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New York Arrest Records

In New York, arrest records are formal documents that responding or investigating officers create after apprehending a suspect for a crime. These records have critical applications within the state's criminal justice system, including helping the police identify crime patterns or networks and judges determine appropriate sentences. Arrest records also enhance public safety by presenting interested persons with information about an individual's criminal past. Moreover, the records are useful for licensing and employment purposes and can provide insight into regional crime trends. 

Several criminal justice agencies in New York maintain arrest records, including the courts, local police agencies, and the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). New York arrest records bear a suspect's biometric, race/ethnicity, and offense data, among other details.

According to Annual Criminal Justice Statistics released by the DCJS, adult arrests in New York State totaled 308,453 in 2022, an 11.8% increase from last year's 274,592 arrests. Felony arrests comprised approximately 40% (or 123,373) of the total arrests in 2022, while misdemeanor arrests constituted the remaining 60% (or 185,080) of arrests that year. Adults frequently arrested for crimes were aged 30-34 (55,065 arrests), followed by persons aged 25-29 (51,831 arrests).

Mirroring adult arrest trends, juvenile arrests in non-New York City counties also saw a slight increase, a 14.1% increment from 2021 to 2022 (6,537 vs. 7,461). Reportedly, larceny, aggravated assault, and burglary caused the most juvenile arrests outside New York City in 2022. (The New York City Police Department does not report juvenile arrest data.)

Are Arrest Records Public in New York?

Yes, arrest records are public in New York. The New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), Article 6 (Sections 84-90) of the NYS Public Officers Law, allows the public to access arrest and other records maintained by criminal justice agencies, excluding records deemed confidential by statute, court order, or court rule. To that end, certain records are restricted to the public. 

For example, under Section 87 of the FOIL, the following records are exempt in New York: 

  • Records whose disclosure would interfere with ongoing criminal investigations or judicial proceedings
  • Records expressly exempted by state or federal statute
  • Records whose disclosure would invade personal privacy or endanger an individual's life or safety
  • Evidentiary information
  • Juvenile arrest records
  • Sealed or expunged arrest records

Furthermore, official criminal history records maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services—known to contain arrest data—are not disclosed under the FOIL or considered public records in New York.

What is Included in New York Arrest Records?

Several pieces of information make up a New York arrest record, including: 

  • An arrestee's complete name 
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Sex
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Age at the time of arrest
  • Last-known address
  • Date, time, and location of arrest
  • Arrest number
  • Arrest type
  • Arresting agency
  • Arresting officer ID
  • Arrest charge(s), code, and description
  • Booking details (booking number, time, date, and status)

Find Public Arrest Records in New York

Generally, there are two ways to find public arrest records in New York: through the courts or the police agency that made an arrest. 

Residents can stop by the records division of an arresting police department to request public arrest records. Some agencies also offer to provide records via mail if a requester sends a stamped, self-addressed envelope along with their written request, and some permit an email or telephone request. Information that may be required to obtain a public arrest record from a local police agency includes an arrestee's name, date of birth, arrest number, arrest date, and arrest precinct or station. However, in many cases, an inquirer can obtain public information about an arrest for free, but a fee applies to receive printed copies of a report—usually 25 cents per page. 

Those seeking public arrest records from the NYS court system can perform a Criminal History Record Search (CHRS) through the Office of Court Administration (OCA). Online searches can be requested through the OCA's Direct Access system. A user account is needed to access the system. Alternatively, a person can fill out and mail a CHRS application form to the Office of Court Administration at the address below.

