What Defines a Criminal Record in New York?
A criminal record is defined as an official document that records a person’s criminal history. The information is assembled and updated from local, county and state jurisdictions, trial courts, courts of appeals as well as county and state correctional facilities. The standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, but the majority of New York criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report. This report is accessed through a number of courts, police departments and the official New York State Records Online Database. The amount of criminal records information presented on StateRecords.org will vary from individual to individual as well as what resources were used to collect the information because different sources often have non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes. Criminal records in the state of New York generally include the following subjects:
New York Arrest Records
An arrest record is an official document providing information regarding a person that has been questioned, apprehended, taken into custody, placed in detention, held for investigation and/or charged with, indicted or tried for any felony, misdemeanor or other offense by any law enforcement or military authority. In New York, a person can be arrested once they commit a misdemeanor amounting to a minor of an act as a breach of the peace or they commit a felony where there are reasonable grounds to believe they committed the crime, New York Consolidated Laws, Criminal Procedure Law
. The arrest should be issued when the offender is to face court for the crime he committed, otherwise the person is to be called for questioning.
New York Arrest Warrants
An arrest warrant is an official document that is signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state jurisdictions, which authorizes a police officer to arrest or detain the person or people named in the warrant or to search and seize the individual’s property. In New York, the law enforcement officer can arrest with or without an arrest warrant, New York Arrest Warrants
. The arrest without an arrest warrant is done when the law enforcement officer has grounds to believe that the person committed the crime, the arrest warrant is always signed by a judge and includes the full details of the offender and the crime he is to be arrested for.
New York Misdemeanors
A misdemeanor is a non-indictable offense and is generally less severe than felonies; however, like felonies, a misdemeanor charge is categorized by a number-based system designed to describe the severity of the alleged crime. The state of New York has three types of misdemeanor offenses: Class A, Class B, and unclassified misdemeanors, Misdemeanor Guide
. Class A misdemeanor offenses are the most serious, while Class B misdemeanors are the least serious. The category of unclassified misdemeanors includes both more and less serious offenses.
New York Felonies
A felony offense is a criminal conviction with a maximum sentence of more than 1 year, which is to be served in a county jail or state prison. In some cases, a felony conviction can even be punished by death. New York organizes felonies into six different classes, ranging from Class E, the least serious type, to Class A, the most serious. Class A felonies are further divided into two subcategories: Class A-I and Class A-II, New York Sentencing Guide
. New York’s felony sentencing laws are somewhat complicated, imposing sentences based on several factors. There are two basic types of felony sentences in New York: indeterminate and determinate.
New York Sex Offender Listing
A sex offender listing is a registry of persons who were convicted of committing a sex crime that is often accessible by the public. In most cases, jurisdictions compile their laws into sections, such as traffic, assault and sexual. Judges are given discretion as to whether they require registration for crimes besides the charges listed under the sex offender registration law, Search Sex Offender Registry
. A judge may order an adult to register as a sex offender if the crime they were convicted of involves sexual motivation.
New York Serious Traffic Violation
A serious traffic violation tends to involve willful disregard for public safety, death, serious bodily injury, damage to property and multiple minor traffic violations. Traffic fines in New York and other costs associated will depend on various factors, such as the: type of violation, number of points on the driving record, the court handling the case, county the ticket was given. Expect the fees, the offenders might also complete the traffic school or a defensive driving course.
New York Conviction Records
A conviction record is an official document providing information that a person was found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges can be classified as a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. Conviction also includes when a person has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment that was deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.
New York Jail and Inmate Records
Jail and inmate records are official documents of information about a person’s current and sometimes past inmate status. A person who is in jail or considered an inmate is someone who has been deprived of their civil liberties and is on trial for a crime or is serving, which maintains an inmate database that is often searchable online a prison sentence after being convicted of a crime. Most states have a Department of Corrections, About DOCCS
. These records often include the inmate’s name, incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense and sometimes photos.
New York Parole Information
Parole records are an official document that includes information regarding the release of a prisoner who agreed to certain conditions prior to completion of their maximum sentence. While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the board shall require as a condition of parole that they pay a monthly supervision fee of not less than $30, unless the board agrees to accept a lower fee after determining inability of the prisoner to pay. The board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems appropriate in order to ensure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of New York are served.
New York Probation Records
Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in New York to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer Conditions of Probation
. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case. Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive – intensive is a form of very strict probation that has conditions that vary from state to state but that emphasize punishment and control of the offender within the community.
New York Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information regarding criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered to be convicted of a crime like an adult but instead are found to be “adjudicated delinquent.”These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
New York History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. New York criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s when criminal and arrest data started to be centralized and compiled into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by the human error in the past, but in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer, so the information provided on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.
New York Megan’s Law
Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and maintain a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government implemented a requirement that all states establish sex offender registries and provide the public with information about those registered, Conditions of Probation
. In New York the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) requires anyone on parole or probation or imprisoned for a sex offense on January 21, 1996, to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. In addition, sex offenders sentenced to probation, local jail, or state prison after that date must register upon their return to the community. The law is amended periodically by the New York State Legislature to add additional registerable offenses.