What are New York Criminal Records?
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, also referred to as rap sheets, are mostly assembled from various jurisdictions within the state, specifically trial and appeal courts, law enforcement agencies, and local and state-run correctional institutions.
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.
Criminal records are one of several police records compiled on offenders and persons who have entered the New York criminal justice system. Others include arrest records, arrest warrants, and logs of police activities.
Are New York Criminal Records Public?
Yes, New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) permits the public to access all 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 (NYDCJS) is tasked with maintaining the state’s 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. The NYDCJS, however, only allows interested persons to request their own criminal records. Individuals that wish to view state public criminal records on another person must query the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) online or by mail.
Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:
- The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
- The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.
Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.
How to Obtain Criminal Records in New York?
The New York State OCA allows the public to perform a criminal record search (CHRS) in order to obtain criminal records. Online applicants may submit their applications on the Direct Access page. The search fee is $95 and they will receive the result of their search by email the following business day.
In-person or mail-in applicants may perform a criminal record search by completing a Criminal History Record Search (CHRS) Application Form. Applicants must include their name, address, phone number, and other related information, then fill out the full name and date of birth of the criminal history record sought. The applicant must attach the $95 fee and submit the package in person or by mail to:
Criminal History Record Search
NYS Office of Court Administration
Office of Administrative Services
Criminal History Record Search
25 Beaver Street (Room 840 - Front Desk)
New York, NY 10004
In-person applicants will receive the result of their search the following business day - either by email or pickup. The OCA will respond to mail-in applications the following business day after receiving them.
Individuals that wish to perform a free public criminal record check in New York may use the New York State Unified Court System’s Criminal Case Lookup page for on-demand court records of criminal cases with future appearance. Interested parties may also look to third-party websites for free New York criminal records.
What are 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.
New York police reports and police records are different from arrest records, but the terms are commonly used interchangeably. While arrest records are one of the components of police records, police records also include incident reports and logs of police activity.
Are New York Arrest Records Public?
Yes, New York arrest records are public, according to the state’s FOIL. Although there is no central repository for anyone looking to perform an arrest search, local law enforcement generates public arrest records when they apprehend suspects.
Interested persons may visit a local New York police station to obtain an arrest record. However, individuals looking for free arrest records may be disappointed, as the stations will at least charge administrative costs for accessing and copying records.
What are New York Arrest Warrants?
New York arrest warrants are official documents that are issued by a judge and provide legal authorization for the arrest, detention, and interrogation of a person within the jurisdiction of the state. In New York, arrests may be made without a 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.
There are no central stores for individuals looking to carry out a New York warrant search. Interested persons may query the DEA Fugitive Search tool or the U.S. Marshall's Warrant Information System for an active warrant search.
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 New York Inmate Records?
New York inmate records are official documents pertaining to local and state-run correctional facilities as well as persons incarcerated and housed in these institutions. These jail 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 the public can use to perform an inmate search. These records often include details of the inmate’s incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense, and sometimes photos.
What is the New York Sex Offender Registry?
The New York state sex offender registry is a public listing of information regarding registered sex offenders. These listings typically feature the full name and aliases of sex offenders in New York, their addresses, conviction histories, and persons convicted of committing a sex crime that is often accessible by the public. Most jurisdictions at the county level also manage listings per the New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). These listings are publicly accessible for free.
What is a DWI in New York?
Driving while impaired (DWI), or drunk driving, is one of the more serious traffic violations in New York. A DWI in New York refers to the crime of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% for adults, 0.04% for commercial vehicle operators, and 0.01% for minors.
New York mandates law enforcement officials to stop drivers that appear impaired and to administer field sobriety tests. Police officers will arrest drivers whose BAC is above the limit. The penalties for a DUI in New York include fines between $500 - $1000, 1-7 years in prison, and license suspension for 90 days to one year.
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
What are New York Parole Records?
Parole records are official documents that contain information regarding the release of inmates 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 parolee 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.
What are 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 office. 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 by a probation officer or intensive. Intensive probation 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.
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”. They are tried in a juvenile court and remanded to a juvenile detention center.
Juvenile 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 in the juvenile justice system 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.
What are New York 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.
History and Accuracy of New York 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.
Find New York Criminal History Record for Free
A New York criminal history record, also known as a "rap sheet," is a document that details a person's arrest, indictment, and conviction information within the State of New York.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) maintains New York criminal history records. These records are confidential by law and only available to eligible parties like employers, law enforcement officials, and subjects of records. The DCJS does not furnish third parties with such criminal justice information.
