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What are New Jersey Criminal Records?

New Jersey criminal records are official documentation provided by state and local courts, detention centers, and law enforcement documents regarding the criminal activities of convicted individuals. These documents are also called rap sheets and are one of the several police records compiled during criminal investigations in New Jersey.

The information provided in a New Jersey criminal record include:

  • Name of the individual accused and/or convicted of a criminal offense, including known aliases
  • Personal identifying data of the subject include gender, race, and date of birth
  • Subject’s full set of fingerprints and mugshot
  • Past criminal offenses and indictments
  • Past and outstanding warrants and arrest history
  • Past conviction record

Are New Jersey Criminal Records Public?

Yes, New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act stipulates that criminal records belong in the public domain. While New Jersey law enforcement, courts, and detention centers generate state public criminal records, the New Jersey State Police is responsible for maintaining and disseminating criminal history information. Individuals and organizations that wish to obtain criminal history information for employment purposes may perform a name-based check on the state’s web-based platform.

Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:

  • The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
  • The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.

Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.

How to Obtain Criminal Records in New Jersey?

Criminal records are available from New Jersey courts, detention centers, and law enforcement agencies at state and local levels. To perform a criminal record search, query the agency responsible for keeping those records. For example, name-based criminal history records are available on the state’s web-based platform. To access New Jersey criminal on-demand court records, visit the Criminal Cases portal of the New Jersey Courts Public Access website. This web portal is the preferred alternative for individuals that require a free public criminal record check.

What are New Jersey Arrest Records?

New Jersey arrest records provide information about arrests made by officers of state and local law enforcement agencies. These official documents also contain information about the incidents that led to the arrests described. An arrest record is not proof of guilty or admission of culpability. It simply indicates that an individual was brought in for questioning and booked. An arrest may occur immediately after a crime or following an investigation. New Jersey arrest records contain the following information:

  • Names of the arrested individual as well as identifying marks on their person
  • Subject’s age, gender, height, weight, and race
  • Where and when the arrest happened
  • Criminal charge(s) informing the arrest
  • Name of the law enforcement officer
  • Detention facility where the offender was booked

Are New Jersey Arrest Records Public?

Yes, New Jersey arrest records are public, according to the state’s Open Public Records Act. New Jersey law enforcement generates state public arrest records and makes them available to anyone interested in an arrest search. Individuals looking for free arrest records may look to online third-party record alternatives. However, these records might contain limited information.

What is a New Jersey Arrest Warrant?

A New Jersey arrest warrant is an official court document authorizing the detention of a defendant by law enforcement officers. A court will issue an active warrant in New Jersey after law enforcement officers demonstrate probable cause. A summons is different from an arrest warrant. A summons requires an individual to appear in court on their own accord. Warrants are issued for serious crimes. Reasons why New Jersey judges issue arrest warrants include:

  • Parole violation
  • Probation violation
  • Failure to appear in court or pay a court-ordered fine (bench warrant)
  • Criminal complaint filing
  • Indictment

New Jersey Court rule mandates that an arrest warrant must include the following details:

  • Defendant’s name
  • Court where the defendant must appear
  • Signature of judge or court administration approving the warrant and acknowledging the probable cause
  • Bail amount/conditions

There are no central repositories where interested persons can carry out a New Jersey warrant search. However, anyone can perform an active warrant search on the DEA Fugitive Search tool and the U.S. Marshall's Warrant Information System.

What are New Jersey Inmate Records?

New Jersey inmate records are official documents describing the incarceration and planned releases of individuals incarcerated in state and local detention facilities in the state.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) oversees the operations of all state-run detention facilities in the state. There are 13 state prisons in New Jersey. To perform an inmate search, parties can use the NJDOC Offender Search tool. Besides state-run prisons, there are also local jails in New Jersey.

County jails are run by sheriff’s offices while city jails are managed by police departments. Visit the websites of the local law enforcement agencies and contact them directly to perform an inmate lookup.

What is the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry?

The New Jersey sex offender registry includes the names of registered sex offenders living in the state and required to register under the state’s Megan’s Law. The Division of State Police collates registered sex offender data in a central database made available to the public online. While there are three tiers of sex offenders in the state, the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry only provides information about tier 3 and tier 2 (with exceptions) offenders.

