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Wake County Arrest Records

Wake County arrest records are official documents that indicate that a person has been apprehended and taken into custody by law enforcement officers. Following the arrest of a suspect, they will be processed and held in custody (also known as booking). Booking a criminal suspect entails collecting their personal information, fingerprints, photographs, full body search, confiscating clothing and personal items, background and warrant searches, and recording the crime the suspect was arrested for and events surrounding the arrest. The information collected during this process makes up the arrest record.

In Wake County, North Carolina, arrest records are generated by the state and municipal law enforcement agencies (The Police Departments and Sheriff’s Office). These records are also transferred to and maintained by county jails, prosecutors, and courts. When a prosecutor files charges on crimes for which the police have arrested a suspect, the arrestee becomes “the accused”. This action kicks off the trial and court proceedings phase, and the accused is required to appear before a judge. At this stage, the arrest record becomes part of the Wake County court records.

Are Arrest Records Public in Wake County?

Yes. The North Carolina Public Records Act defines public records as physical or electronic materials (documents, papers, images, films, and audio or video recordings) made or received by any North Carolina Government agency or its subdivisions.

In other words, public information received or compiled by any government agency within the state is public property. As such, every person is entitled to request and obtain copies of arrest records or other public information in the custody of Wake County Sheriff’s Office, District or Municipal Police Departments, and other county and state law enforcement authorities.

In spite of these provisions, arrest records in Wake County may be subject to a number of non-disclosure provisions as contained in § 132-1.2 of the State Public Records Act. Under the act, custodians are exempt from disclosing confidential information under the following circumstances:

  • Information that may jeopardize a person's safety and security
  • Information that may hinder an individual's constitutional right to a fair hearing
  • Information that may interfere with criminal investigations
  • Information that is otherwise confidential or exempt from disclosure under state or federal statute
  • Disclosure that can lead to impartial or improper administration of justice
  • Disclosure that may reveal highly sensitive or personal information.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

The details contained in an arrest record may vary on a case-by-case basis. It is not all information contained in an arrest record that is publicly accessible. Public arrest records in Wake County typically include the following information:

  • The identity of the arrested person: full government name, alias, address, mugshot, date of birth.
  • The arrestee's physical description: gender, race, ethnicity, weight, height, scars, tattoos, disabilities, hair, and eye color.
  • Arrest information: Arrest and booking time and date, arresting agency, arrest county.
  • Previous arrests.
  • Arrest warrants.
  • Charge: The class of offense (felony, misdemeanor, traffic, or other minor offenses), specific offense, and degree of the offense.
  • Record of events leading up to the arrest.
  • Bail Information, bond amount, and release conditions.
  • Place of incarceration and release information.
  • Case Information: If the suspect/accused has been released on bond, if the case is in court, or if the accused has been remanded in prison.

Wake County Crime Rate

The 2022 Uniform Crime Reporting Data%20decreased%203.9%20percent%20statewide.) for North Carolina released by the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation declared the index crime rate for Wake County at 1,995.6 (per 1000,000 persons). According to the report, the rate of property crimes ranked 86% higher than violent crimes, with 1,771.6 to 283.9 per 100,000 persons, respectively.

The Wake County Sheriff reported 1,507 criminal offenses, 1,282 of which were property crimes and 225 violent crimes. The most prevalent offenses were larceny (872), burglary (236), aggravated assault (184), and motor vehicle theft (174). The lowest reported crimes in Wake County are murder, rape and arson.

Wake County Arrest Statistics

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation also includes arrest information in its annual crime report. However, this report does not categorize arrest information on a county-by-county basis, making it difficult to determine the arrest statistics for Wake County in recent years.

