How To Check if You Have a Felony for Free (Search This Crime Database)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Criminal Records | October 24, 2022

Police officer on the right holding a giant felony record document and a man on the left with his hand on his chin and a question mark over his head wonders how to check if you have a felony for free online.

Knowing how to check if you have a felony for free can be an invaluable tool for people about to undergo background checks.

Search this crime database for free, right now, to see what shows up on a background check.

In addition to a free online search, local state and federal governments make it easy for individuals to search their own criminal records, and many criminal databases are completely free to use.

Since almost all criminal information is considered public, knowing how to check if you have a felony for free by checking court or police criminal records can easily uncover the information, so that anyone can take steps to fix their background check before a felony record disqualifies them from a position.

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record?

Many individuals wonder how long does a felony stay on your record to see if a previous felony is still on their criminal record.

There is a common misconception that criminal records will clear after a certain amount of time has passed. Unfortunately, this is not true and in most cases, a felony will stay on your record forever. However, individuals should be aware of some notable exceptions just in case they apply to your specific situation.

The most notable exception to this is crimes committed in states that follow the 7-year-rule. In a 7-year state, background check reports will not include criminal history information for convictions that are older than 7-10 years old depending on the state.

After 7 years have elapsed these criminal records will no longer be able to be viewed by the public. This means that private background check agencies that rely on public information, which is the vast majority of background check agencies, will not be able to view this criminal information.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these records still exist and are only invisible to the public. Background checks performed by official government agencies, such as an FBI Identity History Summary Check will still be able to view this information as normal.1

This is because the FBI only has to abide by background check laws at the federal level, such as those set by the FCRA,2 and is able to essentially ignore state laws regarding background check information.

How Long Can a Felony Charge Be Pending?

Many individuals who have been arrested on a suspicion of a crime may have charges pending. This can be fairly confusing for individuals unfamiliar with the complex legal process but is actually quite simple. When a charge is pending, it simply means that although law enforcement may suspect an individual committed a crime, they do not have enough evidence to formally charge them with the crime.

While a charge is pending, law enforcement will usually be trying to obtain evidence to build a case against the individual. With this, some are questioning, how long can a felony charge be pending? The length of time it takes will be determined by the evidence and the state’s statute of limitations in which the crime was committed.

The statute of limitations is simply the state law that determines how long after a crime was committed that law enforcement can still charge an individual with it. For most felonies, this is around 3-6 years depending on the state.

However, more serious crimes will have a far longer statute of limitations and certain crimes like homicide will have no time limit. This means that individuals suspected of committing a homicide can be charged with the crime 20 years later or more with substantial evidence.

Do Felonies Go Away After 7 Years?

What remains from a person’s record through background checks is a common concern. Do felonies go away after 7 years? is one of the vital questions that come to mind.

In most cases, felonies will remain on an individual’s record forever. In certain states, criminal history information older than 7 years can not be reported by background check agencies but official sources such as the state police will still have access to these records.

Do Felonies Go Away at 18?

With the significant amount of crime committed by minors, one might ask do felonies go away at 18? Felonies usually do not go away automatically when an individual turns 18. For the most part, individuals convicted of a felony as a minor will need to petition the court to have the record sealed in order to limit its effect on gaining employment and other similar issues.

Screenshot of Pierce County website page for juvenile expungement with yellow arrow pointing to how do felonies go away at 18.

Pierce County, and many other counties and municipalities in the U.S. have free resources for both searching and cleaning criminal records.

Although getting a record sealed is normally extremely different, most states have special laws that allow sealing juvenile records much easier and quicker than adult convictions.

How Do I Know if I Have a Felony or Misdemeanor?

Knowing how to check if you have a felony for free is a great skill any individual should know, especially before undergoing a background check. The same method can be used to view any and all criminal history information including misdemeanors.

The easiest way to do this is to use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a free public records search. This will include any public documents such as arrest records, charges, and conviction information.

Screenshot of Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation website page for Oklahoma Criminal History Information Request Portal with information on how to do criminal background check in Oklahoma.

The Criminal History Information Request Portal (CHIRP) in Oklahoma is like platforms in many other states that allow convicted (and non-convicted) people to check their criminal history.

Besides the above free method, there are also options to run a full background check on yourself using a private service. Individuals seeking more official background checks can also perform a federal background check on themselves for a fee.

Related Reading: How To Get a Federal Background Check on Yourself (Full Guide)

Charged but Not Convicted of Felony

Sometimes an individual may be charged with a crime but not convicted and will be wondering how this will affect their criminal history record and future background checks. This sort of charged but not convicted background check record has different rules in every state, concerning whether it appears on a background check or not.

