Look Up Criminal Records And Understand Them

December 17th, 2012

Criminal records and what you can look up online


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Background check someone now

Do you want to know how to look up someone’s criminal record? You might be suspicious about a friends behaviour or you might know that they haven’t always been on the right side of the law and you want to find out exactly what they have done. You might have a new date and you want to do a quick background check to find out more about the person. These are just some of the reasons that you might want to look up criminal records but do you know what all the different types of offences mean?

Doing background checks on someone to look up such things as criminal records, email addresses, marriage records,arrest records and much more has never been as easy as it is today. In just a few short years the Internet has turned near impossible tasks into astonishingly simple and quick jobs that can be a pleasure to undertake. In the USA, looking up criminal records and other background information has been made very easy and affordable for you by public records Investigations web sites. You can literally background check everyone you know.

So what types of criminal records might you find and what do they all mean? There are quite a few different categories and it is important that you understand what they all mean.

Misdemeanors

Offences that are considered to be the least serious are called misdemeanors. They include such things as shoplifting, Driving under the influence of alcohol, traffic offenses and other small crimes. Unless the offender has prior criminal record these offences are not likely to result in any custodial sentence. Misdemeanors may not show on all searches and some states do not consider it to be part of your criminal record.

Felonies

A felony can be any crime that is more serious than a misdemeanor. Anything from drug possession to rape and murder. If you see an offence described simply as “Felony” on someone’s criminal record then you should try to find out exactly what felony crime it refers to.

Traffic Violations

Petty traffic offences such as speeding or running a red light do not make it onto someone’s criminal record in all states unless it involved someone getting killed or damaging property or some other more serious result.

Sex Offender listings

For sexual offences it is now normal for the convicted person to be ordered to sign the sex offender register and to keep it informed of their current address. Since the late 1990′s sex offender registers have been maintained in most states in addition to a national register administered by the FBI. If a person is listed on this register then it will show on a criminal records lookup.

Parole and Probation violations

If a prisoner is released on parole, before they have served their full sentence they can be sent back to prison if they do not stick to all of the strict conditions that the parole imposes on them. Someone can be given probation as an alternative to sending them to prison. Again it comes with strict conditions and if the offender breaks any of these then they can be sent to prison. Parole and Probation are very different but violating the conditions of either can result in prison time.

Arrest Records

Arrest records are available for some states and show the date of arrest, what the offense was and what type of offence it is. You might also find other information such as conviction dates, fine amounts, photos etc.

Conviction Record

If the person has been convicted of any offense of any type then this information should be included on their record. There may also be entries resulting from someone being judged delinquent, being dishonorably discharged, placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled by any law enforcement or military authority.

Inmate Records

Information is drawn from U.S. Federal and State prisons and reports may include probation and parole records. You may find a description of the offence, time served, sex, age, release date etc.

So now that you know what all the different types of offences that show on a report are about go and look up criminal records now. It’s easy, fast and affordable.


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Where Is This Phone Number

September 24th, 2012

Find out where a phone number is


Woman looking up phone number

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How to find out who owns a phone number and where it is located

Do you need to find out who a phone number belongs to?
Did someone call you out of the blue and you don’t recognize the number? Did your date give you his number and you want to find out if it’s genuine? Perhaps you got an email from someone you are not sure of but there was a phone number on the bottom? Have you found a number on a scrap of paper that you want to check out?

Just a few short years ago it would have been impossible to to find out who owns a phone number but this is not the case any longer. Doing a “reverse telephone lookup” as it’s often called, can be as simple as clicking a few buttons on a web site. You can even do it from your smartphone and check someone out as soon as you meet them. Back in the days of printed telephone directories this would have seemed like science fiction but today it’s very much fact and a part of everyday life.

Why would you want to do a reverse phone check?

If you have never needed to look someone up by their phone number then it might not be obvious to you where and when it might be beneficial to do so. Here are a few reasons why you might consider using a reverse phone directory.

1. Did you get a strange call?

Did you ever get a call from someone that you didn’t know? Perhaps you missed the call and you are curious about the number that you don’t recognize. Should you call them back to find out who it was or do you go online and get some details about the owner of the number first?

