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Wilkes County Arrest Records

In Wilkes County, law enforcement agents are authorized by law to arrest anyone who commits a crime or is suspected of a crime (G.S§ 15A-401). Documentation detailing these arrests is called an arrest record and belongs in the suspect's criminal record. Such records are normally generated by whichever law enforcement agency made the arrest and maintained by law enforcement and as part of Wilkes County Court Records.

Individuals arrested in Wilkes County are usually held in the Wilkes County Jail, operated by the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office. During the booking process, arresting officers take the suspect's details, description, fingerprints, photographs, and possessions. Other government agencies may have access to such documents as part of their records. For example, local law enforcement like the Wilkes County Sheriff and the North Carolina Courts maintain criminal records, including arrest records.

Are Arrest Records Public in Wilkes County?

Yes. Under North Carolina’s Public Record Laws, arrest records are public and can be requested and accessed by the general public. However, not all information that may be available on an arrest record may be public. Under state laws, certain types of information are exempt from public view.

Examples of exempt information include the following:

  • Any information classified as confidential by state or federal law
  • Personal information such as medical records or social security information
  • Information that may identify a victim
  • Information about minors and juvenile offenders
  • Records that have been sealed or expunged
  • Information on ongoing investigations that may prevent a fair trial

Some individuals or government agencies can still access such records even though they are exempt from public access. These agencies, such as law enforcement or the suspect’s lawyers, may still access these records as part of their duties. The records may also be released with the exempt parts redacted.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

A public arrest record in North Carolina usually contains information about the defendant and explains what led to the arrest. While the document's style may differ, an arrest record will normally contain information such as the following.

  • The suspect’s full name(including any aliases)
  • The suspect’s physical description (gender, race, weight, height, scars, tattoos)
  • Mugshots, fingerprints, and other biometrics
  • Details of the event that led to the arrest
  • Arrest details(arresting officer, agency, date, time, and location)
  • Detail of the charges and the specific laws violated by the charge
  • Booking information, including booking number and bail information
  • Case information (case number, court dates, and verdict)

Wilkes County Crime Rate

Data collected from the FBI uniform crime reporting program showed a general fall in crime figures between 2018 and 2019. The data showed a 2.6% fall in property crimes, a 34.3% fall in aggravated assaults, a 16% reduction in burglaries, a 1.9% fall in Larceny, and a 33.3% reduction in arson cases. Inversely, only robbery and motor vehicle theft show increases of 14.3% and 68.6%, respectively. There was no change in the murder rate between the two years, recording 3 cases each.

Wilkes County Arrest Statistics

According to data from the FBI Crime Data Explorer compiled through the Uniform Crime Reporting program, the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office reported 758 arrests in 2022. Included in the total number were 125 arrests for drug abuse violations, 109 for simple assaults, 55 for aggravated assaults, 60 for larceny, 44 for burglary, 18 for fraud, 11 for motor vehicle theft, 5 for DUI, 3 for robberies, 2 for murder, and one arrest each for rape and arson.

Find Wilkes County Arrest Records

Arrest records and inmate information for Wilkes County are available from local law enforcement, such as the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office. Record seekers can contact the Sheriff’s Office or the Wilkes County Jail Administrator for information about inmates within the jail facility.

On the state level, arrest records and inmate information can be found by contacting the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction (NCDAC). Such information can be found online using the resources on the NCDAC website. Requests can be made using the online public record request form to request both digital and physical copies of records. Records can also be made using the online Criminal Offender Search tools. Using the offender information search/locator, users can find up-to-date information about prisoners, parolees, and probationers in North Carolina. There are also options to create specialized reports on offenders based on criteria the user chooses.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers an online inmate locator on its website to find information about inmates in federally operated correctional facilities. Using an inmate's name or number, visitors can search for inmates all over the country.

