The local law enforcement agencies organize the criminal records in Connecticut into online repositories. The public can access these repositories from anywhere in the world. The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, under the Connecticut State Police Bureau of Identification, is the agency in charge of giving out criminal records on request.
In addition, the public can access criminal court documents through the Connecticut Judicial Branch. Many records are available online.
To learn more about accessing criminal records in Connecticut, here’s what you should know:
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 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 Connecticut, criminal records are not easily accessible as they can only be gotten through the state police.
The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection handles the state police, and it is through this department that anyone in need of a criminal record – either for themselves or for someone else – can apply for the record.
It is the State Bureau of Identification that directly handles the request for criminal records in the state of Connecticut. The person making the request for the record is required to pay a fee of $75 before the record can be mailed to them or given to them at the department’s office.
What is included in a Connecticut criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a Connecticut criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, a Connecticut 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?
There are many reasons to access a person’s criminal record. For instance, a person looking to make a major purchase could have their background checked. Landlords often check criminal records too. A background check may be needed for people applying for financial aid or a bank loan.
A person can request his or her own criminal record as well. Why? Some people are just curious and want to see what’s on there, others who have been in trouble with the law may want to see just how much information is public. If a person finds items on his or her record that are untrue, it’s important to address those problems immediately.
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 a Connecticut arrest record and a Connecticut 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 a Connecticut criminal record?
The Police Bureau of Identification is where the information on the requested individual is given in order to receive criminal records. To access a criminal record, you’ll need to fill out this criminal history record request form. The form asks for the following information:
- The name of the requester
- Email address
- Requester address
- Phone number
Once the form is complete, mail it to the Police Bureau of Identification in Middletown. The address is:
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection
State Police Bureau of Identification
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, CT 06457
You can run a $36 records check which will only tell you if a person does or doesn’t have a criminal record. A $75 report will provide a full report of all criminal activity for the individual. You can also get a report that’s based on a person’s fingerprints. Fingerprints must be completed at a law enforcement agency and turned in with the request form. The agency says records requested with a fingerprint card are the most accurate.
To learn more about the fingerprinting process and what’s needed, the police bureau has more information on its website. Due to COVID-19, fingerprinting happens by appointment only and certain pieces of identification are needed.
How do I obtain a physical copy of a Connecticut criminal record?
In order to make requests for criminal records in Connecticut, a requester is required to download and fill out a form and mail it to the state agency mentioned above. Once the form has been submitted, you’ll receive a physical copy of the record in the mail along with a receipt for criminal records. Processing times vary. Expect to wait two weeks.
How do I search for Connecticut criminal case court records?
The courts in Connecticut have electronic records. Many states have started putting court records online, although many older records aren’t available yet.
All the court records in the State of Connecticut are stored in the Judiciary Library. The library is properly segmented into different case categories. The criminal case court records are stored in the criminal conviction category. A person looking for a specific case file must type in the case file name and the year.
While many records are available online, some aren’t. If you can’t locate the court documents that you’re looking for, you should consider calling the specific courthouse where the case was heard. The court clerk is responsible for all records and can assist you with your request. You may need to fill out a formal request form or submit a request via email so the clerk knows what records you’re looking for.
Does Connecticut allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
The state does allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged, but it is conditional. In Connecticut, a criminal case can be expunged if one of the following occurs:
- A person was charged but the person was not found guilty
- The case was dismissed even after it was tried in court.
- The charges were dropped thirteen months ago.
- The case was placed on hold for more than thirteen months, and after thirteen there had been no disposition on the case or prosecution.
When and if these criteria are met, the case is automatically expunged. However, an expunging request can be filed with the court that handled the case.
How can I have false information on a Connecticut criminal record corrected?
If a person feels like their criminal records have some inconsistent or false information, the person can request for the information to be changed. To do this, the person must mail their criminal record to the state police. Along with the criminal record, the requester should also provide proof of mistaken identity.
How long are Connecticut criminal records kept on file?
According to the state of Connecticut law, a criminal record is kept on file until the offender is 100 years old, after which the record will be erased.