What is an arrest record?
The Arizona Department of Public Safety maintains the Criminal History Records Sections that serves as a central database for all arrest records in the state. The information held in this repository is offered government and non government entities that are authorized by law to seek such information.
Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statues 41-1750, employment background checks which include finger print verification can only be conducted by organizations that offer child and elderly care or nursing services. Apart from these, DPS only has statutory authority for the dissemination of criminal history information to nonprofit organizations.
In other words, you cannot conduct a background check on a subject through the Criminal History Records Sections as an individual applicant or even on behalf of a private entity that is not legally authorized to access such information. However, you can access public records maintained by Arizona Department of Public Safety; this includes incident specific offense and arrest records.
You can request this information in person, online or through mail or fax. However, you will need to furnish personal records such as your name and contact details along with the name of the subject of your inquiry; report number, date of event if known, date of birth of the subject, name of the investigating officer and details about the type of information or reports you seek.
Processing time for most requests is 15 to 20 days and applicants are allowed to view the information before an invoice is raised in their name depending on the applicable fee schedule.
It is also possible for individuals to review their own Arizona Criminal Records. For this, you will need to request a “record review instruction packet” by contacting the Criminal History Records Section at 602-223-2222.The packet contains instructions, contact information sheet, blank fingerprint cards and a pre-addressed return envelope. A response for such requests will be offered within 15 days of receiving the review packet.
This is usually done when filing a formal request for the expungement of records and to inform the Arizona Department of Public Safety about any errors in such records. Expungement of criminal records in the state of Arizona is only allowed when a person has been wrongfully arrested, charged or indicted. In such cases, the defendant may petition the superior court to erase the entry of such records.
What is an arrest warrant?
According to Rule 3.1 of Arizona Criminal Procedure, a warrant can only be issued in two cases:
- If there is probable cause to suspect the involvement of an individual in a criminal act
- When a person fails to show up in court before the disposition of a case
While preference is given to the issue of summons over a warrant where appropriate, a prosecutor can procure an arrest warrant after informing the court of the reasons why a warrant is being requested instead of summons. In case of bailable offenses where there is no reason to believe that the defendant will fail to appear in court, summons are usually issued in lieu of a warrant.
If a warrant is being requested in a criminal, non-bailable case, the police have to approach the judiciary with a written affidavit that informs the court of the crime, evidence including testimonies and hearsay information. The sitting magistrate is required by law to examine all the information presented in the affidavit and by any affiants under oath to establish probable cause before a warrant is issued.
An active arrest warrant issued in the state of Arizona will be signed by the issuing magistrate and will have a mention of the date and place of issue. The arrest order will be issued in the name of a person; if the name is not known, the warrant can state any name or description by which the individual can be identified.
Arrest orders of this nature are released with a copy of the written complaint attached to them. The crime for which the person in question is being detained will also be mentioned along with a clear directive to the police to arrest this individual. If the offense is bailable, the warrant will also sate the bail amount.
An Arizona arrest warrant can be executed by any peace officer in the state. The law enforcement official need not have the warrant in his/her possession when making the arrest; however, the defendant will have to be informed of the offense for which he is being charged and the fact that a warrant has been issued in the matter.
An arrest warrant once issued cannot be invalidated nor will any person taken into custody under the provisions of such an arrest order be discharged due to any defect in the form of the warrant , unless such errors significantly impact the rights of the individual being detained. In case of any defects, the warrant is simply amended by the magistrate without any changes to its powers.
How to search for an inmate in the Arizona Jail & Prison system?
The Arizona Department of Corrections offers an online inmate search through its database that is updated weekly and contains information on over 112,000 inmates. You can find the names and details of all current and former prisoners incarcerated in correctional facilities maintained by the ADC. The lists include details on all inmates who entered the prison system after 1985.
For an inmate search visit the DOC website at https://corrections.az.gov/public-resources/inmate-datasearch. You will find two search options, one for a number input and the other for a name based query. Using the Arizonan DOC number will without a doubt bring back more accurate results. However, if you don’t have this information, you can go with the name search.
Insert the appropriate information and click on search; this will take you to the results page which will have details about the correctional facility where the inmate is being held, his/her physical description, sentencing court and prison term. Click on the location tab to get the address of the penitentiary.
For information on inmates who entered the correctional system prior to 1972, you can look through the historical records of the Arizona DOC at https://corrections.az.gov/historical-prison-register-0
As a victim of a crime, you can contact the DOC on 602-542-1854 or toll free on 1-866-787-7233 for information on the incarceration and release dates of an inmate. For records that are not available in the DOC database, you can contact the Department of Corrections on 602-542-5497.
Who can search for arrest records and warrants in Arizona and how?
Although Arizona has its own version of the Freedom of Information Act enacted in 1966 and pursuant to this law, public records are to be freely made accessible to all requesters, the Arizona Department of Public Safety only allows legally authorized entities to conduct criminal background checks.
A slightly lengthier procedure through the public records database maintained by the DPS is possible and this facility is available for all US citizens. Except for accident reports and photographs, you can find all other public records.
If you seek criminal history information about a subject for occupational purposes, it is imperative to understand that in the state of Arizona an occupational license cannot be denied solely on the basis of a felony or misdemeanor conviction record that a person has in his/her name
How to request records under the Arizona specific laws, freedom of information?
There are two sources of information for people who are looking for arrest records in the state of Arizona.
Public record search through Arizona Department of Public Safety
The Public Records Unit (PRU) of Arizona DPS accepts requests from individuals and private entities for various departments including police records.
Request for public records has to be made in writing and can be submitted in the following ways:
Through mail: Get a print out of the request form at http://www.azdps.gov/Services/documents/Public_Records_Request.pdf. Mail the completed form to:
The Department of Public Safety
Public Records Unit
P.O. Box 6638,
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6638
Alternatively, you could fax the form on 602-223-2945
Inquiries in person: Visit the Department Records Section of the Arizona DPS at:
2102 West Encanto Blvd,
Online requests: Use the form on https://www.azdps.gov/Services/Records/Public_Records/New/ to initiate an online search.
Regardless of how the search request is submitted, it takes 15 to 20 days for processing the information. Once all the records have been assimilated, an invoice is sent to the applicant via fax, email or UPS.
However, the requester does have the liberty to review the records prior to purchasing them. For an appointment, call on 602-223-2345.
Payments are only accepted in the form of a cashier’s check, money order or business check. A lump sum fee structure is not used because the information is offered in various formats, the charges for the records are:
- Printed text: $1/page
- CD/DVD: $25 each
- 8X10 photographs: $4 each
- CD with photos: $35 each
- Audio Tapes: $5 each
Search through the Judicial Information System of Arizona State
Another option for criminal records search is to conduct a judicial case information search. Visit the website of the Arizona Superior court at http://www.azcourts.gov
Furnish information like the first and last name of the subject along with his/her birth date to access court case records. You will not only find criminal but also civil records through this search.