Looking to obtain criminal records in Arkansas? If so, the state has a fairly straightforward process to request them. Many of the records are available online through state-run websites.
Criminal offenses are recorded in Arkansas once a person is arrested. The process of recording arrests and subsequent court appearances are all part of a person’s criminal record.
To help citizens access criminal records, this guide will explain how to work with law enforcement to obtain a criminal record and how to obtain copies of criminal court cases as well.
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 Arkansas, criminal records are kept in a digital database and can be easily retrieved with the tap of a few buttons. However, the data is not available to all; there are specific categories of people who have access to these data.
What is included in an Arkansas criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, an Arkansas criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, an Arkansas 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
Why would someone access a criminal record?
Requesting a person’s criminal records doesn’t always mean there is something suspect about the person. In fact, it is standard practice on many occasions. A landlord might want to run a background check on a new tenant, or someone seeking security clearance may need a background check completed first.
People may want to request their own criminal records to see what information is available to the public. If there are errors on a record, there are procedures in place to get records corrected.
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 Arkansas arrest record and an Arkansas 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 Arkansas criminal record?
To search for a criminal record in Arkansas is quite a process, and requires anyone seeking criminal records to register with the Criminal Background Check System (CBC). Through the state’s online criminal background check system, anyone who needs criminal records in Arkansas can request the records. The request for criminal records, however, will only be given to authorized entities.
To search for criminal records, a person will have to log into the Arkansas Department of Public Safety website.
There are two categories that an authorized entity can fall in. These categories are:
- Entities permitted by Arkansas law with the signed consent of the individual of the record check; or
- Entities required by state or federal law where a national/FBI fingerprint-based background check is permitted or required.
Whichever category an individual falls under, they must register with the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) to get information from the CBC system. The registration for the INA is $25. Whoever wants to register will submit a request on the INA website.
After a person has successfully registered, they should visit the CBC website and tap on the search bar. There are two steps involved in getting the criminal record of a person. The search requires the requester to input information, such as the applicant’s name, gender, date of birth, social security number, and race.
The second step involves filling in information from a government-issued driver’s license or an identification card. When the requester hits the submit button, the system will search for the person’s criminal record and give back a report. The report can be printed. The report is available only for 14 days after the requester has viewed the results. The fee for an Arkansas state request for a criminal record is $22, while volunteers pay $11.
How do I obtain a physical copy of an Arkansas criminal record?
A physical copy of any criminal record in Arkansas can be received from the CBC website. The person who requested the record will print the result that was shown on the CBC website.
Another option is to contact Arkansas State Police at 501-618-8000. A record can be requested over the phone and delivered by mail.
How do I search for Arkansas criminal case court records?
To search for an Arkansas criminal case court record, log in to the state’s court website, CourtConnect, and search for the case name or case file name. Many records can be found online, but there may be some that aren’t online.
If you can’t find the criminal court record that you’re looking for, you can talk with the court clerk at the courthouse where the case was heard. The clerk can provide access to records, although you may need to fill out a formal request form or email a written request.
Does Arkansas allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
When a person meets certain requirements, they can have their case sealed or expunged. A person can ask for a misdemeanor conviction seal after they have met all the conditions set by the court. To make the change, the request must happen 60 days after all conditions have been met after a conviction.
There are quite a few types of misdemeanors that can be sealed or expunged. The types of offenses that can be sealed in Arkansas on request are:
- A class A negligent homicide
- Battery in the third degree
- Indecent exposure
- Public sexual indecency
- Sexual assault in the fourth degree
- Domestic battery in the third degree, or driving or boating while intoxicated.
- Class C and Class D felonies
- Unclassified felonies
- Certain drug convictions
After the request has been filed, there is a five-year waiting period before the court seals or expunges the criminal record.
How can I have false information on an Arkansas criminal record corrected?
A person can request mistakes be corrected if any are found on a criminal record. How? First, the person seeking a correction would get fingerprints from a law enforcement officer. The fingerprints will be compared against the fingerprints of the incorrect arrest. If the fingerprints do not match, the record is corrected. But if the fingerprints match, the record stays. The requester doesn’t need to pay any fee to have false information in their criminal records corrected.
How long are Arkansas criminal records kept on file?
In Arkansas, only Class C and Class D felonies can be removed from the file.
According to Arkansas state’s statutes, the criminal records will be retained for at least five years. An offender can request for the records to be sealed, and if the request is successful, the criminal record will be removed from the file.