2. Do you have a new friend?

Have you just met someone new but you aren’t sure that they are being honest with you? Why not check out the phone number he gave you. You can make sure that it is his number and find out some background information on him at the same time. It would be nice to know if he has a criminal record for instance wouldn’t it?

3. Learn more about the sender of that email

Have you received an email from someone that you don’t know? If there is a phone number in the signature then you can look to see who it’s registered to.

4. Is your partner being honest with you?

Have you found a piece of paper with a number on it around the house? It could have fallen out of the laundry for instance. Do a reverse check on the number to make sure that your partner isn’t hiding anything from you.

How to do a reverse telephone lookup

Finding out who owns a telephone number could not be easier than it is today. All you have to do is visit a reverse telephone directory web site, enter the number you are interested in and pay a small fee. Not only will this give you access to details and background information about the owner it will also allow you to look up as many numbers as you want to.

Checking out a phone number is quick, efficient and very affordable so go and do it. Find out who owns that number now.

Active Arrest Warrants Check

August 16th, 2012

Find warrants for my arrest

Arrested and muted man

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Check for arrest warrants and stay out of trouble

Can you imagine what could happen to you if you have an arrest warrant and you choose to ignore the fact? When you get stopped for a police routine auto check or for any other reason, they can and often do check for any warrants you might have out on you. If they find that you are wanted then they will arrest you on the spot. When they have you in custody they may take a DNA sample from you which could land you in serious trouble if they can match it to a crime scene.

Do you have speeding offences or unpaid fines?

You might have arrest warrants that you aren’t aware of for a number of reasons. You might have a speeding offence that you haven’t been notified of yet or you might have forgotten to pay a fine or even forgotten to turn up in court when you should have. Any of these things could trigger a warrant for your arrest being issued.

You might hear nothing about your arrest warrant for a long time depending on how serious the offence was and how motivated the police are in your area. One day they will get around to you and you will get a knock at the door early one day and be dragged off to jain.

Do you even know that you have a warrant?

If you know that you’ve done something wrong or forgot to turn up in court, or you’ve offended in some other way then you can guess that you do have an outstanding arrest warrant. But just think, what if you didn’t ever receive that speeding ticket or you didn’t know about the court appearance. Even worse, you might be a victim of identity theft and someone else has committed a crime for you. In this case you will not have any idea that there is a warrant out for you unless you make a point of checking for yourself.

Are you an identity theft victim?

Identity theft is a booming business for criminals and a horrific nightmare for you if you become a victim. Almost everyone has either had their identity compromised or knows of someone who’s had it stolen. It’s very common that the victims don’t know that someone is using their name for months or even years and then they only find out when they notice money missing out of their bank account or they receive bills for things that they didn’t order.

Now when someone steals your identity and commits a crime in your name it’s called criminal identity theft. When this happens you could end up with arrest warrants for crimes you didn’t commit. You could have multiple warrants in many different states or even different countries.

Don’t wait for the police to come for you – Find your warrants first

Here are some simple ways that you can check for active arrest warrants

  1. Ignore the possibility until the police come for you.
  2. Ask an officer of the law if you have a warrant.
  3. Ask at the courthouse.
  4. Search a public records database.

Ignore the possibility of a warrant and wait for the police

This is what most people do I suspect but do you want to be the same as everyone else and risk the possibility of an embarrassing visit from the police one day then spending at least a little time in jail.

Ask an officer of the law if you have a warrant

Asking a police officer is an efficient way of finding out if you have a warrant. Unfortunately it’s an efficient way of getting arrested too. If you do have one the officer will be obliged to arrest you. If you choose to try this then go with your bag packed just in case.

Ask at the courthouse.

If you know where your warrant was issued then asking at the appropriate courthouse is a good way to find your warrants. If you have remembered that you’ve missed a court appearance or have some unpaid fines or something then it shouldn’t be too difficult to find out where the correct records office is located. This can sometimes be a good way to locate your warrants and you are less likely to get arrested this way either.

Search a public records database.

