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How to get a Criminal Record (and how to get rid of one)

Obtaining a copy of someone’s Idaho criminal record is a relatively straightforward process. Protecting yourself and making sure no one can get a copy of your past criminal record is complicated and time consuming. Let’s start with some basics; criminal records and police reports are different things. Police reports are made by the police during the process of investigating a crime. They only become part of a criminal record held by the court if they are entered into evidence during the trial. Police reports can be difficult to obtain for the public. Idaho criminal defense attorneys will get copies of police reports and court criminal records as they begin to prepare a case. If you have been accused of a crime, the criminal defense lawyers at Racine Olson, PLLP can help with any and all criminal matters. Whether defending a felony or misdemeanor case, or simply looking to expunge an old record we are ready to solve problems.

Adult Criminal Records

Criminal trials are guaranteed public under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution; however, the public only has a common law right to access criminal records. What this means is that a court can block access to certain records. In practice, you can usually get basic records from the internet and more detailed records from the clerk of the court. Step one in Idaho is to go the iCourt Portal where you can search for a case by name. This will pull up every criminal case someone has in Idaho, so if they have a common name make sure the birthdates match up. (If you want to look up nation wide information, the FBI only releases that data to law enforcement agencies, but some private companies will do a nation wide background check.) The next step is to go to the clerk of the court in the county where the offense took place. The clerks may not want to give you much help, but generally you can at least get an affidavit of probable cause, or a final order once a case in finished. You should be aware that you will get charged a per page fee for any copies which can quickly add up to be quite steep.

Juvenile Records

The records of juvenile crimes are private and generally not available to the public (I.C.A.R. 32(g)(9)). There is good reason for this. We all do dumb things when we are kids, and none of us would want them to be public. Juvenile offenders have special protections precisely because they are kids, and it would be unfair to hold the mistakes of kids against them for the rest of their lives. Nonetheless, juvenile records can hang around and feel like a weight on your shoulders. If you have been adjudicated delinquent (found guilty) as a juvenile, applying for jobs, housing, and some government services can be difficult.


The good news is that juvenile records can be expunged in Idaho. I.C. § 20-525A sets up the rules and limitations. Once five years have passed since the court relinquished jurisdiction, you turned 18, or any confinement ended, whichever is later, you can apply for expungement. Assuming you have stayed out of trouble and are trying to better your life, a court is likely to grant it.

The bad news is that there is no adult expungement. The only thing Idaho offers is what is called a “withheld judgment”. The best way to think of it is as expungement light Here is how it works. For one time in your life, if you are convicted or plead guilty to a crime, a judge can withhold judgment. A judge decides not to find you guilty, but still can penalize you with probation or jail. If you successfully complete your sentence without any rule infraction, probation violation, or new charges, the judge will dismiss your case. The benefit is you can honestly say you have never been convicted of a crime. By the way, since this is a once in a lifetime move, you should only use it for something serious.

Records That Don’t go Away

In general, criminal records, both juvenile and adult, never really go away. The courts, police, and FBI always keep some information. In that way if someone is arrested in Idaho, but had a juvenile arrest in Utah, that information can come up in criminal sentencing. While courts and criminal justice agencies will keep things forever, criminal records can be kept away from the public eye.

In addition, certain private organizations may keep your records. Since criminal records are public information, but gathering information from all fifty states is difficult, there are a number of companies who act as clearing houses, selling background check information. These companies are under no obligation to ever take down your information, even if it has been expunged.

Contact Us

The knowledgeable, experienced, and diligent attorneys at Racine Olson, PLLP are here to help you and your family when you need it the most. Whether a misdemeanor or felony, our Idaho criminal defense attorneys are prepared to guide you through the legal process and fight for you at every turn. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson, PLLP team of criminal defense attorneys. You can also email us directly at We stand ready to answer your questions and help solve your criminal defense needs.

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