Criminal records are available as public information. Depending by county, a criminal record will show arrests and charges, including pending, dismissed, and acquitted.
Criminal Record Classifications
Criminal records include violent crimes, behavioral arrests, sexual offenses, drug and alcohol convictions, theft and robbery, violent crimes, DUI/DWIs, and some traffic violations. Federal crimes won't show up in local criminal records, so keep in mind that if a person has a clean local criminal record, they could still have a crime at the federal level.
Records in the U.S. are kept by local, state, and the federal government by law enforcement agencies. The purpose of keeping criminal records and making them available for the public is to provide a comprehensive history of an individual's criminal record. They are often used for background checks, security clearance purposes, travel or visa licensing, adoption, and for assisting criminal investigation cases.
Though criminal records are kept at all levels of the government by la w enforcement agencies, states vary as to how they compile the information. Some states make reporting to "statewide repositories" voluntary, thus making an individual's information incomplete if the complete record from counties and municipal courts has not been submitted to the state repository. It is therefore advisable to look first at the county level, if you know where an individual has resided.
Juvenile Criminal Records and the Law
Criminal records for juveniles are exempt from public record availability once the juvenile turns 18. There is an exception for certain crimes, including sexual offenses. In these cases, the information will be available after the juvenile turns 18 and the charge will be recorded as an adult offense.