Public records web sites keep massive databases of background information that can be found elsewhere if only you knew where to look for it. The best public records databases have been built over many years and they are being constantly updated from hundreds if not, thousands of different sources. There are billions of records available for you to access and arrest warrants are just one of the many information groups that they specialize in.

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Author: Steve Gee

Convict Search Engines | No Dating Without Checking

June 28th, 2012

Find warrants for my arrest

Arrested and muted man

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Always check your dates

It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are, you still need to be very careful when you date someone. I’ve just been reading an article about a mature lady who paid a dating agency a lot of money to find and vet a suitable partner for her only to find that the man they fixed her up with had a string of convictions to his name.

Now you might have expected that the dating agency would have made reasonable efforts to check whether it’s members have criminal records or not. After all this wasn’t a cheap online dating site, the fees were thousands of dollars and for that I think that price you should expect a thorough service. Apparently this didn’t happen in this case.

Why pay an expensive dating agency?

You may ask yourself why anyone would want to pay so much money to an agency just to find a date. There are plenty of free dating web sites on the Internet that you can use after all. I’m guessing that they do it because they think that the agency will protect them in some way from getting a bad apple. It’s also possible that they think that the more they pay then the more protection they are going to get. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

So if you can’t rely on someone else to background check your dates for you then what can you do? I would suggest that wherever possible you take responsibility for checking people out yourself. There is no harm in employing an agency who should be doing this for you of course but even if you do then do make sure that you do some simple online checks yourself. This way you can be sure that you have done everything that you can to make sure that you stay safe.

Background check your date

Before you ever do anything serious with a new friend, no matter how you met them, check them out online. There are some very well established background checking web sites on the Internet that you can use very cheaply. Not only do they work like convict search engines to show you previous convictions and arrest warrants that your date might have but they can also tell you a lot more about your friend too. Possibly more than you could ever expect from a dating agency or web site.

When I first started using background checking web sites to investigate people I wanted to know the big stuff like has he got any convictions or warrants out for him? Sometimes I was interested to know whether someone had been made bankrupt or not. A pretty important point when you are considering the possibility of spending the rest of your life with someone.

Investigating people can be fun

I hadn’t been investigating people online for very long before I realized that there was so much more information that you can potentially find out about someone by using these web sites. You can check their address and phone number for a start. You can then go on to check if there are any marriage or divorce records. Did he tell you that he wasn’t married? Now you might be able to catch him out.

When you have done all that you can even find information about relatives and neighbors. It’s a whole lot of fun and can be very addictive once you get started.

Online investigations web sites gather together as much publicly available information that they can find into one enormous database. They can never be completely accurate or 100% complete of course but new records are added all the time and if you find something in there that gives you reason for concern then you should challenge your friend with it. It is always better to be safe than sorry so remember, make sure that your friend isn’t hiding his past from you. No dating without background checking first.

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Author: Steve Gee

Check For Warrants – Even Royals Don’t Escape Arrest And Jail

June 25th, 2012

The police don’t mind who you are

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Lady Penelope's car

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Emma Parker Bowles is the niece of Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall in England. Emma lives in Los Angeles and says that she loves it but she didn’t bargain on getting arrested and left in a cold and dirty jail cell overnight. An indignity that she might have avoided had it happened back in the UK because of who she is. She might have been able to avoid this happening in the US too but not because of her family connections.

So how did this happen? Well it appears that Emma had forgotten to go to court to answer a traffic violation ticket. This had resulted in a bench warrant being issued for her arrest. When she was subsequently stopped while driving her car the police discovered the warrant and arrested her. Letting her off because she had attended the royal wedding was not an option for these officers. It was simply a matter of routine. So handcuffed she was and off to jail they went.

Respect the courts at all times

As I said, back in the UK she might have escaped the indignity of an overnight stay in a police cell simply because she is related to the royal family but that doesn’t excuse the fact that she failed to turn up in court when she should. The fact is that courts on both sides of the Atlantic do not like it when someone disregards their instructions and you can expect them to use the powers that they have available when you do. If this had happened to any normal person in London then I am pretty sure that they would be facing a night in jail too and I suspect that they would be equally critical of the state of the cells in London jails.

