What is an Arrest Record?
Crime history records are kept in Missouri by the Criminal Justice Information Division of the State Highway Patrol. The repository maintained by this agency contains data on all things pertaining to criminal cases that were initiated in the state and these records are maintained in accordance with Statute 43.500. The information retained in this database is collected from a myriad of government sources including the state prosecutors, law enforcement offices, the Department of Corrections and the local courts.
These branches of the state justice system are expected to send in all details pertaining to felonies, aggravated misdemeanors and drug and alcohol related DUIs to the State Highway Patrol. Information maintained by the CJIS goes back to the 1940's; however, data on cases that occurred after 1987 is more comprehensive since reporting to the CJIS was made a legal mandate for all justice and law enforcement departments in the state at this point.
The Criminal Justice Information Services Division is not only responsible for compiling and recording crime history information but also the department is charged with disseminating this data in response to civilian inquiries. Arrest records in Missouri comprise of criminal incident reports, crime history records along with area specific statistics.
As far as information on offenders is concerned, the CJIS holds details on notations of arrest, identifiable description of the perpetrator, warrants, arrests, detentions, indictment, charges filed and disposition arising from such criminal proceedings. These records are not just offered to law enforcement divisions but also to non-government organizations and private applicants. The CJIS entertains background check requests in two forms:
- Personal identifier based searches: These queries are based on the name of the subject and additional criteria like the social security number along with the birth date. Because two factors are matched in order to get the results of these searches, it is imperative to provide as much information as possible to get accurate results.
- Finger print based inquiries: To initiate a finger print search, the applicant will have to provide finger print cards; these can be procured through Cogent which is the official finger print service vendor for Missouri State.
Arrest records are also disseminated online through the Missouri Criminal History Site or MACHS at https://www.machs.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MocchWebInterface/home.html; the CJIS maintains the site. In keeping with the two forms of crime history inquiries accepted by the division, MACHS offers a provision for name based as well as finger print searches.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
Arrest warrants from Missouri can be legally defined as judicial orders which are issued in response to a written complaint made to the local court that has jurisdiction to rule in criminal cases. Such a directive for detention can be issued by any associate circuit magistrate as long as probable cause can be ascertained based on the information presented by the office of sheriff or any other law enforcement office.
Such a detention decree is an explicit order from the tribunal to officers of law from all over the country to arrest the accused and bring him before the magistrate so that he can be dealt with in accordance with the criminal procedure of the state. Arrest can also be effected in the state of Missouri without an active warrant. However, pursuant to Chapter 544 of the Missouri Criminal Code, Section 170.1, such detention can only last for 24 hours or less unless the arrestee can be charged with a criminal offense.
Once an active warrant is issued in the name of an individual, this person can be taken into custody from any place and any time in accordance with section 210 of the state criminal statutes. If the accused escapes while being in transit, the officer from whose custody he has escaped may immediately pursue and re-arrest the individual in question.
In conformance with criminal statute 544.060, arrest warrants can also be issued when an indictment is found. The court may command the county clerk to issue a warrant in such cases as soon as possible after the close of the term. If two or more indictments are found against one person, only one active warrant will be issued against this individual. However, a warrant is not required against people who are already being held in custody. In case of warrants issued upon finding indictment, the order will be released by the tribunal in which such an indictment may be pending.
The office of the sheriff has to execute arrest warrants and subpoenas immediately after receipt. Arrest warrants in the state of Missouri can be issued to more than one county simultaneously. Article V of the Constitution of Missouri states that warrants issued by judicial personnel vested by section 1 can be executed in any part of the state.
How to Search For an Inmate in the Missouri Prison System
The Missouri Department of Corrections offers an online tool to look through their database of offenders. Records are offered for convicts who have already served their sentences and also on offenders who are currently lodged in the state prisons. To use this service, you will have to visit the official website of the state agency at http://doc.mo.gov/. Click on the "proceed to offender web search" tab seen at the bottom of the page. This action will redirect you to the form page. The offender search is a name or DOC id based inquiry.
So, it would help to either have the distinctive identifier number assigned to the offender you are seeking information on or the first and last name of the criminal. Once you enter the required information, simply click on "search" to reach the results page. Here, you will be offered details on the physical traits of the prisoner including his race, height, weight, gender, any identifiable marks or tattoos, etc.
Apart from this, you will also be provided with details on criminal charges brought against the person in question, the incarceration facility where the suspect is serving his prison term, parole dates, assigned officer, sentence summary, release dates and more.
Who Can Search For Arrest Records and Warrants in Missouri?
Missouri Sunshine Law section 610.011 clearly states the policy to be followed by government agencies when it comes to the dissemination of public records and keeping government meetings open to members of the community. Crime history data is considered to be public records and as such information about criminal incidents and processes can be sought by any civilian applicant.
While the justice agencies that keep such records are legally obligated to provide such details when a formal request is made for them, certain information is out of bounds. This includes the social security number of a person, health related data and information that pertains to the address and contact details of law enforcement agents. Also, details on suspended sentences and dismissed cases as well as matters that resulted in a "not guilty' verdict are closed to public.
How to Request Records Under the Missouri Public Records Act?
There are two options available for people who would like to get a background check performed in Missouri. They can approach the State Highway Patrol, CJIS division for a name based check or a finger print search. The personal identifier check, which is based on matching the name and the birth date or the SSN of the offender, is charged at $10 per inquiry.
Only open records are furnished in response to such a search and the results of these queries are considered possible matches. The report offered for a personal identifier check will include details on cases that resulted in conviction, information on arrests that are less than a month old, records of suspended sentences and matters in which charges were filed by the prosecution while awaiting final disposition.
Arrest records in Missouri can also be procured through a finger print search. These inquiries cost no less than $20 and it takes 5 to 7 days to receive the results of such an inquiry. Finger print based queries bring back positive matches. The results of such an inquiry will include closed as well as complete records. So, you will find details on all arrests whether charges brought against the accused in the case or not along with information about all criminal matters initiated against the subject even those that resulted in acquittal.
Requests for both the finger print base searches and personal identifier inquiries can be made in person, through mail or by using the MACH site. To visit the CJIS in person, you can go to:
Annex Building1510 East Elm StreetJefferson City, MO 65101
The processing time for inquiries made in person at the Public Window is about 30 minutes. However, if you mail in your request, it will take 3 to 4 weeks to get the results of your inquiry. On the other hand, internet based searches bring back almost instant results. It is also possible to get the background reports notarized for an additional fee of $2.
You will also be able to find arrest records in Missouri through the official site of the state judiciary at https://www.courts.mo.gov/.
How Long Does An Arrest Record or Warrant Stay On File In Missouri?
Arrest warrants issued Missouri do not come with a specified validity period. In fact, it is taken for granted that these orders will be held by the police till such time that the accused is arrested and presented before the court. Unlike bench warrants and other legal provisions like search decrees that expire after a set period, active orders for arrest can prevail in the state justice system perpetually.