The answer to this question is not as easy as it might seem for the
* Firstly, very few localities place their entire criminal records
databases in plain sight on the internet.
Example: According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement web
site at [ http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/faq/ ], "Private citizens and
governmental licensing and employment entities may obtain the public
version of a person's Florida state criminal history by special
request, and upon payment of the requisite fees. Public record
requests for criminal history data can also be made on the internet at
http://www2.fdle.state.fl.us . There is a fee of $15 for any
requested Florida criminal history."
* Each state in the USA has its own methods about making these records
public. This also applies to countries outside the USA. Each probably
handles this in a different way.
* In order to obtain a person's criminal record, you may need much
more than just a name. Keep in mind that many people may share the
same name. In order to perform a proper search in the USA, you may
need the person's address, former addresses, social security number,
birthdate, and other personal information. In some cases, you may need
a fingerprint. Outside of the USA, similar rules may apply.
* Privacy laws frequently prevent the release of certain types of
criminal records. This may vary by locality and country. In addition,
many places forbid the release of juvenile criminal record history.
Example: According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center FAQ at [
http://www.state.hi.us/hcjdc/faq.htm ], "Only adult criminal history
information is included, unless the juvenile case was transferred to
the adult court."
* As silly as this may sound, it appears that not all government
agencies have linked their systems together. This means that there is
not one single repository for all the criminal histories in the United
States and/or the world! You may need to search in many locations to
find this information if an individual has moved around.
For all of these reasons, a Google search on a person's name is
unlikely to reveal your friend's criminal record unless it has been
published by a third party.
Obviously, if the person in question has rarely left their place of
birth, this is simply a matter of pulling up their criminal record in
their hometown. Maine's criminal record web site provides contact
information for the criminal history record depository in each state:
[ http://www.informe.org/PCR/faq.html ]. You may also consult the web
site for the locality you live in to determine how to find this
information for your specific area.
In any case, there are countless companies which will be more than
happy to perform a criminal record check for a fee. I cannot
personally vouch for the accuracy or legality of any of these firms,
but many of them may be found by the Google search I have listed below
which describes how to find more information.
Google Search: faq + public + record + "criminal record"
Please advise if you need further clarification.