Federal Criminal Records
When speaking about federal criminal records, the first thing that really comes to mind is the FBI database, which is also known as the NCIC or the National Crime Information Center. The FBI database contains a large number of federal criminal records and for this reason, it is the closest thing that we have to a “nationwide” federal criminal records database. However, the federal criminal records stored in the FBI database are not open records and are therefore not accessible to the general public. Accessing information from the FBI database for any reason other than legal or the search is performed by unauthorized individuals, i.e. those that do not work for any criminal justice agency, could warrant huge fines or penalties.
Other Alternatives to accessing Federal Criminal Records
But the FBI database is not the only source of federal criminal records. During the past year, a new type of federal criminal records check became available. Known as the National Criminal File or the NCF, this database of federal criminal records are aimed to assist during the pre-employment background checks or during the hiring process of companies.
The National Criminal File includes federal criminal records from 38 to 50 states. There are three databases all in all and the records they contain range from 60 million to as many as 133 million. The numbers are certainly impressive but companies should be aware of the fine print tied to the federal criminal records.
The Four Types of Federal Criminal Records
There are four different kinds of records that are all referred to as “criminal records.” These are:
Arrest Records – Law enforcement records of arrests.
Criminal Court Records – Local, state, or federal records.
Corrections Records – Prison records.
State Criminal Repository Records – Statewide records made up of arrest records, criminal court records, and correction records.
Criminal Justice System Basics
The four different types of federal criminal records mentioned above come from different aspects of the criminal justice system. The first on the list is the arrest record. When someone is arrested, the arresting agency, as mandated by law, completes an arrest report which is later on sent to the criminal court for arraignment. At this point, a criminal court record is created based on the initial arrest record.
After the trial, the defendant may be convicted with a sentence which varies according to the outcome of the whole case. There are some cases wherein the defendant is only required to perform community service, pay a fine, or might be placed on probation. However, there are cases wherein the defendant is sentenced to incarceration, during which case, a corrections record is made. Arrest records, criminal court records, and correction records are then sent to the state criminal repository.