There are all sorts of records created by the United States government every single year. Court records, tax records, arrest records, tariff records, the list goes on and on indefinitely. Many of these records are considered to be public, so why are arrest records so hard to locate for so many people? After all, public records are meant to be accessed by the public, hence the name, so why is there any difficulty at all? The internet has even provided the perfect place to host these types of records, and yet millions of Americans still have trouble accessing them. Today we’re going to be taking a look at a few reasons why this is the case and how you can make your arrest record search a little easier. 

What are Public Records?

Before we delve into why arrest record location can be difficult and how to mediate that, let’s make sure that we all understand the mechanisms that are in place that allow you to access this information in the first place. The type of records that you can access are called public records. They’re designated as such because they aren’t considered classified by the government. To be more precise, any file in any format that is not considered classified is public information. 

Any format means a lot, and if you’ve studied law even a little bit, you probably understand the importance of small verbiage like that. Any format means any format, so that includes actual physical documents, computer files, pictures, videos, audio recordings, even computer games can be considered public record. This extends to all sorts of things, like how for a little while, you could access the files on Sadam Hussein’s computer. Spoiler alert: He played a lot more video games than you probably expected. 

Getting back on topic, public records laws are what allow for the average, everyday citizen such as yourself to access all sorts of records, including arrest records. There have been laws passed on the federal level as well as in each of the 50 states that ensure that some level of public records are kept and made available for the public. 

Each state has authority over its own laws, so exactly what is considered public record, how it’s stored, and how the public can access it can change a bit state by state. Believe it or not, Florida actually has some of the strongest public records laws, and they are commonly referred to as “Florida’s Sunshine Laws,” and you can find all sorts of information on the public record. That’s part of the reason why there are so many news stories about the fabled Florida Man, but that’s also just kind of the spirit of the state. 

Why it’s Difficult to Find Arrest Records

Now that we’ve established what exactly public records are, you may be a little confused as to why it’s so hard to find arrest records in some places. If you’ve ever conducted such a search, you’ve probably noticed that it’s easier to find this information in some places than in others. That’s actually really common, and it will make a lot more sense in just a moment. 

The reason for this disparity is the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all law that governs how every state or even every county needs to present this information. It’s not even just for arrest records; warrant information is just as tricky. Even just in the same state in two counties not even five miles apart, you can find a big gap in the amount of information available.

Trying to figure out exactly why is tricky, to say the least. There is no one unified reason why any county would or wouldn’t provide this kind of database to its people, but here’s a short list of common reasons why a county might not:

  • Database upkeep is expensive. You need to hire someone to build the database and maintain it. If a county doesn’t have a large budget, this would make other parts of their department suffer. After all, just because it’s a government agency doesn’t mean it doesn’t have overhead.
  • Local political leanings. The views of the people in any particular county can heavily influence what the local law enforcement will make available. In a county where most of the people don’t think that law enforcement should have to provide that kind of information, they simply won’t. It saves them money not to, and it also keeps their population happy. 
  • A lack of desire. In some counties, regardless of how much funding they have or the political leanings of the locals, local law enforcement simply doesn’t want to. Maybe they don’t see why it would help, or maybe they just think it’s too much effort. Either way, they don’t want to make this kind of database, and they aren’t legally mandated to, so they don’t.

Whether you agree with these reasons or not, they are still the top three reasons why this information isn’t universally easy to find. It makes matters worse when you need to check in multiple counties because in one county you might find every last bit of information you were looking for, and the next county doesn’t provide any information at all, or worse, all of the information is either outdated or flat out wrong. 

This is exactly why arrest records can be so hard to locate, but there is a much better way to go about it, especially if you need the information right now and don’t want to deal with the hassle of checking through database after database just to discover that you’re not getting all of the information you were looking for. 

How to Make Your Arrest Record Search Easier

UK Home Office loses 150,000 arrest records due to tech problem

There has to be an easier way to do this, and there actually is. You can shave off hours or even days from your search pretty easily, and all you really need is a basic understanding of how to search the web and an internet connection. This method simply involves using a personal background check service from the internet, and boy does it make your search a lot easier. 

The first step is to just find a good personal background check service. There are hundreds of them, and not all of them are equal, but you won’t have a hard time finding a good one that will be able to provide you with all of the information that you need. This step just takes using Google or your favorite search engine and simply typing in something along the lines of “personal background check service,” then hit enter. 

You’ll want to make sure to look at the website closely to make sure that it’s a legit website. The biggest red flag is if they claim that they can pull information that is actually impossible to get, like the person in question’s social security number, for instance. Once you’ve verified that it’s trustworthy, you move on to the second step.

For the second step, you just need to enter the person in question’s first and last name. For instance, let’s say you wanted to look up someone by the name of Joe Catalina. You would type the first and last name into the proper fields, then hit enter. That’s the end of what you need to actively do to get the information you’re looking for. Once you hit enter, you’ll receive your search results instantly.

What’s really interesting here is what’s going on behind the scenes after you hit enter. The system designed by the personal background check service will immediately and simultaneously check thousands of public records databases from all over the country for the name of the person you were searching for. It automatically compiles all of the information it finds and passes it back to you. 

It usually can provide a whole lot more than just arrest records, too. Most users report getting criminal records, driving records, court records, active warrant information, the list goes on. Because the system works by pulling public records, you can be sure that you’ll get any and all information on the public record about the person in question. 

Don’t Make Your Search Any More Complicated Than it Needs to Be

Arrest record searches are something that many Americans do every year. Whether they want to make sure that a troubled family member isn’t getting in over their head or they just want to make sure that their hot Tinder date is as squeaky clean as they claim to be, this information can tell you a lot. There’s no reason for it to be a difficult search. After all, it’s public information so, as an American, it’s your right to access it. 

***SpyFly provides consumers affordable, immediate access to public record information. Federal laws prohibit businesses from using SpyFly’s service to make decisions about employment, insurance, consumer credit, tenant screening, or for any other purpose subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq.**