Tier 3 sex offenders are most likely to re-offend while tier 2 offenders have a moderate risk of re-offense. Information contained in the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry includes:

  • Offender's name and address including aliases used by the offender;
  • Any Megan's Law sex offenses committed by the offender, including a brief description and the date and location of disposition of any such offense;
  • General description of the offender's preferences and methods, if any;
  • Assigned risk of re-offense (moderate or high);
  • The offender's age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair, eye color and any distinguishing marks;
  • A photograph of the offender and date added to the registry;
  • Make, model, color, year, and license plate number of any vehicle operated by the offender

What is a DUI in New Jersey?

Driving under the influence or a DUI in New Jersey refers to operating any vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Underage DUI is the term used for a motorist under the age of 21 operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.01% or higher. Penalties for adults convicted of drunk driving include:

  • Fines, fees, and surcharges;
  • License suspension;
  • Ignition interlock device;
  • Jail time;
  • Community service; and
  • Completion of Intoxicated Driver Program

Penalties for underage DUI include:

  • Any combination of the minimum sentences listed above for adult DUI offenders;
  • 15–30 days mandatory community service;
  • Attendance of alcohol education and highway safety programs at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

A DUI offender under 17 years of age and unlicensed at the time of the incident is further subjected to a 30–90-day delay in processing their driver’s license.

What are Misdemeanors in New Jersey?

New Jersey refers to misdemeanors as offenses and felonies as crimes. The more serious misdemeanors in the state are disorderly person crimes. These are punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Examples of disorder person crimes are shoplifting, assault, resisting arrest, and possession of under 50 grams of marijuana.

Petty disorderly person crimes are the least serious criminal offenses in New Jersey that can be punished by a jail term. They are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. Harassment and disorderly conduct are examples of petty disorder person crimes.

What are Felonies in New Jersey?

Felonies or indictable crimes are punishable by at least one year in prison. New Jersey classifies these crimes by degrees. A grand jury has to review an indictable crime case and decide whether the defendant should stand trial or not. The grand jury issues an indictment for trials that proceed. There are four degrees of indictable crimes in the state. The most serious crimes are first-degree indictable crimes while the least serious ones are fourth-degree crimes

  • First-degree crimes in New Jersey include murder, manslaughter, and rape. A basic sentence for a first-degree indictable crime is 10 -20-year prison term. Certain crimes, such as murder, may be punished with 20 - 30 years in prison or life term. The court may also find people convicted of first-degree crimes up to $200,000
  • Second-degree crimes are punishable by 5 - 10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000. Examples include sex crimes, aggravated arson, burglary, kidnapping, white-collar crimes, and drug crimes
  • Third-degree crimes are punishable by 3 - 5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000. These include arson, some robbery offenses, possession of controlled substances, and some driving under the influence (DUI) offenses
  • Fourth-degree crimes are punished by up to 1.5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Examples include stalking, some robbery offenses, some DUI offenses, and forgery

What are New Jersey Parole Records?

New Jersey parole records are documents that correctional facilities generate when they release inmates before completing their maximum sentence. The New Jersey State Parole Board maintains parole information for the state and provides access to these records upon request. Use the NJDOC Offender Search Form to find parolees in New Jersey. To request information about paroled offenders, send an email to NJSPB_Public_Info_Office@spb.state.nj.us. Requesting parole records from the State Parole Board requires submitting an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request. To do so, complete and submit an OPRA form.

What are Probation Records in New Jersey?

Probation records provide details of court-ordered supervised freedom of convicts serving their sentences outside of New Jersey prisons and jails. Convicts on probation in New Jersey are serving suspended sentences without spending time in prison. They need to abide by strict guidelines and submit to supervision by a probation officer to avoid a probation violation. In addition to scheduled meetings at their probation office, people on probation may also be required to submit to random drug tests, stay within a specific geographical location, not possess weapons, and wear monitoring devices.

What are New Jersey Juvenile Criminal Records?