Generally, to obtain a criminal record (or criminal background check) in New York, the subject of the record must submit their fingerprints to the DCJS. If an eligible party other than the subject requires the record, there must be a law directing the party to ask the subject to schedule a fingerprinting appointment. Upon receiving a criminal record request, the DCJS charges a fingerprinting processing fee of $13.50 to each requester residing in New York and $43.50 to a requester living outside New York State.
However, record holders can request a criminal history record fee waiver by emailing RecordReview@dcjs.ny.gov or sending a mail request to the following address:
Records Review Unit
New York Division of Criminal Justice Services
80 South Swan Street, 5th Floor
Albany, NY 12210
If the DCJS approves the waiver, the record holder will not pay any fee to obtain their criminal history record.
It is worth mentioning that third parties can obtain another person's New York public criminal record from the Office of Court Administration (OCA) for $95. However, unlike the DCJS criminal records service, the OCA does not provide fee waiver options.
Are Police Records Public in New York?
Yes, police records are available to the public in New York. Police records are official documents containing details about law enforcement activities. Examples include arrest records, 911 tapes, police blotters, incident/offense records, etc.
However, some police records are confidential and can only be assessed by eligible persons. The exempt records, according to Section 87 of the New York Freedom of Information Law, include:
- Any record whose disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
- Any record whose dissemination would interfere with a law enforcement investigation or judicial proceeding
- Records revealing the identity of a confidential source
- Records showing confidential information related to a criminal investigation
- Any record whose disclosure would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication
- Records that reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures
- Records that may endanger the life or safety of any person
How to Obtain Police Records in New York
At the state level, individuals can obtain public police records from the New York State Police (NYSP) by providing the following information:
- Requestor information, including a name, phone number, city, and mailing address
- Record information, such as the incident number, type, date, time, location, and the names or dates of birth of the parties involved.
New York State Police
Attn: Records Access Officer
1220 Washington Avenue, Building 22
Albany, NY 12226-2252
Record seekers must also pay a $15 fee per record and 25 cents for each additional page (not over 9 "x14"). However, additional fees may apply based on the type and preparation of records requested.
Interested persons can also contact their local police departments to obtain police records. The procedures for requesting police records are often outlined on the police department's website.
Are Police Reports Public Record?
A police report is an official document describing an event, incident, or crime. It usually contains the names of victims and witnesses, offense timelines and circumstances, and other pertinent facts. Generally, police reports help law enforcement officers investigate criminal and non-criminal incidents and serve as evidence during court proceedings. Examples of police reports produced in New York include:
- Crime/incident reports
- Administrative reports
- Traffic reports
- Intelligence reports
- Accident reports
- Domestic violence reports
Police reports are public records in New York, but limitations might be placed on the information released to the public. For instance, any information in a police report that will interfere with investigations or judicial proceedings or put a person's life at risk is barred from public viewing.
How to File a Police Report with New York Law Enforcement
New York residents can file police reports online via their local law enforcement agency websites using an online incident reporting service. The tool allows the public to speedily report non-emergency crimes or incidents to their police departments or sheriff's offices and helps the police direct resources to more urgent incidents.
The criteria to file a police report in New York differs by the police agency, but the following are standard:
- The incident must not be an emergency or in progress
- The incident must occur within the jurisdiction of the police agency receiving the report.
- The individual reporting the incident must be the victim or have responsibility or control over the property.
- The reporter must not know who committed the crime.
- The crime should not be captured on video.
- The reporter must have a valid email address.
- The reporter must be at least 18 years old.
Reportable incidents vary by jurisdiction and can include criminal mischief, lost property, theft, vandalism, and harassing phone calls.
Once a report is submitted, the police agency will review it and may contact the victim to confirm the submission, assign a complaint number, or collect more information. Under Section 240.50 of the New York Penal Law, intentionally filing a false police report is a class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and a jail term of one year.
Where to Find Free Public Police Records
Local and state law enforcement agencies in New York make certain police records available to the public under the New York Freedom of Information Law. Hence, citizens can inspect such records for free at the physical locations of law enforcement agencies. However, some public police records are only disseminated as copies. For instance, record seekers must pay a search fee of $7 (online) or $10 (by mail) and an additional $15 per report to order accident reports in New York.
Also, individuals can find free public police records (for example, arrest/booking records) via online public records databases provided by local police departments and sheriff's offices.
How to Find Mugshots in New York
A mugshot is a close-up photograph of a suspect or criminal taken by the police. It usually comes in a set showing the frontal view, profile view, and back of the head of the person.
The public can access mugshots under New York's Freedom of Information Law. Thus, law enforcement agencies may disseminate these pictures upon request at their physical addresses or publish mugshots on their websites for public inspection. For instance, individuals may find mugshots on a police agency's inmate search or sex offender database.