8 Ways to Find Arrest and Court Records

Do you need to find out background information on someone, such as old arrest records, possible criminal activity, or court records? While accessing this information can be difficult depending on what you need and why you need it, historical and criminal activity is often found in public records. Many of these records are available only in certain circumstances while others are freely available for all to access. In some cases, you will have to get permission to access background information. Whether you can legally access court records and arrest information can depend on your location, as well. States and localities have different laws regarding privacy and records.

Once you have determined the legality of your search and the correct processes you need to follow in order to access information, there are several ways to find arrest records and criminal information:

Inmate Lookup


If you know the person’s full name, you can conduct an inmate lookup on the website of the relevant state or federal prison system. This will show if the individual is currently incarcerated and can also provide information on their criminal history. You can also do inmate lookups through private companies and some websites. An inmate lookup can help you to find incarcerated people or see if they were recently released and from where, such as a Tarrant County inmate search. Sometimes, you can also find out their charges and court dates.

In addition to the basic details, the inmate lookup service may reveal other pertinent information such as the inmate’s inmate number, mugshot, projected release date, and details about the facility they’re housed in. Remember that the amount and type of data available can vary greatly based on the institution’s policies, the country, or the jurisdiction under which the inmate falls.

Many local sheriff’s departments also maintain online databases, which can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to locate an inmate in a city or county jail. These may include a Los Angeles County inmate search, an Orange County inmate search, or a Travis County inmate search. You simply need to know where the individual might be incarcerated.

Conducting an inmate lookup isn’t limited to just one person either; you can use these resources to search for multiple individuals if needed. This can be beneficial for legal practitioners, investigators, or even family members trying to locate several incarcerated loved ones. However, it’s important to note that some data may be delayed or might not reflect recent changes in an inmate’s status.

It’s also crucial to remember that the details available via an inmate lookup should not be used for illegal purposes or harassment. This information is provided for public safety, and its misuse may be subject to legal consequences. Furthermore, respect for the privacy and dignity of incarcerated individuals should be upheld at all times, even when conducting this type of research.

In some cases, these databases may provide additional resources, such as victim notification systems, which alert victims when a criminal’s custody status changes. These features are an added bonus of the inmate lookup system, providing valuable peace of mind to those affected by the crimes committed.

Still, keep in mind that there are expungement lawyers like those from Kania Law Office who can legally seal minor criminal records for those seeking to start anew.

Public Records Search

Many state and local government agencies maintain public records of arrests and criminal convictions. You can check with the county or state where the individual lives or where the arrest occurred to see if they have a public records search database available online or in person. In some cases, you will have to get permission or pay a fee in order to access this information. Which records you will have access to can depend on the state and locality you are in and what you are going to do with the information.

Background Check Companies

For some situations, you can hire a background check company that specializes in performing criminal history searches. These companies often have access to multiple databases and can provide more comprehensive information on an individual’s arrest record. You can often find out information from more than one state or agency easier if you use a background check company than you can when performing individual searches on your own. This is especially true if you are seeking information from different states or countries or if you aren’t sure where and when arrest and court events might have taken place.

Online Search Engines


Some online search engines can be used to search for an individual’s arrest record. However, the information found may be limited, depending on jurisdiction and available information. If your location doesn’t allow record searches or only allows them in certain circumstances, you might not find the information you need in online search engines. On the other hand, if your state or locality allows these records to be made public, you might better be able to find the information you are seeking by using search engines.

Law Enforcement Agencies

If you have a valid reason for needing to know an individual’s arrest record, you can contact the law enforcement agency that made the arrest or the agency that maintains the criminal records for that jurisdiction. The processes you need to follow in order to access this information can vary with jurisdiction and state. However, if you have a legal reason for accessing the information, contacting local agencies is often the best way to find it. Not only do they have access to all the records, but they are often the best source for learning about the processes and forms needed in order to access records for yourself.

Hire a Private Investigator

If you need detailed or hard-to-find information, you could consider hiring a private investigator. Private investigators are professionals who specialize in gathering information and conducting investigations. They can often access databases and resources that are not available to the general public and can provide more detailed information on an individual’s arrest record. In other cases, they are limited to the same information as the general public but they are better equipped and trained to find information in places where other people might not think to look.

Court Records Search


In some areas, you can search court records to find information on an individual’s criminal history, including arrests and convictions. Court records are typically available online or at the courthouse where the case was heard. While many court records are considered public information, you may still need a valid reason in order to access them. You might need to fill out a form, get permission, and pay a fee. In other situations, public court records are available either in person or online without filing anything or paying a fee.

Social Media

Some people, including lawyers, use social media to help them find out more about a person’s past. While not a reliable source of information, you can sometimes find information on an individual’s arrests, time spent in jail or prison, and the charges they are fighting. Usually, this is because they may mention it in a post or in their profile information, or in some cases they mention it while they are discussing their past. Using social media in this way is usually legal if the information that the person gives isn’t protected in some other way and as long as you have legal access to the profile, such as when the profile is public.


When you are seeking arrest information, court records, and background information, you should make sure that you have a valid, legal reason to access the information and that you go through the proper channels. It’s important to note that some states and areas have restrictions on who can access arrest records and what information can be released. Be sure to check the laws in your area and make sure that you have done the necessary work and research before conducting a search or attempting to access records.