Criminal History Record Search

NYS Office of Court Administration

Office of Administrative Services

Criminal History Record Search Unit

25 Beaver Street

9th Floor

New York, NY 10004

Any CHRS request requires the complete name and date of birth of the person(s) to be searched. Further, a CHRS request costs $95, any record obtained from a search is not certified, and confidential or sealed records are not released to requesters. Any questions about the search process can be directed to the OCA's Criminal History Record Search Unit at

Under New York law, parties who can view or obtain a nonpublic arrest record include the subject of the record (with ID), someone the subject designates (with ID), and official personnel for approved purposes. Any other party must procure a court order that permits disclosure. If involved in an active court case, an individual may apply for and serve a subpoena as provided in Civil Practice Law and Rules § 2307

Generally, a subpoena must be issued by a judge of competent authority and served at least 24 hours before the time fixed for the record's production unless otherwise allowed by the court. Still, it is necessary to confirm an agency's subpoena process, including relevant fees and service locations. The NYS courts provide further instructions for requesting subpoenas in New York.

How to Lookup Arrest Records Online in New York

One place to find arrest records online in New York is a local police department's website. Several city police and sheriff's departments in New York provide online listings of arrests made within their jurisdictions for free. These local authorities can also help locate a person in jail following an arrest.

Additionally, a person can search statewide arrest records online using the OCA's Direct Access system. User instructions are available in the OCA's user guide. Note that a fee applies.

Furthermore, several independent companies sell background checks and public records to the public online, which can uncover arrest information related to an individual. These sites aggregate data from various public repositories and databases. As such, they can provide users with a wealth of information and are often a great starting point for arrest record searches. Arrest record checks on a third-party site may require a person's first and last name, but users can often obtain instantaneous results. However, because these checks are not fingerprint-based or certified, users are advised to verify results obtained against official sources.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in New York

Permanently. In New York, arrests remain on a person's record forever unless sealed or expunged under state law. 

Nevertheless, New York government agencies maintain record retention and disposition schedules per the law—from less than a year to permanency. As such, a specific agency's arrest files may be destroyed or disposed of when a particular timeline passes, and a record has no administrative, legal, fiscal, or historical value. 

The New York State Archives oversees the retention and disposition of local and state agency records in New York. The agency publishes the Retention and Disposition Schedule for New York Local Government Records (LGS-1), which NYS local governments adopt.

According to the LGS-1 schedule, local law enforcement departments permanently maintain incident, complaint, or arrest summary records or logs not submitted to the DCJS. However, a case investigation record for an adult, juvenile, or youthful offender, which may include the arrest report and final case disposition, is retained according to the record's classification. For instance, case investigation records for homicides, arson (1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree), and suicides are maintained permanently. Meanwhile, case investigation records for misdemeanors are retained for five years after a case is closed, and records related to violations or traffic infractions are maintained for a year after a case is closed, and so on.

It should be noted an agency's retention schedule only covers records held by the agency; it does not imply that such records will be deleted or disposed of statewide or across other agencies. Only a sealing or expungement order can do that.

Expunge an Arrest Record in New York

New York permits expungement—the physical destruction or erasure of records—only for certain marijuana/cannabis offenses (Criminal Procedure Law § 160.50 (5)(a)). An expungement of a marijuana offense treats the related arrest, court case, and conviction like they never happened. Subsequently, the record:

  • Will not show up during criminal history checks
  • Will not be accessible to law enforcement unless related to a gun license application or law enforcement job
  • Cannot be used against a person on housing, job, or student loan applications
  • Does not have to be disclosed on a school or job application

Certain marijuana offenses (possession of up to 16 ounces or sale of up to 25 grams of marijuana) are eligible for automatic expungement by the New York courts, including: 

  • PL 221.05, PL 221.10: Unlawful Possession of Marijuana in the Second and First Degrees
  • PL 221.15, PL 221.20: Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fourth and Third Degrees
  • PL 221.35, PL 221.40: Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fifth and Fourth Degrees
  • PL 222.10: Restrictions on Cannabis Use
  • PL 222.15: Personal Cultivation and Home Possession of Cannabis
  • PL 222.25: Unlawful Possession of Cannabis
  • PL 222.45: Unlawful Sale of Cannabis
  • PL 240.36, PL 220.03, PL 220.06: Loitering in the First Degree; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh and Fifth Degrees (only if the only featured controlled substance in a case was concentrated cannabis or hashish)

However, where a person does not qualify for automatic expungement, they may utilize the courts' application process to vacate a conviction, dismiss or reduce charges, or reduce a sentence related to a marijuana arrest or case. The application process involves completing Form CPL 440.46 and filing it with the court that released the sentence. There is no filing fee.

