The United States Government grants its citizens the right to access public records online from local governments or through federal websites and their affiliates. On the basis of Freedom of Information Act, citizens can obtain certain public records by submitting a formal request. There are various kinds of public records namely criminal records. Court and Jail records like active and outstanding warrants, court dockets, jail roster numbers and more can be obtained by the citizens of United States on

The government feels its responsibility is to generate an awareness among people about the citizens criminal past by sharing records with them. Information about those individuals who have been charged or convicted for crimes can be obtained from Court Clerks. Criminals can prove dangerous for the common people and not having enough information about their criminal activities and past can make people vulnerable. Criminals hiding their identity and manipulating events and facts associated with their life, can deceive the people and may cause them harm. By accessing criminal lookup records that have been recorded and stored by various law making and other related agencies, people can know about the criminals and their misdeeds and thus can remain vigilant against their questionable character.

Though the government provides people access to criminal lookups and other public records, obtaining them is not so easy. It is the discretion of the government to allow access to certain records and deny access to others which it deems as confidential and sensitive. The government may decide to reveal some information about a case while withholding some other information related with it. If you are keen to obtain such records, you have to state the purpose why you want them.

A criminal lookup record can contain mugshots which are photographs of a person’s face that has been charged with a particular criminal offence. The other things featuring in a criminal lookup record can be arrest logs, warrants, court documents, most wanted and criminal information.

For accessing such information related to criminals, their activities, jail stay, sentencing, etc., one needs to visit the websites of the agencies designated by the government like the Sheriff’s office, court clerks and jails. Also these can be accessed on some private websites who procure such information after making payment to the records provider databases and then put up the information on their websites.

Alternatively people can access public records by visiting in-person the offices of the designated agencies. Though they can view the information on the website or in the office of an agency for free, they have to pay certain fee for obtaining a copy of the information or for downloading it. They can pay for it in cash, credit card or money order. They may either choose to obtain the entire document or some specific portion of it.

The government charges money for letting people obtain copy of the required public records as it has to spend its money for researching and documenting the information. The clerk-recorder associated with a court clerk’s office examines the criminal information, accepts it and records it for enabling public viewing later. These records are archived for 5 years after a case gets closed. People can also access these records through mail.

The agencies designated by the government like Sheriff’s Office, courts and jails keep on updating the information on their website as more arrests are made and people are charged for crimes, apply for bail, sentenced and sent to prisons. Friends and relatives of the persons charged with crime can locate their presence in a given jail in a given area by visiting the website of the jail, court or Sheriff’s office. They can find information about a person’s stay in particular prison by putting his name, birth date, docket number, etc. on the finder option of a website. Thus they can accordingly prepare for bail for him or visit him at the jail.

To visit the jail premises for meeting a prison inmate, people will have to follow the rules and regulations established by the jail authorities. This would include meeting prisoners during the allocated hours. They would also be told about things which they can give to the prisoners and which they cannot. They can also get the money deposited in the prisoners’ account. Such rules are strictly implemented by the jail authorities to ensure there is no breach of security in the jail.

Information about ongoing cases can also be obtained by the victims and their relatives through the court’s website so they can know about the latest updates about their cases being tried in the court.

Apart from public, public records including criminal lookup records can also be accessed by government agencies like National Driver Registry and non-governmental agencies like potential employers, educational institutions and firearm dealers to gain more information about an individual’s criminal past.

Police departments also maintain records of the people charged with crimes or sentenced for criminal activities, but these are not shared with the public. Press people can access such information if they are authorized to obtain it for further sharing it with the public through their write-ups.

Such proper documentation and stocking of records by the designated government agencies like courts, jails or Sheriff’s office enable the public to access criminal background checks and other public records with ease. This helps to make them aware about the whereabouts of the criminals charged with various crimes and lets them better protect their interests. The United States Government is not only providing its citizens the right to access public records, but has also made the necessary arrangements for setting up the institutions, appointing personnel there and overseeing their functions. So records meant for public viewing can be properly maintained, stocked and readily shared with the public. In this way United States Government is doing a commendable job for enlightening the public by providing them ready access to such records.

If you are keen to view criminal lookup records and other public records, you can visit the designated agencies or visit their websites. Before accessing the documents, you should be aware of the rules and regulations involved with accessing the documents. So you are clear on which record you are authorized to access and which you are restricted from.