Find Wake County Arrest Records

Pursuant to the provisions of the North Carolina Public Records Law, arrest records in Wake County are public records. Hence, researchers and other interested persons can access arrest records in the custody of federal, state, or local government authorities.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office and a number of district and municipal police departments are charged with law enforcement in the county. The City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI) maintains arrest records for Wake County from April 2007 to the present. Interested persons can find arrest information online through the Raleigh/Wake CCBI Criminal Arrest Records Portal. Users can search the system with any of the following search criteria: last name, first name, middle name, arrest date, arrest time, arresting agency, and sex. The CCBI criminal arrest portal is updated daily. However, it does not index arrest information for traffic offenders, infractions, or citations.

Researchers can also schedule an appointment to request arrest records in person or by mail. For $15, anyone can obtain a certified copy of Wake County arrest records by mail. This fee only covers one name check record search. To obtain a copy, mail the request and the relevant fees in a self-addressed envelope to:

City-County Bureau of Investigation
Attn: Arrest Record
331 Hammond Road
Raleigh, NC 27603.

Meanwhile, the Wake County Sheriff maintains an online sex offender registry and inmate inquiry site. The sex offender registry contains information like the offenders' names, physical features and descriptions, registered address, date of birth, registration date, duty length, aliases, risk level, all offense counts, discharge date, and probation information. The inmate details include their names, ages, arrest dates, release dates, court dates, charges, status, docket number, and bond information.

Free Arrest Record Search in Wake County

Wake County residents can search for arrest records for free online at the CCBI Criminal Arrest Records Portal. The Raleigh/Wake CCBI uploads information about arrested persons every 24 hours. The portal is up-to-date, free, and publically accessible.

Another option is to utilize third-party public records search websites. Third-party sites index arrest information from multiple government agencies and other sources and compile it in a single database. This feature offers the search party a more convenient and broader search result and experience. Although third-party search applications are not free, they are low-cost. Some offer free trials, subscription packages, and one-time search fees.

Get Wake County Criminal Records

Wake County criminal records are official documents that record a person’s interaction with law enforcement agencies and courts, as well as the details of their arrest, detention, convictions, sentences, and other related information. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) is the central repository for criminal information throughout the state. Wake County court clerks are also custodians of criminal case record information.

Criminal record, a.k.a rap sheet or records of arrests and prosecutions, contains a person's criminal history, charges, convictions, arrests, and warrants. Law enforcement officers also use them to determine if an individual has active warrants for their arrest. Anyone can obtain a copy of Wake County's criminal records. The NCSBI allows members of the public access to statewide criminal information. This can be a personal check, background check for employers and licensing entities, or criminal history search of other individuals.

Researchers can also obtain certified criminal records at the office of the superior court clerk in the county where the case was heard. To obtain a copy, complete and submit the records request form (Form AOC-CR-314) to the clerk's office, along with a $25 fee. For mail requests, the accepted mode of payment is a certified check or money order only. People submitting their request in person can pay the $25 fee by cash, credit card, money order, or certified check.

Wake County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

When a person is arrested by law enforcement officers, booked in jail, charged by a prosecutor, and arraigned in court, reports are generated and filed as part of their records. These reports may seem similar but mean different things and have different connotations for the individual.

An arrest record is created when a person is arrested, booked, and transferred to jail while awaiting trial or released on bond. The booking process records an arrestee’s personal information, fingerprints, and photographs. This record will include details about the incident, including the reason for the arrest, arrest location, date, time, and arresting officer. An arrest does not mean that the person is automatically guilty.

If, after the arrest interrogation, the prosecutor believes there is enough evidence to bring the case forward, he/she will formally press charges. Then, the accused shall be arraigned before a court. Suppose the court finds the accused guilty, or the accused himself pleads guilty or does not contest the charge. In that case, the conviction will be listed on their record, along with other information on their interaction with the justice system.

But if the case is dismissed or the accused is found not guilty, there will be no conviction and, thus, no criminal record. What the arrestee is an arrest record and a court record.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

Arrests stay on record indefinitely unless and until they are expunged or sealed. Arrest records and rap sheets are filed and maintained by the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation as well as state and local law enforcement agencies. Expunging a record means deleting it from your public record. It is not deleted or destroyed permanently, as law enforcement agencies may have access to it. But, it will be removed from all agency websites and public terminals. Also, the individual is not required to disclose a sealed or expunged record from an employer.

