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Federal Criminal Records

*This article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

When you run a criminal records check through PeopleFinders, you’ll be exposed to a litany of legal jargon and information. This information, if available, will come to you in the form of a criminal record. This record may have been posted on a federal level, or it may only be local. Either way, these records serve as your direct access to your chosen subject’s history.

But how straightforward are federal criminal records, and what questions do you need to ask to understand them more effectively?

What is a Federal Criminal Record?

A federal criminal record summarizes an individual’s encounters with law enforcement officials over the course of their lifetime. These records will typically summarize an individual’s criminal behavior, with information available about any:

  • Arrests
  • Convictions
  • Verdicts
  • Sentences
  • Dismissals
  • Acquittals
  • Parole

When reading through a criminal record, you’ll be able to determine what, precisely, a person’s relationship with law enforcement looks like and what kind of activities they may have engaged in at a different time of their life. (Note that criminal records are not predictive of a person’s behavior. Instead, they are reflections of past decisions.)

What Kind of Information Will You Find in a Criminal Record?

You’ll be able to learn all about a person’s interactions with law enforcement representatives when reading through a federal criminal report. There’ll be more information in these reports, however, than just that. The additional information made available to you when you read a criminal report may include:

  • A person’s name and aliases
  • Identifying marks
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Eye color
  • Hair color
  • Month and year of birth (or falsified dates of birth)
  • Race
  • State of residence
  • Fingerprint classifications

Sound like a lot of information? That’s because it is. Criminal records serve as veritable photographs of the individuals they describe. Due to the comprehensive nature of these documents, you’ll need to be able to parse the jargon with which you’re presented to fully understand the information you’ve been given.

What Are Criminal Records Used For?

The appropriate law enforcement representatives may use criminal records to determine:

  • A person’s previous employment
  • A person’s previous identifications
  • Adoption proceedings
  • Immigration proceedings
  • International travel
  • Licensing
  • Background checks

Where Are Criminal Records Kept?

You’ll be able to find criminal records at local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Federal criminal records, as you might assume, are primarily located at federal facilities. By keeping these types of documents on hand, the staff operating behavior facilities and law enforcement officers alike can reference the data within the records to better understand the people they’re holding.

How Do Different States Address Criminal Records?

Each state has a library of criminal records that the appropriate representatives can access at their leisure. These repositories protect the criminal records of all of the inmates held within a specific state. These repositories are readily updated as new defendants are entered into the criminal justice system.

How Does the Federal Government Address Criminal Records?

The federal government also maintains a repository of criminal records. This repository is known as the National Crime Information Center, and it is upheld and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI.

Are Criminal Records Stored Online or as Hard Copies?

As technology has evolved, local, state and federal repositories have transferred many of their criminal records online. However, concern has arisen about the opportunity for unwarranted sources to generate a profit off of the data mining these reports could allow. As such, most repositories maintain some level of physical storage for their criminal records.

Each repository retains its records for seven years at a time, as long as these records do not need to be renewed by an individual’s behavior.

What Does It Mean When a Federal Criminal Record Appears in a Criminal Records Report?

PeopleFinders is all about helping you determine whether or not another person has a criminal record. When you conduct a search through PeopleFinders, you may be able to see all the legal information a person has made public about their history. If a criminal record pops up in the midst of your PeopleFinders criminal records check, you can readily assume that your subject has had a run-in with the law in the past.

It’s up to you, however, to read further into that assumption. Take a look at the public information available to you before making any assumptions about your subject. You never know what kind of jargon you’ll find in the record itself, and you’ll need to take care to understand it so as to not draw incorrect conclusions about your subject.