Arrest records are official public records, completed by law enforcement agencies, when a person is placed under arrest. An arrest occurs when someone is seized and taken into custody. Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies all maintain arrest records, and the agency responsible for reporting the arrest is the agency that actually made the arrest. The responsible agency will be determined by a number of factors including jurisdiction and the crime charged. While law enforcement agencies are responsible for reporting, arrest records may also be available from state and federal courts. Federal agencies with the power to arrest include: FBI, ATF, and DEA agencies, as well as any other federal agency given police power from the DHS to the DOE. Most states have at least one state-level law enforcement agency, and many have multiple law enforcement agencies. These agencies usually include some type of highway patrol and game wardens in addition to other state-specific agencies. Local police may include county or municipal law enforcement agencies, and are responsible for the vast majority of arrests.
Formally, an arrest only refers to those times when an individual is seized and taken into custody. However, depending on each individual law enforcement agency’s own reporting requirements, their arrest records may contain additional information. In addition to a report of actual arrests, you may find information in an arrest record relating to a person being questioned, detained, investigated, charged with a crime, indicted, or facing trial.