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What Defines a Criminal Record in New York?

New York criminal records are official documents that detail the criminal history information of persons within the state. The information contained in these records typically includes the subject’s various offenses as well as their arrest history, charges, court judgments/convictions, and pending dispositions. These records are mostly assembled from various jurisdictions within the state specifically trial and appeal courts, law enforcement agencies and local and state-run correctional institutions.


What is Contained in a New York Criminal Record?

New York criminal records typically feature the following:

  • The full name of the subject of the record (including any aliases)
  • A mugshot of the subject and details of unique physical descriptors
  • The birth date, gender, and nationality of the subject
  • A full set of fingerprints
  • Details of all indictments (both past and most recent)
  • Arrest information as well as past/outstanding warrants
  • Conviction information and pending dispositions.

New York Arrest Records

New York state arrest records are official documents that provide information regarding the apprehension, detention, and questioning of a person following their alleged involvement in criminal activity. While these records do not constitute proof of the arrestee’s involvement in criminal activity, arrests may only be made where there are reasonable grounds to believe they committed the crime. Most New York generated arrest records include:

  • Details of the alleged criminal offense
  • The full name, alias, birthdate, gender and nationality/ethnicity
  • The date, time and place of the arrest
  • The case status
  • The name of the arresting officer
  • The address of the holding facility or detention center.

What are Arrest Warrants?

New York arrest warrants are official documents that are issued by a judge and provide legal authorization for the arrest, detention and/or interrogation of a person within the jurisdiction of the state.

Can Arrest be made Without a Warrant in New York?

While required, arrests may be made without a New York arrest warrant. This may be the case if the law enforcement officer is witness to the crime, or if there is probable cause to believe that the arrestee has committed a felony offense. Arrest warrants typically feature details such as the full name and alias of the arrestee, the arresting agency, the place and time where the arrest may occur and the expiry date of the warrant (if applicable). While most warrants have an indicated validity period, bench warrants do not.

What are Misdemeanors in New York?

New York state misdemeanors are non-indictable offenses considered to be less severe than felonies. They are lesser criminal acts or acts or acts of lower offenses that are punishable by no more than one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. As per New York state law, there are three types of misdemeanor offenses that are generally penalized based on the severity of the crime. 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. Some examples of New York state misdemeanors include:

  • Class A Misdemeanors: Impersonation, identity theft, possession of arms without a permit, petit larceny
  • Class B Misdemeanors: Fortune telling, unlawful assembly, prostitution
  • Unclassified Misdemeanors: Reckless driving DWI

What are Felonies in New York?

Felony offenses are New York’s most severe crimes. The state categorizes these offenses into five different classes, ranging from Class E to Class A for which there is a range of penalties based on the severity of the offense. Overall, most felony crimes are punishable by a minimum of one year to life in prison. Some examples of New York state felonies include:

  • Class A-I Felony: Aggravated murder, first-degree arson, conspiracy, terrorism
  • Class A-II Felony: Predatory sexual assault, criminal use of chemical/biological weapons
  • Class B Felony: Attempted murder, first-degree burglary, bribery, and money laundering
  • Class C Felony: Assault, drug distribution, larceny
  • Class D Felony: Manslaughter, fraud
  • Class E Felony: Aggravated harassment, assault, theft

New York Sex Offender Listing

New York state sex offender listings are public registries that contain information regarding persons convicted of sexual offenses. These listings typically feature the full name and aliases of sex offenders, their addresses, conviction histories and persons convicted of committing a sex crime that is often accessible by the public. While most jurisdictions manage listings based on persons within their specified districts, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service manages a central sex offender registry that houses information regarding all offenders in the state. Listings are made by the discretion of the judges and a judge may order an adult to register as a sex offender if the crime he/she was convicted of involves sexual motivation.

New York Megan’s Law

New York Megan's Law refers to the law that requires the creation and maintenance of sex offender registries, which provide information on registered sex offenders to the public. Following the establishment of the law, New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) was implemented requiring 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.

New York Serious Traffic Violation

New York state serious traffic violations are offenses involving the willful disregard of road safety laws, ultimately resulting in traffic-related mishaps which may involve the destruction of lives and property. The state of New York imposes tickets/fines on offenders and these fines as well as other associated costs will depend primarily on various factors, such as the type of violation and the number of points on the driving record. Other factors may include the court handling the case and the county the ticket was given. In addition to the fees, offenders might also be required to complete a traffic school or a driving course in order to prove their eligibility to operate a vehicle.

What are Conviction Records?

New York conviction records are documents that provide information regarding the indictment and subsequent judgment of a person following a court proceeding. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law and conviction records often indicate that the subject was either found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. These records often include dishonorable discharges, probations, fines, prison sentences, and paroles. However, most records exclude any final judgments which were pardoned, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.

What are Jail and Inmate Records?

New York state Jail and inmate records are official documents pertaining to local and state-run correctional facilities as well as persons incarcerated and housed in these institutions. These records typically include general information regarding the facility such as its location, housing capacity, and staffing details. Inmate records often include the full name and aliases of incarcerated persons as well as their birth date, nationality/ethnicity, and gender. Like in most states the New York Department of Corrections operates a public access database of inmate records that can be searched online. These records often include details of the inmate’s incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense and sometimes photos.

Where to Find 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 the completion of their maximum sentence. The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is charged with operating the Parole Board which oversees all parole-related affairs of the state. All information regarding the board and its processes may be found online or by querying the board through the DCCS. Being that 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, the parole information of most persons differs significantly. As such relevant information regarding an inmate's parole conditions must be made using the identification details of said person.

New York Probation Records

Probation records are official documents that indicate that a person convicted for a crime has been offered the option of serving their sentences out of custody, provided they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation sentences are typically issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation often differ between convicts. Probation may be minimally supervised or intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that has conditions that vary from state to state but that emphasizes punishment and control of the offender within the community.

What are New York Juvenile Criminal Records?

New York state juvenile criminal records are official records detailing 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

Prior to the recent technological developments in record management in the state of New York, all record maintenance processes were primarily undertaken manually. Given its propensity for error, the accuracy of the data of criminal records depends largely on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Other than eliminating human error, the newly adopted methods of record storage allows for easier access to the records as criminal and arrest data have been centralized and compiled into an organized database. That said, varying management processes are adopted by different jurisdictions depending on their unique needs.

How to Find Criminal Records

While New York law enforcement agencies generate and maintain crime-related data and related reports for their jurisdiction, the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services is tasked with maintaining the state central repository of criminal history information. Essentially, the Division organizes these records in online record depositories and makes them available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report. These reports may be accessed from both online and offline sources managed by various offices. In the light of the various non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes adopted by various criminal record sources, the criminal records information presented on varies. However, all records contain the most principal subjects required for evaluating the subject's criminal history.

New York State Archives

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Criminal Record

Criminal Record