How To Find Out if Someone You Know Has Been Arrested

a person typing on a laptop

Have you found yourself being subject to a background check? This is a common way that businesses hiring new employees will look into whether or not you’ve been arrested or served prison time. While it’s not a dealbreaker for getting the job, it does keep your employer in the know about your past. There are several ways that people can look into arrest records and other information that may have led to someone winding up in handcuffs, or possibly behind bars.

Free Lookup Tools


There are many online outlets that allow you to search if someone is in jail. Inmate lookup tools are available through a simple Google search, but some outlets are less than reputable, scamming you for additional information about an offender. There are online search engines that will allow you to get access to an inmate record at a nominal fee, but may not provide the most in-depth details about the arrest and any subsequent charges or prison time served.

If you’re trying to look up a recent arrest, holding details may not be readily available. If the person being arrested is held at a local jail or county jail temporarily, their information is not provided until they are placed into more permanent lockup. Some jurisdictions offer public access to arrest records. You can type in the last name of a prisoner or arrested party to gain knowledge of what led to them being cuffed. This will list out charges, in some cases providing mugshots from the arrest. If this person was sentenced, you also may be able to see their scheduled release date.

Available Legal Resources


Beyond online searches, you can actually reach out to a state’s Department of Corrections for inmate information. Call the phone number provided to the department to be directed towards any arrest information or jail records you may be seeking. This could lead to county sheriff’s offices and, in some circumstances, the federal bureau of prisons to assist you with your inmate search. It’s important to remember that certain information is a matter of public records, or other pieces of information are kept sealed by the courts.

Attorneys like Malliha Wilson have been able to provide vital records through matters of discovery in the courtroom that could also be made accessible for public record or media coverage. Wilson dealt with a litany of cases through her time as Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Government of Ontario. As the first woman of color to publicly hold such a position, Wilson built her reputation in that assistant AG role into the powerful law firm Nava Wilson LLP, taking on cases spanning human rights, corporate and labor law, and other complex litigation.

Private Search Companies


To garner information on arrests, you may hit continuous roadblocks because of sealed records or laws in places barring access to certain information. This is where some people have turned to private search companies to garner this info. Often led by retired police officers or federal authorities, these outlets are able to dig through courthouse records to reveal dismissals and expungements surrounding felonies and misdemeanors.

This has become of use in certain civil cases, such as custody status, to work out settlements between divorcing parties by using a variety of sources for information. These private companies could also discover legal judgments that were not public knowledge and bring attention to convictions that an employer or tenant screening did not deliver. It’s important to recognize that when obtaining this victim’s information and other objects from the past, it is done responsibly and safely. Make sure it’s being done in the best interest of all parties involved.