Criminal Record Search

In the United States, criminal records are compiled and updated on local, state, and federal levels by various law enforcement agencies. The primary purpose of a criminal record is to present a comprehensive criminal history for an individual.

Criminal histories are maintained by law enforcement agencies in all levels of government. Local police departments, sheriffs' offices, and specialty police agencies may maintain their own internal databases. On the state level, state police, troopers, highway patrol, correctional agencies, and other law enforcement agencies also maintain separate databases. Law enforcement agencies often share this information with other similar enforcement agencies and this information is usually made available to the public.

All states have official "statewide repositories" of criminal history information that include information contributed by the various county and municipal courts and law enforcement agencies within the state.[101] State repositories are usually accurate, but all states have provisions for the correction of errors that occur in the reporting and recording of criminal history information. Individuals may normally obtain their own records from the state, but to obtain the records of another person, a private individual will normally need to obtain a release from the subject of the record search.

The federal government maintains extensive criminal histories and acts as a central repository for all agencies to report their own data. The NCIC (National Crime Information Center) is a database of criminal history information that is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).