Compared with most states, conducting a New York criminal record search is a relatively straightforward process.

New York Criminal Record System

The most  comprehensive way to conduct a New York criminal record search is through the New York State Office of Court Administration (“OCA”). Records contained with the OCA include all misdemeanor and felony pending and closed cases. As of 2007, the OCA no longer provides records of violations or infractions, which are not considered a criminal act in the state of New York. The OCA covers all 62 counties in New York State dating back to at least 1993 (the counties vary as to how far back they search) and as of 2007 includes all town and village records as of 2007 as well.

How to Access Criminal Records

A statewide criminal record search can be conducted by completing the Criminal History Record Search Form and submitting $65 to the OCA.  In order to search the system, the full name and exact date of birth is necessary. Applications can be submitted in person or mailed; the results will be returned within a few days. Private investigators typically have direct access to OCA records which can be retrieved within 24 hours, but typically results can be received within a few hours.

What Type of Criminal Record Information is Available?

The New York State Office of Court Administration will provide a report indicating “no records found” or will provide a list of criminal offenses and corresponding details, including the charges, jurisdiction, date of offense and case number. If additional information is required, copies of court records can be obtained from the appropriate court to get specific details of the charges/offense and the ultimate disposition of the case.

DUI/DWI Offenses

A New York criminal record search does not provide records of DUI or DWI driving offenses unless the charge resulted in a misdemeanor or felony. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles can provide information about vehicle driving history, including DUI, DWI and other traffic related offenses.

Federal Criminal Records

The information provided through the New York State Office of Court Administration only involves state level matters. There are also federal criminal records which must be accessed separately.

Final Word of Caution

Just because you have conducted a New York criminal record search and the person did not have a record, it does not necessarily mean that they do not have a criminal record anywhere. They may have lived in another state where a crime was committed or they may have committed a crime in another state where they did not reside. Another word of caution; there are plenty of services that offer a “nationwide” criminal check,  but there is no such thing.


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  1. […] In some cases, the only way to access the records is to send someone to the local court.  In other cases local courts offer access to records online while some states have a central repository for collecting and searching records (see How to Conduct a New York Criminal Record Search). […]

  2. […] to state and federal criminal records varies, but, for example, a New York Criminal record search can be conducted through the New York State Office of Court Administration. The key is to identify […]

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