Juvenile criminal records are records from the juvenile court describing criminal activities and subsequent trials of minors. New Jersey does not try juveniles as adults unless requested by the juveniles in question or prosecutors and approved by Family Court judges. Juveniles found guilty of crimes, disorderly person offenses, and ordinance/statute violations are regarded as adjudicated rather than convicted. They are sent to a juvenile detention center, rather than a prison.

New Jersey stores juvenile criminal records in the Juvenile Central Registry. Access to juvenile adjudication records is limited to juveniles, their legal counsels, parents/legal guardians, and certain agencies. Public access to these records is restricted except for victims and those involved in civil suits arising from juvenile delinquencies.

Juveniles may request courts to seal their criminal records. Such requests are likely to be granted for delinquents after a period of good behavior or if they enlist in the military. Note that sealing juvenile criminal records is not the same as expunging those records. New Jersey allows juveniles to request for the expungement of arrests that do not result in adjudication from their records. Juveniles requesting for their entire criminal records to be expunged must meet the following conditions:

  • At least five years after getting discharged from legal custody or supervision
  • Not convicted of a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense for at least 5 years before applying for expungement
  • Never had an adult conviction expunged
  • Never had adult criminal charges dismissed following the completion of a treatment or diversion program
  • Never adjudged a juvenile delinquent for an act if committed by an adult will constitute a crime not subject to expungement

What are New Jersey Conviction Records?

New Jersey conviction records provide details of indictments, pleas, hearings, and sentencing of persons found guilty in criminal cases. Juries and judges determine convictions in felony and misdemeanor trials. Unlike arrest records, conviction records are only created when courts find individuals guilty of named crimes. Therefore, final judgments are essential parts of conviction records. A final judgment may be missing from a conviction record if removed by a pardon or if a judgment has been reversed or set aside.

History and Accuracy of New Jersey Criminal Records

The accuracy of criminal records depends on when and how they were recorded. Those recorded before the computer systems were introduced for record-keeping are likely to have a fair amount of errors due to mistakes made while entering and codifying those records.

Paper records are also likely to deteriorate in storage. On the other hand, computer systems make the gathering, entering, storing, and retrieving records easier. New Jersey records kept using such systems are generally more accurate.

Find New Jersey Criminal History Record for Free

The New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) 13:59-1 et seq. permits publicizing criminal history record data in New Jersey by its State Police (NJSP), State Bureau of Identification (SBI) and Identification & Information Technology Section (I&ITS), on authorized grounds. Except the data requested is considered classified or sealed criminal-history-records. Criminal records are formal documents collated, maintained and made available on request to authorized persons, on authorized grounds by the state, local courts, detention centers, or law enforcement agencies in connection to criminal activities of convicted persons. Criminal history records are also referred to as ‘rap sheets’ and are one amongst other documents put together by the police in the course of criminal investigations in New Jersey. A criminal record, history, gives an elaborate record in regards to a person’s involvement or interactions with law enforcement. These records are obtained from a number of sources and include arrest records, convictions, and imprisonment.

These records contain; the full name of the accused/convicted individual, date of birth, race, gender, fingerprint and mugshot. Past criminal offenses and charges, outstanding warrants and arrest history or record of conviction if any are also the information contained in a criminal history record. Individuals seeking to obtain public records information can check online databases maintained by the particular government establishment in charge of providing such information, or send a request to the concerned agency via mail. Most records considered public can be accessed for free but could go for a fee; depending on the information needed, the scope and the form in which it is needed (printed). One can also visit the local county office in person during working hours to search for records for free (only to pay a fee when printed copies are needed).

Are Police Records Public in New Jersey?

Yes, the Public Records Act in New Jersey states that criminal records are categorized as public. The state’s public criminal records are usually provided by law enforcement, courts, and detention in New Jersey. Main while the State Police is responsible for maintaining and distributing these records. Individuals or organizations that want to acquire any criminal history information for employment purposes can carry out a background check on the state’s database online, send a request via mail or visit any local government establishment during business hours. The New Jersey Public Records law states that “upon records request, a public agency has seven working days to respond unless there is an interruption. If this should occur, the state government agency concerned is inclined to communicate the issue and make available an updated timeline”. Criminal records are obtainable from courts at local levels in New Jersey. To access criminal court records at no cost, visit the Criminal Cases New Jersey Courts public access website.

