Criminal record

From Academic Kids

A criminal record or rap sheet is a generic term used to describe a compiled record of crimes that a person has committed or has allegedly committed. Generally in the United States, state and federal authorities maintain databases listing arrests, prosecutions, and/or convictions of an individual over an indefinite or definite period of time.


National Criminal Records

The American government maintains criminal history information through various databases and repositories. Furthermore, state governments and the private sector have created additional databases which may also be used to search a person's criminal history nationally.

National Crime Information Center

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) manages the offical national criminal history database through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The NCIC stores information regarding open arrest warrants, arrests, and dispositions regarding felonies and serious misdemeanors. A serious misdemeanor is defined as a misdemeanor with a potential jail time of one year or more, thus excluding minor offenses such as drunkeness.

National Driver Register

While not officially a criminal history repository, the National Driver Register (NDR), operated by the Department of Transportation, maintains information on drivers regarding convictions of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, failing to render aid at an accident involving death or injury, and knowingly making a false affidavit or committing perjury to officials about an activity governed by a law or regulation on the operation of a motor vehicle. Additionally, the NDR contains information on traffic violations resulting from a fatal automobile collision, reckless driving, or racing on the highways.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System

Mandated by the Brady Bill, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is used by the FBI to screen potential firearms buyers. In addition to searching the NCIC databases, NICS maintains its own index to search for additional disqualifiers from gun ownership.

National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System

The National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), while not technically its own database, serves as an interface to search each state's driver or criminal records. Thus through NLETS, a police officer in one state could search for someone's criminal and driver records in another state. NLETS potentially serves as a better tool to search for minor misdemeanors and traffic violations that would not be in the NCIC.

External links

Web resources about criminal record (


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