What is a Criminal Record?

By: Kat Saks August 11, 2012
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A criminal record is a recording of your criminal history.

Read on for more about what a criminal record is, including the information it contains and who can access it.

What is a Criminal Record?

A criminal record is a report on your criminal history. Criminal records can provide information about your past history with the law.

What Does a Criminal Record Contain?

The information in a criminal record can range from simple traffic violations to convicted felonies.

Criminal records can include a wealth of information about your past, including, but not limited to:

  • Basic identifying information (i.e., full name, age, birth date, and drivers license number).
  • Any convicted felonies or misdemeanors.
  • History of your addresses of residence.
  • Current and past arrests and court warrants.
  • Federal and state tax liens.
  • Federal and state bankruptcies.
  • Description of distinguishing body markings, such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks.
  • List of all known relatives.
  • Any property ownership.
  • History of your marriages and divorces.

The information on a criminal record varies by county and by state. Most of the time, criminal records list all criminal offenses in your past, with the exception of expunged cases. Sometimes, criminal records include traffic tickets, too.

Check with your local law enforcement agency for more information about what your area provides in a criminal record report.

Who can Access Criminal Records?

Anyone can access your criminal record by performing a criminal record check.

However, certain people might be more interested in your criminal history than others, such as potential:

  • Employers
  • Landlords
  • Lenders
  • Business partners

Your criminal record can help provide someone who doesn't know you very well a sense of your past, your character, and your trustworthiness.

Keep in mind, that criminal records are public information. So, ultimately, nobody needs justification for performing a criminal background check on you.

Have you ever performed any background checks? Or, has someone performed a background check on you? What for? Did the information help you? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

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