Whether there is no conviction because the individual went to trial and was acquitted or because the charges were dropped, the outcome is the same. A background check will show that the individual was charged with a crime but that they were not convicted of the crime.

Although this is not ideal, most employers are only interested in conviction information so the effect should be fairly minimal on passing background checks.

Dismissed Felony

A dismissed felony is another cause of confusion when it comes to background checks. Felony charges are dismissed for all sorts of reasons but no matter the reason it means the individual is cleared of any wrongdoing, at least until charges are brought again.

Assuming the charges are permanently dropped the initial charges will appear on a background check and the check will also indicate that there was never a conviction for the crime.

How To Check if You Have a Felony for Free in Each State (Do I Have a Felony?)

In some cases, getting an official background check through the state police can be the most reliable method to see what is on an individual background check.

Use the list below to learn how to get an official background check in each state.

How To Check If You Have a Felony On Your Record?Statute of Limitations by State
How to check if you have a felony on your record Alabama (AL)State Background Check Alabama (AL)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Alaska (AK)State Background Check Alaska (AK)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Arizona (AZ)State Background Check Arizona (AZ)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Arkansas (AR)State Background Check Arkansas (AR)
How to check if you have a felony on your record California (CA)State Background Check California (CA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Colorado (CO)State Background Check Colorado (CO)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Connecticut (CT)State Background Check Connecticut (CT)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Delaware (DE)State Background Check Delaware (DE)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Florida (FL)State Background Check Florida (FL)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Georgia (GA)State Background Check Georgia (GA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Hawaii (HI)State Background Check Hawaii (HI)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Idaho (ID)State Background Check Idaho (ID)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Illinois (IL)State Background Check Illinois (IL)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Indiana (IN)State Background Check Indiana (IN)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Iowa (IA)State Background Check Iowa (IA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Kansas (KS)State Background Check Kansas (KS)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Kentucky (KY)State Background Check Kentucky (KY)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Louisiana (LA)State Background Check Louisiana (LA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Maine (ME)State Background Check Maine (ME)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Massachusetts (MA)State Background Check Massachusetts (MA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Maryland (MD)State Background Check Maryland (MD)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Michigan (MI)State Background Check Michigan (MI)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Minnesota (MN)State Background Check Minnesota (MN)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Mississippi (MS)State Background Check Mississippi (MS)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Missouri (MO)State Background Check Missouri (MO)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Montana (MT)State Background Check Montana (MT)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Nebraska (NE)State Background Check Nebraska (NE)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Nevada (NV)State background check Nevada (NV)
How to check if you have a felony on your record New Hampshire (NH)State Background Check New Hampshire (NH)
How to check if you have a felony on your record New Jersey (NJ)State Background Check New Jersey (NJ)
How to check if you have a felony on your record New Mexico (NM)State Background Check New Mexico (NM)
How to check if you have a felony on your record New York (NY)State Background Check New York (NY)
How to check if you have a felony on your record North Carolina (NC)State Background Check North Carolina (NC)
How to check if you have a felony on your record North Dakota (ND)State Background Check North Dakota (ND)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Ohio (OH)State Background Check Ohio (OH)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Oklahoma (OK)State Background Check Oklahoma (OK)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Oregon (OR)State Background Check Oregon (OR)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Pennsylvania (PA)State Background Check Pennsylvania (PA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Rhode Island (RI)State Background Check Rhode Island (RI)
How to check if you have a felony on your record South Carolina (SC)State Background Check South Carolina (SC)
How to check if you have a felony on your record South Dakota (SD)State Background Check South Dakota (SD)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Tennessee (TN)State Background Check Tennessee (TN)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Texas (TX)State Background Check Texas (TX)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Utah (UT)State Background Check Utah (UT)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Vermont (VT)State Background Check Vermont (VT)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Virginia (VA)State Background Check Virginia (VA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Washington (WA)State Background Check Washington (WA)
How to check if you have a felony on your record West Virginia (WV)State Background Check West Virginia (WV)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Wisconsin (WI)State Background Check Wisconsin (WI)
How to check if you have a felony on your record Wyoming (WY)State Background Check Wyoming (WY)

Megan’s Law Search Map

Megan’s law is a commonly used search tool to find sex offenders based on geographic location. This can be an especially useful tool for parents wondering if any potentially dangerous individuals live nearby.

Individuals can use the official US Department of Justice Sex offender registry map to find more information about their neighborhood.3

What Happens if You Are Charged With a Felony?

With the criminal justice system being as complicated as it is, many of those wondering how to check if you have a felony for free will have lots of questions about the way the entire process works. Although there are a lot of small details and exceptions the general process is fairly simple.