Additionally, New York law allows persons arrested or convicted of unlawful marijuana possession and fifth-degree criminal marijuana possession to submit an Application to Destroy Expunged Marihuana Conviction Record to the Office of Court Administration. The process destroys all arrest, prosecution, and criminal history records related to a person's expunged marijuana conviction. 

More information about New York's marijuana expungement process can be found on the state judiciary's website.

For other arrest records, the State of New York uses a sealing process. Sealing an arrest record means that all records of a person's arrest, court case, and prosecution will be removed from public view. However, a sealed record can be released to the following parties: 

  • The subject of a record
  • The subject's designee
  • An employer if the subject applies for a job where they carry a gun
  • The subject's parole officer if the individual is arrested while on parole or probation
  • A law enforcement agency with a court order
  • The prosecutor, if the subject moves for an ACD (Adjournment In Contemplation of Dismissal) on a marijuana charge

New York has both automatic sealing and sealing by application processes. The following arrest records are eligible for automatic sealing:

  • Violations and traffic infractions
  • Crimes committed by youthful offenders and children
  • Cases where the arrestee got a favorable disposition (or good result)

Where a record qualifies for automatic sealing, the arrestee does not have to do anything. However, certain misdemeanor and felony arrests must be sealed by filing a petition with the court. Below are the eligibility criteria:

  • The individual must have no more than 2 misdemeanors or 1 misdemeanor and 1 felony conviction and must have been crime-free for 10 years. Sex offenses, serious felonies, and violent felonies are ineligible for sealing.
  • The individual must have completed a drug treatment program. In that case, they may qualify for conditional sealing.

Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59 sets out the procedure for sealing arrest and criminal records after 10 years. Generally, a petitioner must follow these steps: 

  • Request and submit a Criminal Disposition Certificate form to the court. A separate form must be completed for each case to be sealed. A fee is required to obtain a Certificate of Disposition ($5 outside NYC; $10 within NYC).
  • Fill out the Sealing Application (Notice of Motion and Affidavit of Support). The form must be signed before a notary public. It is also important to attach supporting documentation that serves as proof of rehabilitation, such as educational transcripts or letters of recommendation.
  • Send copies of the application, including the Certificate of Disposition, sealing petition, and other supporting documentation, to the District Attorney. Service can be performed by hand delivery or by mail. Per the law, the DA has 45 days to inform the court about an objection to the sealing.
  • Subsequently, the person who served the District Attorney's office must complete an Affidavit of Service and sign it before a notary public. A separate form is required for each DA's office served
  • File all originals, including the original Certificate of Disposition, Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support, Affidavit of Service, and other supporting documentation with the court. This must be the court where the most serious conviction was entered or the court where the most recent conviction was entered (if sealing cases of the same class). There is no filing fee to submit a sealing application to a New York court.

A petitioner obtains a signed Sealed Order from the court if their application is granted. Note that it is important to make a copy of all papers for one's personal records. 

Further information about New York's sealing process is available on the state judiciary's Criminal Records & Sealing page.

How Do I Find Recent Arrests in New York?

Members of the public can often find recent arrests in New York on a police department or sheriff's office website. For example, the Washington County Sheriff's Office lists recent arrests in the county online, and the City of Newburgh's Police Department offers weekly arrest reports for curious citizens. Information that individuals may obtain from these listings includes an arrestee's name, arrest date, arrest number, and charge(s).

Are New York Arrest Records Free?

Yes. A public records request to an arresting agency for a New York arrest record does not typically attract a fee unless the requester requires printed copies. However, any arrest record request made through the New York State Office of Court Administration or Division of Criminal Justice Services requires the payment of a processing fee, except where the applicant qualifies for a waiver. Similarly, obtaining New York arrest records from a third-party database or source may require a subscription or one-time fee.

New York Arrest Records
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