, it’s considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction but less severe than a felony. Jail time of less than a year or probation are usually associated with these types of crimes. Likely, the offender will do time in a local or county jail.
- Felony: Murder, rape, and arson are considered felony charges. A felony is the most serious type of crime. Offenders are typically sentenced to jail for more than a year and are likely held in a state or federal facility.
What is the difference between an Alaska arrest record and an Alaska criminal record?
An arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest. A criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
Both types of documents are usually public records in the United States, although information about specific arrests may be sealed and rendered inaccessible to the public for a variety of reasons.
Whether an arrest record or a criminal record is accessed, the information listed is for state crimes only. If a person is involved in a federal crime, this information is not listed on a state record.
How do I search for an Alaska criminal record?
To find a criminal record in Alaska, a person can go through the Criminal Records and Identification Bureau (R&I), which is the designated central repository for criminal history information in the State of Alaska. To get the record, a request form must be sent in, along with a $20 check.
There is also the option for walk-in visits in order to obtain records. For this process, it is necessary to present two pieces of identification, one of which must be a valid, government-issued document – normally a driver’s license, identification card, or passport.
Reports cost $20 plus $5 for any additional copies. Options to pay in cash, check or money order are available. To contact the department with any questions, call (907) 269-5767 or by e-mail at [email protected].
Criminal justice agencies must report criminal justice events to the central repository. Paperwork like arresting documents, prosecutors’ reports, and court reports dispositions are all filled with the bureau.
How do I obtain a physical copy of an Alaska criminal record?
The best way to obtain a physical copy of an Alaska criminal record is to make a request through the Alaska Central Repository of Criminal History, which allows views or purchases of all information available. Requests can be done via a name-based or fingerprint-based check.
For fingerprint-based state background checks, the following information must be mailed or delivered:
- A full ten-print set of fingerprints on a standard FBI applicant card
- A letter of explanation as to why access to this information is necessary
- An updated mailing address
- Money order in the amount of $35 payable to the state of Alaska
Once received, the results will be mailed within approximately 2-3 weeks.
For non-fingerprint-based information for an individual on record, can contact local police agencies or the Department of Safety, Criminal Records & Identification Bureau located in Anchorage.
How do I search for Alaska criminal case court records?
The central repository of criminal history information maintains Alaska criminal history information in the Alaska Public Safety Information Network. This network is part of the Alaska Department of Public Safety Division of Statewide Services, making it easier to search for criminal case court records across the state.
APSIN has been used by DPS employees as well as other law enforcement personnel across Alaska for over 30 years as a one-stop-shop of information to track arrests, criminal histories, warrants, missing persons, stolen property, and other information for law enforcement purposes.
Additionally, the FBI National Crime Information Center maintains criminal history information from each of the 50 states, plus federal jurisdictions in a national criminal database. This information is classified as confidential and is only released as authorized by state and federal law.
Does Alaska allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
Generally, it is not possible to seal or expunge any arrests or charges that appear on an Alaska criminal record, even with probation completed as part of a sentence. Within the state, adult criminal records are only able to be expunged in limited circumstances.
In Alaska, a criminal record can only be sealed if the record is, beyond a reasonable doubt, based on a case of mistaken identity or a false accusation.
How can I have false information on an Alaska criminal record corrected?
Individuals can search for their own criminal record and, in the event that the record comes back with inaccurate information, it can be disputed. To make any corrections, first complete and submit a Request to Correct Criminal Justice Information form to the Criminal Records and Identification Bureau. You can also call them directly at (907) 269-5940 should you have any questions.
Once a form has been completed and sent in, the department has five days to respond to requests or to forward it to the agency responsible for maintaining the requested criminal history information. If you happen to have documentation on your criminal case, it is advised to provide a copy when you request a correction as this can aid you in speeding up the request.
How long are Alaska criminal records kept on file?
Criminal records in Alaska contain detailed information on a person’s arrest history and are updated regularly and kept forever. The records provide information on any arrests, interrogations, custody hearings, and investigations, all of which are maintained by the state in a database and can only be removed if expunged or sealed by a judge.