Difference Between a Police Record & a Criminal Record

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A police record and a criminal record are different yet can overlap. Both can affect employment, apartment rentals, promotions and business licensing. Your criminal record can affect also your voting rights.


When you are arrested, a record of the arrest is kept with the state police. This record is accessible any time a background check is done.


When you go to court, if you are convicted, this becomes a part of your criminal record, which also is accessible when a background check is done.

Read More: How to Purge a Criminal Record


In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. This is the difference between a criminal and police record. You do not have a criminal record unless you are convicted of a crime.


In many jurisdictions, your arrest record is erased when you are acquitted of charges or they are dropped. Your criminal record must be formally expunged or sealed.


Contact your local police department and ask what the procedure is to have your arrest records expunged in your state.

About the Author

Julie Segraves is a freelance writer and photographer. She has written for several community newspapers in Chicago and authors her own blog. Segraves graduated from Loyola University with a Bachelor's in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. She currently works in the IT field as a mainframe operations analyst and disaster recovery specialist.