In North Carolina, you can access some information about criminal charges for free if you check certain official websites that are open to the public. Sometimes, with a minimal amount of navigation, you can find out every charge a person has been convicted of in North Carolina.
Navigate to the North Carolina Department of Correction’s website. As a member of the public and not law enforcement, you will only be able to access certain information. The information on this site dates back to 1972.
Type in all the information you know about the person you are searching in the “Offender Search” form. Be sure you select “All” next to “Offender Status” or you will not be able to see entries for people who are inactive in the corrections system.
Click “Search” and on the next screen click on the hyperlinked DOC Number of the person you are looking for, if it is found. The search results will list last name, first name, gender, race and age so that you can be certain the person listed is the one for whom you are searching. Depending on the age of the record, there may be a mug shot picture available.
Read the next screen and to learn about offenses and jail terms. You will also be able to learn if the person is currently is an absconder—fleeing from the law.
Print the page, if desired, by clicking the gray “Printable Version” button and then clicking the printer icon in the PDF viewer on the next screen.
Navigate to the NC VINE system to search for people who are being held in county jails.
Type the person’s last and first name into the form fields. You must know both to complete a search; you will not be able to look at a single list of inmates.
Click “Search” and on the next page click the hyperlinked name of the person you are researching. To confirm it is the right person, you will see information about age, custody status and where he is being held.
On the “Offender Details” screen you may have access to a photo of the inmate if one has been taken. You will not be able to see information about his crime, but once you know where he is being incarcerated you can usually find out why by visiting a jail’s website or sheriff department’s website.
Visit the website for a specific county’s jail or sheriff’s department if there is one available and locate their inmate search feature if it exists. County jail websites typically list only the people who were recently incarcerated. For example, Durham County Sheriff’s office has a link to its “Inmate Population Search” where you can see records for people who have been booked in the past 30 days or those who are still in custody. On the site, the crime committed is listed directly below the name of the inmate.
If you cannot find a listing for a certain person, that doesn’t mean she does not have a criminal record. It may simply mean she committed a crime long enough ago that it is not available for public viewing.
- If you cannot find a listing for a certain person, that doesn't mean she does not have a criminal record. It may simply mean she committed a crime long enough ago that it is not available for public viewing.
Margaret Bryant is a long-time resident of North Carolina. She has recently written extensively for GolfLink and eHow. She has been writing for publication since 1999. Bryant holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language/literature.