There is no royalty in the US

Police in the US do not recognize the rich, famous or royalty. They treat everyone the same way. Some might even say that they enjoy arresting celebrities because it looks like a bigger catch. Arresting you or I would just be part of their normal day but throwing royalty into jail would make their week. It’s best then to always keep a low profile, stay out of trouble and make sure that you go to court when you are told to.

Arrest records are for life

Unfortunately poor Emma now has an arrest record which will follow her forever no matter where she goes. Any future employer, friend or partner will be able to find it whenever they want to by using online background checking tools. It will never go away. If you are a famous pop singer, rich or royal you may not care but if you are normal like most people then you should care because it will matter.

So how could she have avoided this? She could have gone to court when she was instructed to. That would have avoided the warrant being issued and she would not have then been arrested. She would no doubt have dealt with the traffic violation by paying a fine. That would have been the end of it. No warrant, no arrest so no arrest record.

Finding your warrants

One big problem here is that you don’t always know that you have an arrest warrant. Emma certainly didn’t. She had clean forgotten to go to court and had no reason to think that she might be being hunted by the police. It is possible that you never received notification of the court appearance in the first place. These things can happen. The first time most people in this situation realize that they have a warrant is when the police stop you for something unrelated and then they discover the warrant. By then it’s too late of course.

You can check yourself out online to see if there are any warrants listed for you. It’s quick and easy and while it can never be 100% reliable it might just help you to stay out of jail and avoid that arrest record.

The moment that you discover that you have a warrant you should make arrangements to hand yourself in and deal with any offence that you might be wanted for. It’s generally best to get yourself a lawyer to guide you through the correct way of doing this. Check for warrants often and stay out of jail.

Emma has written an amusing article about her experience which you can read here.

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Author: Steve Gee

Cell Phone Numbers Search | InfoLinkUp

June 22nd, 2012

If you are looking for a good web site to do a search by phone number then it doesn’t come much easier than this. There is a new site called InfoLinkUp Phone Search that works for cell phone numbers and land lines and it should do exactly what you are looking for.

All you have to do is enter the phone number you are looking up into the box and click the “SEARCH” button. It quickly comes back and gives you information about the number. It can tell you what type of telephone it is, cell phone or land line. It tells you when the number was registered and who the service provider is. It also gives you a map of the location where the phone is registered. It can’t give you the current location of a cell phone of course but you can’t have everything.

Click the “SHOW NAME” button to find out who owns the phone number. This is what you are really looking for isn’t it? There is a charge for this service but you can get access to do unlimited phone look ups for as little as One dollar. It doesn’t get much better than that so what are you waiting for? Do your phone number search now.

Arrest Warrant Checks For iPhone and Android

May 21st, 2012

Make sure you know the people you are with

Check arrest records
Check your date
Background checks

I’ve been using public records web sites for years to find people and to check out my dates. I like to make sure that they have no arrest warrants or criminal records that I don’t know about. I do it just to make sure that I’m going to stay safe with the people around me and to re-connect with old friends.

Arrest Warrants

Warrants for arrest are issued by courts when the police suspect you of a crime and apply to the court for one. A bench warrant can also be issued by the court itself if you have failed to turn up or not paid a fine or something similar. Warrants and arrest records can be searched for using public records databases but you must bear in mind that simply being arrested doesn’t automatically mean that the person has done anything wrong. You can often find arrest records and warrants, if they have any, by doing a background check on them online.

Doing background checks when you are out

Smartphones like iPhone or Android powered devices are the in thing nowadays. Most of my friends have either one or the other. A few others have similar devices with different operating systems but they do appear to be in the minority. A smart phone is just that, a cell phone that is smart enough to surf the web and run small applications known as apps. It’s like taking your computer with you wherever you go. The iPhone was the first of this breed on the market but Android devices are quickly catching up and personally, I prefer Android to iPhone because I find it more versatile and it fits my needs better.

About a year ago I took the plunge and got myself an Android smartphone. I found that I could now use the same public records sites to check people out when I’m on the move. I didn’t have to wait until I got home any more, I could meet someone in a bar and check them out with my cell phone right there. It was amazing how much better I felt about meeting new people now that I didn’t have to wait to find out about them. I never even considered that there might be an even better way to do it.