Information on a police record includes; the name of the subject of data, type of incident, location, statements, and time of the incident.

How to Obtain Police Records in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a person can obtain police records from the records office at county or local levels within the state or the state police department within working hours. Records can as well be gotten from the county sheriff’s office in person or by sending a request via mail to mail. Local court houses also provide access to police records. Requesters would be required to show some form of government issued identification. Individuals seeking police records should bear in mind that a fee may be required depending on the type of record requested, the scope and the form needed. This would also determine the duration required to process the data. Generally, it would take two to three weeks for the Department of Law and Safety division of state police to process the data requested.

Are Police Reports Public Record?

Police reports are generally classified as public records under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Exceptions to this act are as follows:

  • Records that would breach citizen’s right of privacy.
  • security information, emergency or procedure which, if disclosed, would put at risk the security of a property or people inside.
  • Records of a victim, unless the victim of a particular crime requests for their own records.
  • Inter-agency data; for example, communications between the police department and sheriff’s office.
  • Copy of an image of a dead person.

Exemptions

Please note that a victim of a crime is able to request and/or obtain a police report or any information from a police report in regards to the crime committed against them.

How to File a Police Report with New Jersey Law Enforcement

A police report is a legal document that gives an account of an illegal event, date and time and the facts surrounding the occurrence used by the department of police, the court personnel or the victim of the crime. Police reports are either written by a responding officer, an eyewitness to a crime, or a victim of a crime. These reports give the investigating officers in charge of a case a reference point. The procedure for filing a report may differ for different government establishments but contain the same information. Types of police reports include arrest reports, incident reports, crime reports, and accident reports.

There are different ways of filing police reports. To file a police report one can call the Office of Professional Standards to speak to a representative or write to the Commanding Officer at the regional Internal Affairs Investigation Bureau office or visit any State Police facility within New Jersey in person during business hours.

Information to be provided includes the date of the incident, the time, and location of the  incident, names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witnesses.

Not every report can be filled online. Reports that can be filled online include Reports of incidents that are not ongoing, do not involve any form of injuries and are not an emergency. The incident can either be lost property, damaged property, theft, identity theft, vandalism, Vehicle burglary, tampering or harassing calls.

More serious incidents have to be reported in-Person. To report a more serious incident one would need to visit a local police department or, call and ask an officer to come over. Lastly, one can also call the non-emergency number of the local police department and give the report to an officer over the phone.

Where to Find Free Public Police Records

Free police records can be obtained online from sites of government agencies, that is if they are available on their online database. This may or may not attract a fee, depending on what is sorted, the scope and the form it is sorted. The New Jersey state records website allows access to public records by all its residents as found in the Open Public Records Act. Public police records can also be obtained from the department of police of the state; free records only apply if the requester is going through the records and does not request a printed copy.

Courthouses are another source for accessing public records.

Individuals seeking police records can send a request via mail or visit the agency responsible for the data needed in person.

How to Find Mugshots in New Jersey

A mugshot is a pictorial portrait of a person from the shoulders up, usually taken after the arrest of an individual. Criminal Courts and Police Departments in New Jersey maintain records of arrest, which contain mugshots. The intent of a mug shot is to allow law enforcement to have access to a photographic record of an arrested person in order to allow for easy identification by victims, the public and/or investigators. Some government agencies have a database of mugshots of arrested persons available online, which can be accessed for free- especially mugshots of sex offenders. Some mugshots are only available online for a particular time, after which they are taken down.

To access a mugshot which is available online, one would need to know the county where the subject of information sought was booked. A mugshot can also be gotten from the local police station that has the arrest records for the subject of information needed. One can request to see reports during work hours. Requesters may be required to fill out a form and pay a certain fee for processing. Although arrest records are generally available to the public, accessibility is dependent on one’s location and the data sorted. In some cases only with a lawyer can one get the required information.

Requesters or seekers of mugshots can also get them from the courthouse in the county where the person was convicted and arrested. One would need to know the name and date of birth of the convict.

Please note that not all government establishments upload mugshots of arrested or convicted persons.

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