How long does the police department keep the information? Since 2006, police have kept records of all recordable offenses until the subject reaches the age of 100. Prior to 2006, under the prior "weeding" criteria, the police might remove qualifying documents. For example, if a person was arrested for a misdemeanor offense that was not serious enough to warrant an arrest report, then that person would be able to apply for a copy of their record after they reached the age of 18.
In addition to standard police records, many cities also maintain administrative records that can help in determining whether someone is eligible to vote, get a license, etc. These records include files on criminal offenders, civil litigants, and people who have been denied government benefits such as housing or food stamps. Administrative records are found in departments such as human resources, health, and community services.
Civil rights groups have criticized weeding policies as a way for police to purge their records of people who have been arrested but not charged with a crime, or of those accused but not convicted. In several states including California, Texas, and Virginia, there are laws preventing police from releasing information about individuals merely suspected of a crime; instead, officers must issue a citation or make an arrest to release such information.
In response to these concerns, some jurisdictions have changed their weeding policies.
Since 2006, the police have kept records of all recordable offenses until you reach the age of 100. Your conviction will always appear on your police records, however it may not appear on a criminal record check used for job screening purposes. When your hundredth birthday approaches, we'll renew your arrest warrant if one has been issued for failure to pay fines or complete court orders.
You can ask that your record be removed from law enforcement databases if you are no longer wanted as a witness in any pending cases or if you want to apply for certain jobs where this information is required. However, once these records are in place they are difficult or impossible to remove.
The length of time that charges remain on your record depends on several factors including: the type of offense, how many offenses you have, what section of the Criminal Code you were charged with under, whether you pleaded guilty or not guilty, and most importantly, your date of birth. If you reach the age of 18 without having done anything wrong, then there will be no record of your arrest provided you don't get caught.
However, if you do something wrong, even something as small as speeding, there will be consequences. The severity of those consequences will depend on how much money you owe for your violation(s) and what type of violation(s) you have.
The police now preserve records of all recordable offenses (indictable, triable-either-way, and certain summary offenses) until you reach the age of 100. Records are maintained by date of occurrence rather than date of arrest or completion of prosecution. For example, if you were arrested for drunk driving on March 1st but was not charged with an offense until April 30th, then the original report would show up in your record. A copy of every law enforcement report is sent to the National Crime Information Center database, which is used to generate the annual crime statistics published by the FBI.
In addition to preserving arrest and citation records, police also maintain records of traffic accidents when someone's license, registration, or other identification has been revoked or suspended. These records include information about the type of violation and the date it occurred. If you have been given a new form of ID, like a driver's license, the police will note this on the report of any relevant accidents that may have happened since your last ID was issued.
Finally, police keep records of incidents where they feel there is reason to believe you might be a threat to yourself or others. These reports can include information about aggressive behaviors, threatening comments, and other indications that you might be a danger to yourself or others.
The police have the authority to maintain records forever. Each police agency should have a policy on record keeping. By making a right-to-know request to your local government agency, you should be able to get a copy of that policy.
Most innocent people's DNA profiles and fingerprints will now be automatically deleted from police databases, but those arrested for serious crimes may have their records kept for up to three years, and others may have their records kept indefinitely (for repeated two-year periods) for "national security."
In addition, if you have not been convicted of a crime, your DNA profile will also be added to the federal database. If you ever are charged with another crime, even if you are acquitted, your DNA will be collected. The statute allows for the collection of DNA from anyone convicted of a felony offense. It also includes offenses that would not necessarily result in a conviction such as civil contempt, administrative proceedings, juvenile court cases, and probation/parole revocation hearings. There is no requirement that law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion or probable cause that an individual has committed a crime before taking his or her DNA.
Individual states may provide for the expungement or sealing of DNA records if the person was never convicted of the crime for which his or her DNA was taken. However, once a DNA sample is taken, it cannot be withdrawn.
Generally, DNA samples are maintained by state agencies that compile DNA data bases used by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. These agencies include state police departments, county sheriff's offices, city police departments, and district attorneys' offices. The length of time that information remains on these databases varies by agency.
Convictions and cautions are kept on the police national database until you reach the age of 100 (they are not destroyed before that), although they are not always required to be reported. Many people are unaware of the specifics of their record, and it is critical that they do so before exposing it to potential employers. Convictions may affect your ability to get some jobs, especially security clearances. Some states also report arrests even if you're not convicted of anything; these are called "dispositions" or "delinquent charges." Dispositions include violations such as speeding tickets, while delinquent charges refer to cases that go to trial and are found guilty.
A conviction will remain on file for up to seven years, depending on the type of crime and where it occurred. If you are seeking employment with a certain company or agency, it's important to check their policy on convictions. Some companies will not hire someone with a criminal record, others will let you know up front. It's also important to remember that once a conviction has been reported, it can't be removed from the database.
In order to remove a conviction from the system, you will need to apply for a pardon. There are two ways this can be done: either by contacting the governor's office or through the court system. Applications can be found online or at your local library. They usually take less than an hour to complete, often including a written test.