More recently I’ve noticed that some of the web sites that I like to visit are different when I look at them on my phone. When I’m at home on my PC I see a conventional full size web site but when I look at the same site on my phone I get a different version which is much better suited to being viewed on a tiny browser screen. This got me thinking that there might be a better way for me to do checks on people when I’m out.

Mobile web sites

What makes a mobile web site different to a conventional web site that you might see on your computer? The challenge for the mobile site designer is to provide pages that can be used easily and usefully on a device with a tiny screen and a less than perfect keyboard. On top of that the mobile pages have to cope with being controlled by your finger on the touch screen. Fingers are poor substitutes for your PC mouse.

So expect to see larger text, bigger buttons and easily navigated screens. All of which will help you to find the information you need and do your background checks quickly with the least amount of fuss. Using a good mobile optimized public records web site can be a breath of fresh air after struggling with huge web sites on your phone.

Mobile sites also tend to have less content in order to de-clutter the screens. Anything that isn’t strictly required for the task in hand is left off which can help a lot when using the site. But don’t think that you are losing out by Using Everify because there is a link at the bottom of the mobile pages for the web version of the site.

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Arrest Warrant Search – What To Do When You Get Arrested

June 27th, 2011

When you get arrested – SHUT UP!

Find warrants for my arrest

Arrested in handcuffs

Search for active arrest warrants

Getting yourself arrested can come as a surprise. This is especially true when you are a good law abiding citizen and getting arrested is the last thing that you expected to happen.

Having the police come for you with an arrest warrant or even just arresting you on suspicion of doing something that you haven’t done can be a very scary experience and it happens to thousands of people every year. When it happens to you will you know what to do? Will you know how to handle the situation in a way that doesn’t incriminate you?

Most of us, and I’m guessing you too, would assume that cooperating with the police was the best thing to do. Answer all their questions as truthfully and as honestly as you can. It pains me to have to tell you that this is exactly what you should not do.

Do not say anything

When you get arrested you will be told that you don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to but if you do say something then it can be used against you in court. Read that again – “It can be used against you” – and believe me, if they can use it against you then they will.

In the UK the police are much less honest than than US cops. They fail to tell you about the danger that you put yourself in when you talk to them. In fact they encourage you to incriminate yourself by suggesting that if you don’t say anything then you won’t be able to rely on it in court. As if you have to tell them everything or you will be in big trouble. Be quite clear on this point. If you tell the police anything then it is very likely that it will be held against you when you go to court. So don’t say anything.

Get yourself a lawyer

If you are going to say anything at all to the police then make sure that your legal council is present at all times. This will help you to avoid some of the more blatant traps that the police will place for you in their questioning. It is very difficult to stop yourself from saying something that will later get you into trouble. Often you will not be aware of the intent of the questions being put to you. The interviewers are skilled at what they do and are well rehearsed in their questioning techniques.

You might not know this but when you get to court they can use any part of your statements against you and they do not have to quote the whole conversation. Quotations from your statements can and do get used out of context to make you look bad when the answers you gave to questions seemed quite safe at the time when you said them.

Don’t be stupid. When you get arrested don’t say anything then they will not have anything that they can use against you. It’s that simple.

Never touch a police officer

if you find yourself being arrested by a police officer don’t protest, don’t shout and curse and above all do not touch the officer. If you do any of these things it can get you arrested when they were not going to arrest you. It can also get you arrested on more serious charges than you might otherwise have been. These extra charges can include resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. You do not want to add these charges to your arrest record but the officers will love it if you do. They get more points if they can arrest you on more serious charges.

Never refuse legal council

It is not uncommon for people to refuse legal council when they get arrested, even when the service is free. The right to a lawyer is often waived by innocent people who believe that they have nothing to fear from the justice system providing that they answer all the police questions truthfully and honestly. They have nothing to hide do they? Nothing could be further from the truth. Do you think that the police are interested in the truth or in finding the real criminal if you are sitting in front of them prepared to give them all the evidence that they need to convict you?

