How to Find an Arrest Record in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania keeps criminal records available online through the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, which maintains the Unified Judicial System (UJS) website, which is open to the public. UJS catalogs the arrest and subsequent criminal proceedings of cases in Pennsylvania courts. The records available online include criminal charges, non-traffic citations and traffic tickets from the magisterial district or lower courts, the Philadelphia municipal courts, the courts of common pleas in each county and the appellate courts.

Go to the Unified Judicial System website. If the link does not work, the UJS site is among the first listed when searching "UJS Portal."

Move the mouse over the "docket sheets" tab on the gold bar. "Docket sheets" is the fourth from the left. A drop-down list will appear.

Search "magisterial district courts" if you are looking for an arrest outside of Philadelphia. Select "Philadelphia municipal courts" if you are looking for an arrest in the city. Searches for both are nearly identical. If the drop-down list does not function, there are links in the text on the white section of the page just about halfway down under the "Public Web Docket Sheets" heading.

Click on the drop-down list next to "search type" and select the information to use for the search. The options include citation number, date filed, docket number, organization, OTN, participant name and SID.

Type the first and last name of the person whose arrest record you are looking for. The date of birth box below the name boxes can help sort among people with common names, but is not required for a successful search.

Choose any one or a combination of the four drop-down boxes and the date form below the date of birth entry. A combination can be used to narrow the search, but only one of the five options&mdash;county, court office, docket type, case status and date filed&mdash;is necessary.

Click search. The page will reload with a list of criminal cases associated with the name you searched for.

Click on the small box to the left of the cases. A PDF file will open showing the magisterial district court record of the case. It will include the date the charges were filed, information on the arresting officer, agency, and court involved, the defendant&#039;s name, date of birth, sex, race and town of residence, the charges, pending court dates, the amount of bail and will mention if the person is still incarcerated.

Tips

  • Arrests in Pennsylvania&#039;s criminal procedure occur when someone is to be charged with a crime. The accused is brought before a district judge or, in Philadelphia, a municipal judge, who advises the person of his rights and sets bail for release.

Warnings

  • The UJS portal does not include records of federal arrests that occur in Pennsylvania. Federal arrest records are filed by a federal authorities. Federal arrests are not immediately available online as all cases are subject to a grand jury system. A person may be arrested and a grand jury convened before the information becomes available on the federal courts public access site, commonly referred to as PACER.

References

About the Author

Matt Coughlin is a police reporter and freelance journalist from the Philadelphia suburbs with nearly 10 years covering breaking news, investigative stories, features, profiles and social trends for "The Bucks County Courier Times," "Lansdale Reporter" and several weeklies. His newspaper articles can be found at Phillyburbs.com.

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