What is an Arrest Record?
According to the Pennsylvania Penal Code, criminal history record information refers to information that has been collected by criminal justice agencies concerning individuals, which arises from the initiation of a criminal proceeding. This information should consist of identifiable descriptions, dates and notations of arrests, indictments, additional formal criminal charges, and any other types of dispositions that could arise. Criminal history record information does not refer to intelligence information, investigative information, or treatment information. It also does not refer to medical and psychological information, and it does not refer to information and records that are specified in Section 9104, which related to Scope.
Moreover, criminal justice agencies are being defined by the same act in Section 9102, m and they include any court, including the minor judiciary (provided that the court has criminal jurisdiction) and governmental agencies or their subdivisions, which have to be created by state or federal constitution and also be authorized in order to perform as the administration of criminal justice. Also, agencies that are officially determined to be criminal justice agencies by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney can also stand for criminal justice agencies that are responsible for the collection of criminal history record information.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
Arrest warrants are legal documents that need to be issued by sitting judges and which enable law enforcement officers to arrest a person who has been named in the respective warrant for a certain illegal act they are believed to have committed. The existence of these warrants does not mean that the respective person is guilty of having committed the crime, but it stands to express the fact that the individual is being accused of having committed a crime. The victim, a witness of the criminal act, or an official person representing the law (such as an officer of the law) need to swear while being under oath and thoroughly and sincerely describe all of the circumstances revolving the alleged crime. The next step will imply the sitting judge to try and determine the existence of a probable cause in order to arrest the alleged offender. Nevertheless, the individual’s guilt is solely going to be proven inside a court of law.
In Pennsylvania, arrest warrants are called active warrants before they are executed and before an actual arrest can occur. Warrants become outstanding soon after they have remained active for a predefined amount of time, during which no arrest has transpired. There are numerous reasons why such a scenario could happen. Suspects who escape arrest in order to not go to jail will automatically trigger active and also outstanding warrants. There are special cases when individuals escape the arrest because they are not aware of the fact that an arrest warrant has been in fact issued against their name. Some law enforcement agencies oftentimes do not possess sufficient time or enough financial and human resources to deliver all of the arrest warrants. When this happens, some warrants that have been issued for lesser offenses will eventually go undelivered. Failing to pay parking ticket fines or even traffic fines are examples in this regard. These active warrants are highly likely to become outstanding.
Bench warrants are particular types of warrants that are issued whenever a person misses his or her court date. Some individuals might fail to make an appearance in court, because they wish to avoid being sentenced to jail, but whenever a bench warrant is issued as a result of their actions, they will very likely end up being arrested and incarcerated.
How to Search for an Inmate in the Pennsylvania Prison System
Provided you are interested in finding an inmate at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, you can easily gain access to the “Inmate Locator” database that is provided online by the State of Pennsylvania. This special “Inmate Locator” should be accessible using this link: inmatelocator.cor.state.pa.us/inmatelocatorweb. Searching for a person using their inmate number or first, middle, and last name is made available thanks to this tool. Moreover, one can also initiate a search using information such as the inmate’s gender, committing county, location, citizenship, date of birth, or race. These are the main search criteria you can use to locate the inmate you are interested in, but you can also use the special sorting options for simpler searches. If you have trouble locating an inmate, it is advisable to repeat your search using only the inmate's last name.
Furthermore, this “Inmate Locator” is a database that is said to contain information concerning each inmate who is currently under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections. It will also provide you with data concerning where an inmate is housed, the inmate's date of birth, the inmate’s race, and other details about the inmate. However, the information revolving around the place where an inmate is being currently housed should not be treated as an indicator as to whether the respective inmate is receiving treatment offered by the Department of Corrections at the respective housing location. Plus, this locator does not provide you with data on the inmates who are not at the moment residing in a state correctional institution.
Visiting an inmate here should first imply calling the facility and getting the extra information you might need.
Who Can Search for Arrest Records and Warrants in PA?
In Pennsylvania anyone who is a private citizen and who wishes to request information concerning their own criminal history records is allowed to do so. Plus, information concerning outstanding warrants is also made available to the public. In order for official agencies to be allowed to run background checks using the state system, these institutions need to gain clearance on behalf of the State of Pennsylvania.
Requesting Records Under the Pennsylvania Public Records Act
If you are interested in viewing records under the PA Public Records Act, you shall not be mandated by law to have a written request, but such request might be necessary provided the agency will prove to be hesitant while cooperating.
How Long Does an Arrest Record or Warrant Stay on File in Pennsylvania?
Arrest records will stay on one’s file forever in PA, expect for the case when they are expunged or sealed and therefore destroyed. One must contact an attorney in order to initiate either one of these processes. Arrest warrants will also stay on file until the person is arrested or he passes away.