Are Criminal Records Public In Arkansas?
In Arkansas, criminal records are classified as public records and hence subject to disclosure. The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) authorizes relevant agencies to provide access to the public for inspection and copying of criminal records. Persons, third-parties, and state agencies seeking information about the criminal history of an individual may also access the required information.
However, criminal records that have been expunged or placed under a restriction are prohibited from public access. Most juvenile records are also automatically sealed and are therefore not publicly accessible, except for delinquency adjudications in which a juvenile could have been tried as an adult. Copies of criminal records in the state are maintained in the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC) database.
What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Arkansas?
A criminal record is an official document containing all non-expunged criminal activities of the record’s subject. An Arkansas criminal record contains criminal information collected by all local, county, and state law enforcement agencies, trials, and appellate courts and correctional facilities. The data therein lists arrests, indictments, judgments, and pending dispositions.
Generally, an Arkansas criminal record features:
- The subject’s full name and known aliases
- Physical descriptors such as tattoos and hair color
- Subject’s date of birth
- Past and present indictments
- Arrest information
- Past and outstanding warrants
- Disposition and Conviction information
- Jail details
- Bail and Bond details
How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Arkansas?
Although the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC) maintains the database for criminal histories in Arkansas, the Center does not provide background checks or criminal records to individuals. Persons desiring to look up their criminal records may do so at the Identification Bureau division of the Arkansas State Police (ASP). Criminal records obtained from the ASP contain an individual’s felony and misdemeanor conviction record, pending felony arrests (where the subject has been arrested and has not gone to trial) within the previous three years sex-offender status.
Certain information such as misdemeanors pending in court, arrests that ended in the case being dismissed, nol prossed, and traffic records are usually not contained in the criminal records provided by the ASP to individuals.
Criminal records obtained from the Arkansas State Police (ASP) are sourced from the criminal history information at the ACIC database. By combining the ACIC database with the Arkansas Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the ASP can connect all arrests based on fingerprints and provide a more accurate criminal history information for individuals than what is possible with a name-based search. Therefore, irrespective of individuals providing a false name or two persons sharing a common name, the correct criminal record can still be accessed. The ASP criminal records are based on submissions of fingerprint arrest cards from the law enforcement agencies in the state and not just court records.
To obtain a criminal record, complete an Individual Record Check Request (ASP–122) form and include a self-addressed stamped envelope alongside a check or money order of $25 made payable to the Arkansas State Police. Payment by cash or credit cards is not accepted. Mail submissions to:
Arkansas State Police
1 State Police Plaza Drive
Little Rock, AR 72209
The Arkansas State Police (ASP) also accepts in-person requests at the ASP headquarters at I–30 at Geyer Springs Road (exit 133) in Little Rock, Arkansas. In-person requests to the Identification Bureau may be made from Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding state holidays. The Bureau usually responds to requests between two to five business days, excluding mail time.
Requesters are advised not to submit requests to the local Troop Headquarters or the ASP Criminal Investigation Division. Arkansas criminal records may also be released to a third party as long as the party has a signed written consent and a notarized ASP–122 form of the record’s subject.
For more information on obtaining criminal records from the Arkansas State Police ID bureau, call the Bureau’s contact line at (501) 618–8500.
How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Arkansas?
Criminal records in Arkansas may only be obtained for a nominal fee of $22. The Arkansas State Police (ASP) does not offer waivers for the processing fee.
However, the agency provides a means for several volunteer organizations to obtain criminal records at a reduced fee. Such organizations include soccer or softball associations, Red Cross, churches, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The waiver is provided to help limit the undetected movement of offenders, especially sex-offenders who may gain access to children by volunteering time to work with them.
Volunteer organizations must obtain specific information from prospective members before looking up their criminal records with the ASP. This information includes name, race, date of birth, and social security number. Organizations are advised to get the information directly from the prospect’s Arkansas Driver’s License or identification card. A signed release from the prospect is also required and must remain in the volunteer agency files for three years. With the service provided by the ASP, volunteer organizations are also able to see the sex-offender status of prospective members and what levels they belong to in the registry.
Obtaining an individual’s criminal record by a volunteer organization costs $11 per request on the Arkansas criminal background check portal. The portal requires an INA subscription before use. Each service request by mail costs $10. Ensure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive the results. To obtain a criminal record as a volunteer organization, use the Individual Record Check Request (Volunteer Only) form.
How To Search A Criminal Records Online In Arkansas?
The Arkansas State Police (ASP) provides an online portal where the public may request criminal records. The Official State of Arkansas Online Criminal Background Check (CBC) System provides public access to certain criminal records for authorized persons. Requesters must create an account with the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) to use the portal. An INA subscription costs $25 and can be requested by mail. This fee is waived for state agencies and educational institutions. Individuals who already received INA services may be able to add this service without incurring the registration fee.
To use the Arkansas Online Criminal Background Check System, follow this procedure:
- Log on to the online CBC portal with a registered INA credential.
