What is a criminal record?
Your “criminal record” is the broad term we use to include ALL of the information created about any contact you’ve had with law enforcement, the courts, or another part of the criminal justice system. Your “criminal record” includes arrests, charges filed against you, convictions, pleas, acquittals, dismissals, sentences, and any other contact you have had with law enforcement and/or the criminal justice system that was documented (written down).
Here are some examples of how your contact with law enforcement or the criminal justice system can get documented. All of this information is considered part of your criminal record (but note that much of it may be PROTECTED from being seen):
- You were pulled over while driving and arrested for a DUI;
- You received a citation for public disorderliness or having an open container in public;
- You were arrested, and the police wrote up an arrest record;
- You were taken to jail, booked into the system, and fingerprinted;
- You were charged with a crime;
- You were arraigned (appeared before a judge) in court and pleaded guilty or not guilty;
- You were convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison or jail, and the judge wrote a sentencing order;
- You were acquitted of the charges after a trial;
- You agreed to a plea bargain with the prosecutor. In exchange, the prosecutor dismissed some of the charges against you;
- You violated your probation or parole and had your supervision revoked;
- You had your conviction dismissed or expunged
IMPORTANT PROTECTIONS TO KNOW ABOUT: A lot of this information CANNOT be included in a regular background check. For more information about what information can and can’t be included in your background check, see PG. 943.