Expunge Wake County Arrest Records

A person may be eligible to petition the court for an expungement of an arrest record where they were arrested for an offense and either no charges were filed, charges filed were dismissed, or the accused was discharged or found not guilty. They may also file for expungement if at least two years have passed since acquittal, discharge, or dismissal. To begin, the petitioner must have the following:

  • An affidavit that the petitioner has been on good behavior during the period since the arrest, dismissal, or discharge.
  • Verified affidavits from two people who live in the same community as the petitioner, who are not related to him by blood or marriage, attesting that the petitioner's character and reputation are good.
  • An application form approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts requesting and permitting a name-based State and national criminal record check by the State Bureau of Investigation to identify the applicant and search the records of expunctions.
  • An affidavit signed by the petitioner confirming they have no unpaid court-ordered fines, repayments, or outstanding civil judgments for restitution.

An individual or a district attorney, on request of the eligible party, may file for an expunction in the court of the county where the arrest took place and the charges were filed. All petitions shall be on a form approved by the Court Administrative Office and filed with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the person was arrested. The court shall order that the status of the person before the law shall be restored to the status they previously occupied before the arrest or indictment if the court makes the following findings after a hearing:

  • The person has not been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor under the laws of the United States, North Carolina, or any other state.
  • That at least two years have passed since the date of the arrest, and no charges were filed, or the person was discharged and charges were dismissed.
  • That the petitioner has remained in good moral character and has been free of any arrests or convictions of any felony or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation.
  • The petitioner has no outstanding restitution orders or civil judgments.
  • A search of the confidential records of expunctions conducted by the Administrative Office of the Courts shows that the petitioner has not been previously granted an expunction.

The court shall also issue an order that the arrest must be deleted from the records of the court, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Adult Correction, the Division of Motor Vehicles, and any government agency in custody of the record petitioned to expunge their records of the petitioner's arrest. The clerk shall notify all state and local government agencies of the expungement order (G.S. 15A-145).

Wake County Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant is an order issued by a judge or magistrate authorizing law enforcement to arrest and detain. The components of an arrest warrant include a statement of the crime of which the person named as a suspect is accused and an order directing that the accused be arrested and brought before a named court (GS § 15A-304 (a)).

Arrest warrants are issued upon submission of a complaint supported by an oath or affidavit showing probable cause. To show probable cause means to supply sufficient evidence to convince the judge that a crime has been committed and the defendant has committed it. Probable cause must be established by an affidavit or oral testimony under oath or affirmation before the magistrate or judge.

An officer of the law may execute an arrest within their territorial jurisdiction if they have a warrant or know that a warrant for the suspect's arrest has been issued but not executed. An officer may also arrest an offender without a warrant where he has probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime and is likely to abscond or cause harm to himself or others or damage property unless immediately arrested (G.S. § 15A-401).

Wake County Arrest Warrant Search

Arrest warrants issued in Wake County only become public records after they have been served by a law enforcement officer and returned to the court (G.S§ 132-1.4(k)). Interested persons may contact or visit the Wake County Sheriff's Office for assistance or to find out if there’s a warrant for their arrest.

John H. Baker Public Safety Center
330 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 856-6900
Fax: (919) 856-6874

Also, information on wanted persons in Wake County may be available online at the Wake County Sheriff’s Police to Citizen website.

Do Wake County Arrest Warrants Expire?

No. Arrest warrants issued in North Carolina do not expire and remain active until the suspect is apprehended and taken into custody. If a person has a warrant for their arrest, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss and pre-arrange the conditions for their release and turn themselves in. A suspect is more likely to post bond if the court does not consider them a flight risk. When an individual turns themselves into police custody, and they have pre-arranged conditions for their release, it may reduce their jail time. It is important to note that arrest warrants can be served and executed any day, regardless of how long ago they were issued.

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