The police are interested in increasing their conviction rate. They have no incentive to ensure that they put the right people behind bars, despite anything that you might see in films or on TV.

The police are not your friends

If they police arrest you then they are not your friend. They are not on your side. They will do everything that they can to gather evidence against you that might lead to your conviction.

Police investigators are experts in getting you to say exactly what they want you to say and they want you to say something that they can use against you in court. Don’t tell them anything.

it’s your public duty to say nothing

If you talk to the police then you are potentially giving them the evidence that they can use to convict you with. If they have that evidence then they will lose any incentive that they might have had to look for the real criminal. If you talk to the police they could convict you and the real offender will remain free to commit more crimes. It is your public duty to not let this happen. Make the police do their job and find the truth instead of making it up.

Do you have any outstanding arrest warrants

You can often avoid getting yourself arrested by handing yourself in before the police come to arrest you. If you do this voluntarily and under the supervision of a lawyer then you have a much better chance of dealing with the warrant without getting arrested. You can find out if you have any active arrest warrants by consulting a public records investigations web site. It isn’t expensive and it could save you from getting a nasty surprise.

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Author: Steve Gee

Arrest Warrant Checks – Why Are Our Juries Being Used As A Substitute For Evidence?

June 1st, 2011

How do I get convicted for something I haven’t done

Find warrants for my arrest

Inside a courtroom

Search for active arrest warrants

Recent technology advances in the field of forensic science have brought about a rash of convictions based on detecting suspects involved cases that have been cold for years. Most notable of these advances are in the field of DNA profiling where your DNA can be matched to that found at scenes of crimes that were committed decades ago. This, together with the alarming passion with which police officers now collect peoples DNA for entry into national computer systems, has resulted in many recent cold cases of murder and rape being tried before a judge and convictions obtained.

If you get arrested in the UK and in many parts of the USA too, then you will almost certainly have to submit to your DNA being taken and entered onto the database. You don’t have to be charged with anything for this to happen and it doesn’t matter what you were arrested for either. Once your DNA profile is on the database it will be searched for matches and if one turns up then you are in a lot of trouble whether you committed a crime or not. Remember that the police only need “probable cause” to lawfully arrest you and that can mean that they don’t have much more than suspicion.

Throw the rapists and murderers into prison

I would like to think that all of the convictions obtained in this way have been sound and we can all sit back and look on this as a job well done with more criminals behind bars. There is one recent case however, involving a friend of mine, that has given me cause to doubt this. It has in fact terrified me because it demonstrates just how easy it is for any one of us to get convicted and sent to prison for something that you did not do.

I’m sure that there are now many more bad people in prison as a result of these new technologies. You often hear of cases where the defendant had a string of prior offenses similar to the one they are currently accused of or where eye witnesses remember the person. There are also cases where factual evidence and motive lead you to believe that the guilty verdict is the right one.

But what if there is no evidence?

What if the only evidence in say a rape case, is a DNA match? At best, a DNA match proves that sex took place within 72 hours of the sample being taken. What if the defendant has no prior convictions for any offence and convincingly argues that he has no memory of committing an offence?

What if the police have already destroyed all the other evidence, including the alleged victim’s clothing and hair from bushes. Destroyed to save space in the evidence store would you believe?

What if the defendant has never been identified as the attacker by anyone and all the prosecution witnesses contradict the alleged victim on most of her account of the event? The alleged victim was an alcoholic and a drug addict. Not the most reliable of witnesses.

What would you do if you were the prosecution?

If you were responsible for the prosecution case in this instance what would you do? Would you accept that there is no evidence to suggest that the defendant is guilty of any crime? Indeed there was no real evidence that a crime was committed at all by anyone so would you drop the case or would you take it to court and expect an unqualified jury to decide? Decide on what You might ask. If there is no evidence then what is the jury supposed to do?

This could happen to you

This story might seem absurd and unbelievable to you as it did to me but this is exactly what happened to a friend of mine. The same thing could happen to you or I just as easily. He has no memory of the event which happened 16 years earlier and is quite sure that he would have remembered committing such a crime.

