What is a Criminal Record?
A criminal record or crime record is the summary of an individual’s contacts with law enforcement agencies. It provides details of all arrests, convictions, sentences, parole violations as well as dismissals and not guilty verdicts committed by an individual. In addition, the criminal record may include information about height, weight, eye and hair color, identifying marks, different names used by the person, different dates of birth, social security numbers used, fingerprint classification, race, and state and federal identification numbers of the individual. There is no single repository for all this information about a person.
Infraction. An infraction is governed primarily by state laws, which vary by state, but is typically not considered to be a crime. Rather than being subject to a jail term upon conviction, a fine is typically imposed on those found guilty of an infraction. Usually, an infraction is neither a crime nor an offense as defined in the penal code. Infractions often include disorderly conduct and public nuisance offenses. Traffic offenses are usually infractions too, with the exception of more serious offenses, such as “driving under the influence” or “hit and run” violations.
Misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is usually a crime for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment not in excess of one year may be imposed. A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony and is punishable by fine or imprisonment in a city or county jail rather than in a prison. Misdemeanors are tried in the lower courts, such as municipal, police, or justice courts. Typical misdemeanors include petty theft, simple assault and battery, drunk driving without injury to others, and serious traffic violations. The District Attorney may have discretion to charge some crimes as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. The sentence for a first-time misdemeanor is often limited to probation. A sentence of incarceration will usually be served in the county jail.
Felony. In general, a felony is an offense for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year is authorized. Felonies are serious crimes, such as murder, rape, or burglary, punishable by a harsher sentence than that given for a misdemeanor. The sentence for a felony under state law will usually be served in a state prison. However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion of the judge and within limits set by statute.
- Local Criminal. Criminal records that are housed at the City and County levels.
- State Criminal. Criminal records that may be housed in one location for an entire state.
- Federal Criminal. Records that are the result of a federal crime and that are held at a federal court within the United States.
- International Criminal. These are records held by an authority outside of the United States.
PGI Methods in Accessing Criminal Records
Peeler Group International has three methods of accessing criminal records from the authorities holding criminal records:
Downloaded Records. PGI receives regular downloads from a number of criminal record depositories. Each one of these sources provides a schedule when records are updated and entered in to a database and that is made available to our clients. These records are provided on instant basis, meaning your may enter your search request and receive the information we have on file immediately.
Direct Access. Some criminal record holders (repositories) maintain criminal records for their jurisdiction within a database where PGI is allowed direct access to. In situations where we are granted direct access. Depending on the manner PGI is granted access our clients may have instant access, or indirect access, meaning that one of our researchers has to manually enter your request for a response. If PGI does not have immediate direct access you don’t have to worry, are turn-around-time, meaning the time it takes for us to provide you a response, averages less than 1 day.
Field Researcher. In some situations Peeler Group International has to physically go to the source of the information, meaning that our field investigators will take your request to the repository wherein the record is held and fulfill your search request. This is often the case in small lower courts or where you are requesting an international search and automation is not available. Our field investigators average a turn-around-time of 48-72 hours in most of these cases.