Screenshot of US Department of Justice website page for programs in Northern District of Illinois with yellow arrow pointing to information on what happens if you are charged with a felony.

every state’s District Attorney’s office provides information about what happens in criminal cases, such as when charged with a felony or misdemeanor.

After committing a crime that is investigated by law enforcement, the suspected individual will usually be charged with the crime. This is a formal accusation that the individual committed a specific crime and also begins the criminal proceedings. Individuals who are charged with a felony will most often be arrested and will remain in jail until they make bail or the proceedings end.

After the charges are made the next step in the process is the arraignment hearing where the individual will plead guilty or not guilty. Those who plead guilty will then receive their sentence for the crime. If the individual pleads not guilty then the case will proceed to trial in front of a jury that will decide if the individual is guilty or not guilty.

What if You Are Charged With a Felony but Convicted of a Misdemeanor?

Many individuals who are charged with a felony will sometimes only be convicted of a misdemeanor, often after working out a plea deal with the prosecutor. In this case, the sentence received will be for the misdemeanor that was committed and the felony charge will be dropped.

If You Were Charged With a Felony but Not Convicted, Can You Buy a Gun?

Individuals who were charged with a felony but not convicted should be able to buy a gun if all the other requirements are met.

Firearm laws rely on conviction information during the screening process so technically individuals who were acquitted or had felony charges dropped will be able to purchase a gun as normal.

Can You Buy a Gun With a Pending Felony?

Buying a gun with a pending felony is usually legal, although certain states have specific laws regarding pending cases when it comes to purchasing a firearm.

However, under normal circumstances only individuals who have been indicted for a felony or convicted of a felony will be ineligible to purchase a firearm, assuming all the other requirements are met.

How Long Can a Case Stay Open in Court?

How long a case stays open varies widely. The constitution grants individuals a right to a fair and speedy trial, however, things are rarely this simple. Tons of factors can lead a case to last months or years. Generally, most of the timelines will be set by a judge but new developments and more complex cases are all subject to lengthening the criminal process significantly.

How To Check My Criminal Record

The best way to check your criminal record is to perform a background check on yourself. This not only allows individuals to be aware of what any potential employers will see during a pre-employment background check but also allows individuals to fix any mistakes on their records.

Related Reading: How To Do a Background Check on Yourself

What Is a Criminal Record Check?

Criminal record checks are more common than ever, especially for employers conducting pre-employment background checks on applicants. A criminal record check is simply a check of an individual’s criminal history. This will generally include any information on any arrests, charges, convictions, etc.

Screenshot of Commonwealth of Massachusetts website page for accessing court archives with information on types of criminal record background checks in Massachusetts.

Each state offers criminal record check resources, and many of them are completely free.

Criminal record checks are usually performed by examining court records and finding any information that matches the name of the individual. Any misdemeanor or felonies that the individual was charged or convicted of will be present on this check.

Keep in mind that minor infractions will usually not be present on a traditional criminal history check. Things like parking tickets, and moving violations such as speeding or distracted driving tickets do not appear in a criminal history check unless they were misdemeanors or higher.

How Do I Get My Criminal Record for Free? (How To Check if You Have a Felony for Free)

How to check if you have a felony for free? Accessing criminal records is usually done through law enforcement or court databases, both of which require a fee. This is the main reason for background check agencies charging a fee for their services as these agencies must work with the courts and law enforcement agencies to access the information.

However, there are a few free methods individuals can use. Most notably, many background check services offer a free trial.

It can be a great way to perform a handful of searches at no cost to the individual. Although not free, going directly to the courthouse that has the criminal history information that is needed is also an option and generally costs less than $15.

 

Individuals can also use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a free public records search.

Undergoing a background check when individuals are unaware of what will show up can be a stressful situation. Knowing how to check if you have a felony for free can help ease anxieties and ensure there are no surprises.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Check if You Have a Felony for Free

Is There a Convicted Felon Registry?

Although there is not an official convicted felon registry, all felony convictions will be considered public information. To find information on convicted felons, simply contact the local courthouse and ask about the best way to make a records request.

Am I a Felon if I Wasn't Convicted?

Individuals who were charged with a felony but never convicted are not considered felons. Individuals should be aware that information about the charges will still be present on most background checks, but should have little impact on the check as most employers are only interested in conviction information.

Where Can I Get a Free Public Criminal Record Check?

Individuals can use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a free criminal record check using the first and last name of the individual.


References

1United States Government. (2022). Identity History Summary Checks (Rap Sheets). Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from <https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/need-an-fbi-service-or-more-information/identity-history-summary-checks>

2United States Government. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>

3The United States Department of Justice (2022). National Sex Offender Public Website. Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). Retrieved September 28, 2022, from <https://www.nsopw.gov/>

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