Crimes occur everywhere, and the beautiful Grand Canyon State is not left out. Thankfully, Arizona has provided easy access to public criminal records for crimes committed in the state.
Criminal records in Arizona are a quick, easy, and legal way to run a background check on individuals in the state. These records are usually available in legal agencies and databases and obtainable for third-party viewing unless stated otherwise. Are you wondering what you can find on the Arizona criminal record database? Here is all you need to know about criminal records in Arizona and what these documents are.
What Are Criminal Records In Arizona?
In Arizona, a lot of things are, by law, easily accessible to the public. From journalism records to research documents and open meetings, Arizona is one of the states in the U.S.A. with government-backed policies that allow certain records to be accessed by citizens within the state unless stated otherwise due to sensitive information. Criminal records are one of the many personal records that third parties can request.
Criminal records in Arizona are legal documents describing the details of an individual’s crimes committed within Arizona. It demystifies the events surrounding their crimes and offers details of their arrests, including all past convictions or indictments.
The Criminal History Records Unit is responsible for the Central State Repository, where criminal records of all crimes committed in the state are held. The unit is charged with storing and distributing accurate criminal history records and necessary information. This includes the state’s sealed and unsealed criminal records.
Also known as police records or rap sheets, criminal records are created to provide comprehensive detail of an individual’s criminal history. The information in a criminal record is compiled and updated on local, state, and federal levels in many government or law enforcement agencies. However, the Arizona criminal records are only specific to criminal justice agencies within the state.
The state law does not enable the Central State Repository to move or send Arizona criminal records over state lines to other states. In turn, it does not request criminal records over the state lines.
What Does An Arizona Criminal Record Contain?
Criminal records in Arizona contain a summary of an individual’s run-ins and contacts with the law enforcement agency. These summaries offer personal details and information concerning arrests, convictions, and sentences.
Some of the details on an Arizona criminal record include:
- Name (first, middle, and last)
- Date of birth and age
- Eye color
- Hair Color
- Identifying marks
- Social security number
- Fingerprint or the classification
- mugshot (picture of the inmate)
- Where the arrest took place
- When the arrest took place
- Charge or offense ( misdemeanors, warrants, or felonies)
- Arresting officer’s name
- Where the inmate was booked in the state
- Case and docket information
- Sentence and case dispositions
- Terms of imprisonment
- Pending charges (if any)
- Acquitted or dismissed charges (if any)
Essentially, Arizona state criminal records contain an individual’s physical description and the events or incidents surrounding their arrest.
Are Arizona Criminal Records Public?
As previously mentioned, a lot of documents are made public in Arizona. This is mandated by the Arizona Public Records Law which stipulates that all documents related to criminal history are made readily available to members of the state.
The Freedom of Information Act law also allows public access to documents maintained by governmental agencies.
These laws enable any member of the state public to have access to the criminal records held in the state repository. Essentially, criminal records in Arizona are made public.
Arizona criminal records, unless sealed, are part of a person’s background details. These details are often required by landlords, employers, or any other individual or agency looking to examine a person’s history for black marks. As such, you do not need to be a person of authority or someone with a badge to request to see a person’s criminal history or record.
How To Find Criminal Records In Arizona
Accessing criminal records in Arizona is made easy on third-party sites or by writing a formal request to the necessary agencies.
Criminal records are usually available via third-party websites that handle the dissemination of this information to individuals or agencies that are members of the state. These sites often require payment for access to requested criminal records.
Searching for criminal records on third-party sites or law enforcement databases is easy as long as you have the necessary personal information of the individual whose criminal records you want to look into. These sites often have access to many criminal records unless the record is sealed with restricted access.
All third-party criminal record access sites request the record subject’s full name and aliases, last known location (this includes city or counties), and other helpful information for the search.
However, if the public site domains are not forthcoming with the needed criminal record, you can also request it on the Criminal History Records page of the Arizona Department of Public Safety website.
Some local criminal histories are also often accessible from the state’s sheriff’s offices and some other police departments. To access these criminal records, you can visit the agencies in person or send an email detailing your request.
Although obtaining criminal records in Arizona is mostly free, some agencies request fees for records. These fees can be waived if a government division makes the criminal record request.
When requesting criminal records, you will be asked to submit personal details such as your email, phone number, and mailing address. You will also need to provide the details on the criminal record (the individual’s details), the date you need the documents, and the document delivery method.
You do not usually need to make an appointment with agencies to request criminal records. The criminal record retrieval process timeline varies with every agency. Every department in the state has different procedures for retrieving criminal records, so it is impossible to state for a fact how long it will take to get criminal records. However, be prepared to wait a few days if you submit a request for any record.
Keep in mind that formal requests for criminal records can be denied due to several factors, including accessibility and details in the documents. Although you cannot appeal the denial for releasing a criminal record, you can take other court actions.
Who Asks For Criminal Records?
Although anyone can ask to see an individual’s criminal records for any reason, they are often required during the hiring or house-renting process by potential landlords and employers. This is usually part of the background checks.
Also known as reference checks, background checks are used to verify that a person is who they are. Background checks offer information such as an address, identity verification, credit history, property ownership records, bankruptcy records, and, of course, criminal history.
Jobs You May Not Get With A Criminal History
Although the decision of a landlord to rent a property to a person after seeing their rap sheet is a personal judgment, there are jobs that are often not offered to people with criminal records depending on the type and severity of their offense. Some of these jobs include:
- Bank clerk
- Truck driver or courier
- Sales/shop/retail assistant
- Teacher/teacher assistant (especially if convicted of assault or sexual crimes)
- Medical receptionist (especially if convicted for any drug-related crime)
This list is in no way exhaustive as individuals with criminal history cannot secure many other jobs. However, these jobs vary with the type of case on the criminal record.
Can You Get Your Criminal Record Away From Public View?
In Arizona, anyone convicted of a crime will have a permanent criminal record that can often be accessible by the public unless it is a juvenile case. These criminal charges and arrests will remain on record and in full view until they are expunged.
To get a criminal record expunged, it is necessary to file for a motion of expungement.
Expunging a crime does not necessarily annihilate traces of the conviction but will seal it away from the public. While individuals with an expunged record will still have a record, the record will state that the charges were dismissed.
However, because having a criminal record affects a person’s ability to interact, find housing and get a job, a criminal record expungement will increase the individual’s chances of doing basic things like settling into society.
A new law in Arizona that is set to take effect on January 1st of 2023, will enable individuals with a criminal history file to seal or expunge their records from the public. However, to be eligible for this procedure, the individual must have committed a general and non-dangerous crime. Some crimes not admissible for conviction include aggravated felonies like manslaughter, sex trafficking, and crimes against children.
The individual must also have served a time frame after being charged. Some of the time constraints that should be served before conviction. The list of eligible wait periods include:
- Two years for class 2 and 3 misdemeanors
- Three years for class 1 misdemeanors
- Five years for class 4, 5, and 6 felonies
- Ten years for class 2 and 3 felonies
If the individual meets all requirements, he can petition for an expungement.
Criminal records not exempted from legal statutes are considered documents for public safety in Arizona. As citizens of Arizona, criminal records are considered ‘your’ records unless stated otherwise.