Arizona Court Records
Arizona Arrest Records
When an arrest is made in Arizona, the suspect is temporarily detained by the authority of the law. Arrestees are taken through a booking process (which involves fingerprinting and mugshots), which necessitates the creation of an official account of the process known as the Arizona arrest record.
An Arizona arrest record is an official document that describes details of a person's arrest, including offenses committed and the arresting officer/agency. The arrest record may include arrests that did not lead to a charge or conviction and must not be confused with a criminal record, which is a comprehensive record of a person's criminal history.
In Arizona, arrest records help law enforcement agencies determine an investigation's focus. They are also a useful legal reference for instituting criminal court proceedings.
According to 2022 Arizona Crime Statistics, collated by state and county law enforcement, 112,347 arrests were recorded in the population of 7,359,197. A breakdown of this figure revealed 16,101 adult and 2,807 juvenile arrests for crimes against a person, 17,368 adult and 2,098 juvenile arrests for crimes against property, and 22,733 adult and 1,112 juvenile arrests for crimes against society. Compared to the previous year, which had a total arrest rate of 1269.82, the 2022 arrest rate was 1526.62 per 100,000, indicating a 21.51% increase in arrests made in the state.
Are Arrest Records Public in Arizona?
Yes, arrest records are public in Arizona. Arizona Public Records Law empowers members of the public to query state law enforcement agencies for arrest records within their jurisdiction and also query the Arizona Department of Public Safety for state-wide arrest information.
Notwithstanding, the Arizona Revised Statutes 41-1750 outlines a few exceptions regarding the dissemination and use of criminal justice information sources (including arrest records). These limitations are as follows:
- Arrest record information disseminated to non-criminal justice agencies or individuals shall be maintained/used solely for the reasons for which it was given.
- Juvenile information is not disclosed to the general public.
- Information that may deprive a person of a fair trial is also restricted from public disclosure.
- Identifying confidential informant information is exempt from disclosure.
What is Included in Arizona Arrest Records?
Arizona arrest records typically feature the following information about the arrestee and their crime(s):
- Full name and aliases
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Mug shots
- Physical identifying marks like tattoos and scars
- Crime classification (felony or misdemeanor)
Find Public Arrest Records in Arizona
The Arizona Department of Public Safety has a Criminal History Records Section, which serves as a central database for collecting, storing, and disseminating accurate Arizona arrest records in the state. Local law enforcement agencies like the sheriff's office or police department are also obligated to upload and submit all arrest records to this repository.
Consequently, requesters may obtain public arrest records in Arizona via the arresting agency in charge of the arrest, which, in this case, could be a local police agency or county sheriff's office. Every agency has unique ways of processing arrest record requests. However, the following steps are similar across board:
- Identify the Arresting Agency or Records Custodian: This is typically the agency that made the arrest. For instance, the Phoenix police department only maintains arrests within their jurisdiction.
- Verify the Request Procedure for Arrest Records and Applicable Fees: Most law enforcement divisions' websites contain required procedures and applicable fees for obtaining arrest records maintained by the jurisdiction. It is best to contact the exact county law enforcement agency to confirm availability and get better information concerning their procedures.
- Submit the Record Request: The DPS and law enforcement agencies oblige requesters to request this information in person, online, via mail, or fax. Anyone who wishes to obtain these records in person must visit the office during official business hours and make an appointment if required. Online inquiries may require personal information such as full name and contact details, name of the subject of record inquiry, date of arrest if known, date of birth of the subject, name of the arresting officer, and details about the arrest record. The requester may send a letter to the arresting agency's official mailing address. On the other hand, requesters may utilize the online portal if the arresting agency provides one for record inquiries.
Most requests require a processing time of 15 to 20 days. However, this does not apply to restricted, sealed, or non-public arrest records inaccessible to the general public. In this case, one may need to subpoena the record.
A subpoena is a court order demanding the presence of someone in court as a witness or a record. Record custodians must serve subpoenas to provide an arrest record in person during regular business hours. A non-refundable fee, which must be paid during service, typically applies. Graham County, for instance, charges $30 for issuance of subpoenas. Every agency and county maintains separate requirements for subpoenas in its custody.
How to Lookup Arrest Records Online in Arizona
Arizona arrest records are available and accessible online through official and third-party sources.
Official sources, including the Department of Public Safety website, county sheriff's office, or local police, typically host this information on publicly accessible platforms.
The local law enforcement website serves as the county's central database for arrest information in each jurisdiction. For example, the Maricopa Custody Bureau performs inmate searches by person's name or assigned booking number.
Third-party aggregate websites are an alternative for looking up arrest records in Arizona. Inquirers may type in the related keywords, e.g., "arrest records in Arizona," and the search engine will supply related websites. However, information retrieved from these sources must be verified for accuracy and validity.
How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in Arizona
In Arizona, an arrest will stay on one's record forever. However, these records may be expunged if the person clocks 99 years old. But if the requester is not 99 years old, they must file a motion to seal an arrest record under A.RS. 13-911 to remove the arrest from the record.
Expunge an Arrest Record in Arizona
Per A.R.S. § 13-911, citizens or residents of Arizona who are arrested and convicted for a criminal offense may petition the court to seal or expunge their records. Expunging a record means that the individual can say that they have never been arrested, charged, or adjudicated a related criminal offense, and the record may not be used in subsequent cases. However, the state primarily allows for sealing arrest records, meaning law enforcement agencies may open them on subsequent occasions.
The court or law enforcement agency in charge may deny specific record expungement requests. For example, those pertaining to:
- Identity theft
Sealing or expunging arrest records in Arizona is predominantly controlled by criminal justice entities, such as the courts, Department of Public Safety, prosecutor's offices, and law enforcement agencies. It is advised to contact the arresting agency or search public record archives to gather the information needed to fill out the petition. Any published arrest record before the sealing may still be accessible and not impacted by the order to seal.
An individual may file a petition to seal all arrest records if the person was:
- Charged with an offense and the charge was dismissed, or the case resulted in a not-guilty verdict
- Arrested for an offense, and no charges were filed.
Anyone arrested by a law enforcement agency but never had an initial appearance nor received any charges filed against them must file their petition in the superior court in the county where the arrest was made.
An offender filing a petition to seal or expunge arrest records must provide the following information as required by Rule 36.1, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure:
- Full name, birth date, address, and email address
- Any name used at the time of arrest, charge, or conviction, if different from the individual's current name
- The offense(s) for which they are requesting records be sealed
- Whether outstanding fines, fees, restitution, or other court-ordered costs exist
- The date and location of the arrest
- The name of the arresting agency
- The name of the prosecuting agency (if charges were filed).
- The dismissal date
The court may dismiss a petition for sealing or expungement of an arrest record if the person fails to provide enough details. If that occurs, they may be required to file a new petition with further information about the arrest records. An individual may petition the court to seal their arrest records if dismissed without charges or after they complete all the terms and conditions of their penalty (including paying all fees, fines, and restitution ordered by the court).
How Do I Find Recent Arrests in Arizona?
To find recent arrests in Arizona within a county or city, inquirers may contact the County sheriff or police department where the arrest occurred. These law enforcement agencies often publish arrest logs outlining recent arrests within their judicial district. For example, the Apache County Sheriff's Office publishes weekly and monthly arrest logs and mugshots.
Are Arizona Arrest Records Free?
Yes. Anyone can access Arizona arrest records for free through the local law enforcement agency that handled the arrest. Requesters may utilize the website tools, send mail, or visit in person to view records of interest. However, anyone requesting an official copy of an arrest record will be required to pay a nominal fee to cover the document's reproduction cost.