How to Find Criminal Charges on Someone in North Carolina

Midsection Of Prisoner Sitting On Street Surrounded With Police Force
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In the state of North Carolina, a person can search arrest records by accessing local online databases like the Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI). Agencies will provide information online, such as an offender's name, mugshot and list of criminal charges.

A person can also visit a public self-service terminal at the office of their local clerk of criminal court. They may search for cases by defendant name, case number, or victim or witness name.

Limitations of Local Arrest Data

Local arrest data such as records from CCBI do not include current case status or case dispositions. CCBI does not provide charge or arrest data resulting from infractions, citations or traffic offenses, but does provide the name of the arresting agency and the date of arrest.

Look Up a Court Case

A person can look up a court case for criminal and infraction cases by defendant or by citation number on the website for the North Carolina Judicial Branch. This website also has a link to criminal court calendars by county.

Nc.gov’s judicial branch provides that a district court hears almost all misdemeanor cases, probable cause hearings in felony cases, juvenile proceedings and domestic relations cases.

Felony criminal cases and civil cases involving more than $10,000, including probate cases and infraction appeals from district court, are heard in superior court. The North Carolina Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court and hears only questions of law.

What Constitutes Public Records?

North Carolina offers numerous types of data on a person’s criminal record in public records. A member of the public can request information, including:

  • Police report from a law enforcement agency that investigated the matter and/or was involved in the case. The complete report may not be a public record and may not be available unless the rules of discovery in a criminal case require it to be provided.
  • Record of the criminal case from the clerk of court in the county where the case was heard.
  • Location of an offender in the North Carolina Department of Corrections for prison inmates, probationers and parolees. The person searching needs the name or the offender’s inmate ID. This database does not include county jail information.
  • Residential locations of registered sex offenders in North Carolina.
  • Confidential notifications about an offender’s custody status only to victims, their families and circles of support. This service covers county jail inmates, state prisoners, probationers, parolees and registered sex offenders.

Criminal Background Checks

An individual can request a certified criminal record search by name for themselves or others in a single county through the clerk of superior court office at the courthouse. This search checks only court records in that county; it does not check records statewide. There is a $25 fee for the certified record.

A person can search, view or email criminal records for themselves or others in any county or statewide for free using the public access terminals in the office of the clerk of court at any courthouse. This search is not certified. Printing charges may apply.

Non-certified Background Checks

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) provides a non-certified statewide background check for the person requesting records with a submission of their fingerprint card, form and fee.

A third-party company can conduct an unofficial record check. Each company sets its own fees. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) has a list of companies that obtain information on an ongoing basis pursuant to a licensing agreement.

What Are Not Public Records

Records generated while a law enforcement agency investigates an alleged or known violation of criminal law are not public record, but there are a few exceptions to this rule. North Carolina General Statutes Section 132-1.4 allows public access to:

  • Time, date, location and nature of a violation or apparent violation of the law reported to a public law enforcement agency.
  • Name, sex, age, address, employment and alleged violation of law of a person arrested, charged or indicted.
  • Circumstances surrounding an arrest, including the time and place of the arrest, whether the arrest involved resistance, possession or use of weapons or pursuit and a description of any items seized in connection with the arrest.
  • Contents of 911 and other emergency calls received by, or on behalf of, public law enforcement agencies. If the call reveals the natural voice, name, address, telephone number or other information that may identify the caller, victim or witness, the agency may alter the voice of the callers or provide a transcript rather than a copy of the call.
  • Contents of communications between or among employees of public law enforcement agencies broadcast over the public airways.
  • Name, sex, age and address of a complaining witness.