How to Obtain a Criminal Record for Free

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There are times when you may want to do a background check on someone - whether it's a nanny you're considering hiring to look after your kids, or someone new you're dating. Unfortunately there is no one database that contains all criminal records. But, if you have the Internet, a little time, and determination you can obtain free criminal histories. Each state carries a public records database that will show you a person's criminal and arrest history.

Use the Internet to search a state's public records database. Type the state's name into the search engine followed by the words public records. Click search.

Find the appropriate public records database. There are private companies that try to fool you into buying public records, so make sure the website is an official government website. It is a sure bet if the URL of the site ends with .gov.

Type the name of the person into the database to view their non-expunged criminal, traffic and arrest history. Make sure it is the person you are looking for. There is the possibility that someone with the same name has a criminal record in that state.

Repeat the process for any state the person has lived in.


  • Obtain approximate age and an address for the person in question to make sure you are not viewing the criminal history of the wrong person.


About the Author

Christopher Michael began writing in 2010 for He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Writing sports and travel articles helps support his professional baseball career, which has taken him to 49 states, five continents and four oceans.

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