All 12 jurors in this case decided that he was guilty of the crime beyond all reasonable doubt. How can that happen when there is no evidence? Perhaps they assumed that if there was absolutely no proof whatsoever and the police still believe that he did it then they must know something that the jury could not be told for some legal reason. Just a theory, what do you think?

How do I avoid giving up my DNA?

My friend was forced to give up his DNA when he was arrested for a misdemeanor where no charges were brought. Regularly checking for arrest warrants is one way that you can reduce your chances of getting arrested and having your DNA sampled. You can do this inexpensively using a public records web site. If you have an outstanding arrest warrant and you give yourself in voluntarily then you are much less likely to be arrested and find yourself on the DNA register.

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Author: Steve Gee

Criminal Records Dont Get Convicted By Your Facebook Posts

April 6th, 2011

Is Facebook a friend or your worst enemy?

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Judges gavel used to convict

Look up someone’s criminal record

Facebook is arguably one of the very best inventions of the last 50 years. Or is it one of the worst abominations to be conceived yet? It all depends on your point of view and if you are one of the unfortunate people who have lost a job, been turned down for a job, been cyber-bullied or even got a criminal record because of something posted on FB then you know what I’m taking about.

It’s undeniable that social networking sites have brought pleasure to millions of people around the world. It has allowed people to keep in touch despite vast distances and passage of time. It has brought old friends together when they thought that they would never see each other again. Many people use FB as an invaluable tool to organize events and keep their social life in order. Communicating with people has never been easier, especially now that you can do it so easily on your phone while mobile.

The dark side of Facebook

There is however a dark side to this new found freedom of communication and expression. Social networks make it possible for you to track the daily activities of all your friends and allows you to communicate with them any time that you want to. This very same technology makes it possible for employers to build a background profile of you and use it to decide whether to give you a job or not. Worse still, your Facebook profile can provide evidence to the police and land you with a criminal record.

If you apply for a job in an office and your FB profile shows that you regularly party the night away into the small hours they might take that into consideration. If you apply for a job working with children but your FB page shows you in compromising situations then there is a good chance that you will not get the job.

Some people post pictures of themselves actually committing offenses thinking that their pages are private. This can get you into serious trouble. It can get you arrested and provide the prosecution with all the ammunition that they need to secure a conviction. You then have a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life.

Don’t stop using Facebook

I don’t want to stop you from using FB. As I said, the social benefits it brings are huge and I would not want to deny you those benefits. What I do want you to do is act responsibly when you are using it.

The first thing that you must do is use the tools that Facebook provide to secure your account. This means setting your profile so that only the people that you want to see your information can see it. When you have done that you have probably done more than most to help keep your life private and secure your reputation.

Online security is never enough

Simply securing your account is not enough however. Remember that you are relying on the owners of FB to be responsible and respect your privacy wishes. Can you trust them to do that? I would not. You must also remember that FB is just one huge software program. It is built by programmers who are human and don’t always get things right. I know this because I’m a programmer myself. A web site like Facebook is a complex piece of software which is impossible secure 100% with certainty. If there is even a small hole in the security then the hackers will find it sooner or later.

Even if Facebook was 100% secure one of your ‘friends’ could take your posts and images and post them elsewhere. You may forget that you made your boss a friend and then post something bad about the company that you work for. A sure way to get yourself fired if you ask me.

FB will also give up your information to the police to comply with court orders. Anything that you write or post online can and will be held against you in court if the police choose to do so when they charge you with an offence. A conviction for smashing a window is easy to achieve if you post a picture of you doing it on FB.

Anything you post on line may be found in a background check

So don’t stop using FB but whenever you post stuff there you should assume that whatever you put on the site may someday become public. Before you post ask yourself this question “Would I want anyone else to see this?”. If you would rather not show this information to your employer, a prospective employer, your ex partner or the police then don’t post it. Keep it to yourself. If you do this every time then you should be able to sleep easier at night knowing that it can’t come back to bite you one day.

Don’t get yourself a criminal record because you have posted something online to Facebook or anywhere else on line. It’s easy enough for someone to do a background check on you online without you helping out by posting all your secrets too.

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Author: Steve Gee