- Select the “Search” tab and provide the required details; first name, last name, date of birth, sex, race, social security number, purpose, and search type (state/FBI).
- Confirm that the correct information has been provided on the search confirmation page and select submit.
- View the search result of the subject (if a criminal history exists). There is a print feature for users to copy the record. Reports will be available for 14 days from when the user first views the search results.
In some instances, the portal may not return an instantaneous result after a user initiates a search. In such situations, additional information may be requested by the system from the users. This information includes the driver’s license number, place of birth, and residence of the applicant. The requests will be shown as “pending.” Users will be notified by mail once the search request is ready. The status of such results may be viewed by selecting the “pending” tab on the online CBC system. Other than the INA subscription, users are required to pay a fee of $22 per search, while volunteer organizations may pay a reduced fee of $11.
Note that a non-criminal organization or person obtaining criminal history information are prohibited from utilizing it for purposes other than those stated in their request. Any individual who uses a criminal record for any purpose not specified in the request commits a Class A misdemeanor offense under Arkansas law.
The Arkansas State Police also provides an Open criminal history (ARCH) portal for citizens who may want to perform a personal search inquiry for other purposes such as those not mandated by law. To use the ARCH portal, users must provide the last name, first name, date of birth, and sex of the subject. Requests cost $24 per search.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Get Criminal Records Expunged/sealed In Arkansas?
Individuals who qualify to have their criminal records expunged in Arkansas may appeal to the court where the conviction occurred. Under the Arkansas Expungement Act, an expunged record can no longer be accessed by the public because it is treated as a confidential record. Expungement is a court-ordered process that mandates the removal of police and court records from public inspection. Arkansas permits expunction for:
- First-time offenders charged with a driving offense or a controlled substance offense who have fully satisfied probation terms
- Pardoned minors and non-violent felonies committed before the age of 18
- Persons arrested but not charged
- Persons arrested and charged, but the charges were dismissed, acquitted, nolle prosequi
- Class A negligent homicide
- Third-degree battery
- Third-degree domestic battery
- Indecent exposure
- Fourth-degree sexual assault
- Driving or boating while intoxicated
- Class C and Class D felonies
- Unclassified felonies
- Certain drug convictions
- Victims of human trafficking
Ineligible offenses for expungement in Arkansas are:
- Class Y offenses
- Class A or Class B felony offenses that are not drug offenses
- An unclassified felony that carries a maximum sentence of more than ten years
- Felony sex offense
- Violent Felonies
- Felonies for which a portion of the sentence was served as an inmate in the Arkansas Department of Corrections
- A traffic offense, if the offender held a commercial driver’s license or a commercial deriver’s permit at the time of conviction.
Most felony offenses eligible for expunction require a five-year waiting period before sealing. The petitioner is also expected not to have more than one prior felony conviction. Individuals with misdemeanor convictions must wait 60 days after meeting all the conditions and court orders on the sentence for minor offenses. However, the statute of limitations on more serious misdemeanors is five years. Non-conviction misdemeanor offenses require a waiting period of one year.
Obtaining the Judgement and Commitment Order and the Sentencing Order to find out the details of the sentence may help an applicant in determining eligibility for expungement. In cases where these documents are not available, individuals may obtain them from the clerk’s office where sentencing occurred. Nominal fees of $5 may be charged to obtain copies. After carefully determining eligibility, applicants are required to complete the appropriate forms. Arkansas provides separate forms depending on the offense type and circumstance:
For Petition and Order to Seal felony under Act 1460 of 2013:
- Petition Form
- Order Form
Petition and Order to Seal misdemeanors under Act 1460 of 2013:
- Petition Form
- Order Form
Petition and Order to Seal Records of nolle prosequi, dismissals, judgments of acquittals, and charges not filed under Act 1460 of 2013:
- Petition Form
- Order Form
Depending on the circumstance, other relevant forms may be found on the forms page of the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC).
Completed Petition and Order to Seal forms must be submitted to the county’s circuit or district court where the crime was committed. Copies of both forms will be sent to the prosecutor and arresting agency. Arkansas law requires anyone that opposes the sealing of the record to file a notice of opposition with the court within 30 days of receiving the petition. If a notice of opposition is received, the court will set a hearing date for the applicant to appear before the court. If the court decides a record should be sealed or no notice of opposition was received, the Order to Seal the record will be signed by the judge. Applicants are required to file the signed Order with the court clerk.
Who Can See My Expunged/sealed Records In Arkansas?
Although the public cannot view expunged records, law enforcement agencies such as the Arkansas Crime Information Center still have access to the records. The list of persons who can see an expunged record is quite small. It usually only includes the record’s subject, the subject’s attorney, and the prosecuting attorney. A prosecuting attorney may request to view an individual’s sealed criminal records if the subject is being prosecuted for another crime. If an individual is convicted of a crime after sealing a criminal record, the judge may request to view the sealed records.
Certain persons or entities may also have access to expunged records in limited circumstances. Employers may request to see expunged records of prospective or current employees. Such employers include those in:
- Nursing homes
- Criminal justice agencies