Free Arrest Record Search in Wilkes County

Residents can look up arrest records for free by visiting the Wilkes County Clerk of Courts Office and using the public self-service terminals. These terminals allow people to search for records by defendant, victim, or case number. Although just looking up the records is free, obtaining physical copies will incur a fee. On the other hand, record seekers may try to perform free searches using free third-party record websites.

Get Wilkes County Criminal Records

Criminal records are a group of documents detailing the criminal history of a particular individual. They will contain various data and information, from the subject’s name and physical description to their arrests and convictions.

Wilkes County criminal records can be obtained from the Wilkes Clerk of the Superior Court or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI). Record seekers can also obtain a certified criminal records search for themselves or others at the clerk of court office in the superior courthouse. However, these criminal records will only cover offenses in Wilkes County.

To obtain a certified criminal background check from the clerk of courts, requesters must download and fill out Form AOC-CR-314. When it is filled accurately, submit it to the Wilkes County Clerk of the Superior Court at:

500 Courthouse Drive
Wilkesboro, NC-28697

Requests can be made in person or by mailing the completed form to the clerk of the court’s office. The criminal record check costs $25, payable through money orders and certified checks during mailed requests. Cash and credit cards are also accepted during walk-in requests at the office.

These criminal records can also be viewed for free using the public self-service terminals at the Clerk of Court Office. They can also be printed for a charge but are not certified.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations(NCSBI) offers individuals the option to request a copy of their criminal records for personal review. This fingerprint-based criminal background check is called a “Right to Review” and searches statewide records. To request the criminal record check, the requester must collect the following three items to the NCSBI.

  • A completed request form from the bottom of the Right to Review document
  • A set of fingerprints from your local law enforcement. This can be obtained from the fingerprinting section of the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.
  • A certified check or money order for $14 for each request payable to the NC State Bureau of Investigation(cash and personal checks are not accepted)

The package should be mailed to the office at:

NC State Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Information and Identification Section
Attention: Civilian Services Unit - Right to Review
Post Office Box 29500
Raleigh, NC 27626-0500

Wilkes County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

Arrest records and criminal records can be described as different types of documentation maintained by law enforcement that detail an individual's criminal activity. They mainly differ in how comprehensive the record is. For example, an arrest record details a particular arrest and its events. Normally, an arrest record will contain a combination of information, including the name and physical description of the subject, the details of the crime, the date and location of the arrest, the arresting agency, booking details, and so on.

On the other hand, criminal records are much more detailed or complete documentation of an individual's criminal history. It will contain details of all their arrests, including each event, charges, arresting agencies, and locations. Criminal records will also contain case details for charges that went to trial, including case numbers, court dates and records, case numbers, and verdicts. It will also contain verdicts and information on jail time, such as time served, release dates, and probation or parole details.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

Contrary to some beliefs, arrest records remain on a record indefinitely. Arrests, charges, and any convictions from them will remain on an individual’s record forever. However, North Carolina allows its citizens to have arrests expunged from their records if they meet certain criteria. When a record is expunged it will no longer appear in their record during a criminal background check.

Expunge Wilkes County Arrest Records

Expungement or the Expunction of a record is a legal process in North Carolina to remove a criminal charge or conviction(including arrest records) from a person’s record and seal or destroy all the records of the charge, arrest, or conviction in the state. After a successful expunction, the record will no longer appear on background checks, and the person can legally deny the arrest without repercussions.

The first step when considering an expunction is determining if the arrest is eligible under the law. Several categories are available for who is eligible for expunction and what crimes are eligible for expunction, including the following:

  • Minors and juveniles under the age of 18 or 21 years old at the time of the offense
  • Crimes where the charges were dismissed or the defendant was found not guilty are eligible.
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Drug offenses
  • Non-violent and violent felonies

N.C.G.S. 15A-145 to 15A-149 are the statutes covering all the offenses and records and the circumstances for expunctions. After determining the record is eligible, the next step is to file for an expunction at the court. Applicants can find the information and documentation to file for an expunction from their local superior court or online from the Expunctions page of the North Carolina Judicial Branch website. After filling out the forms, the expunction petition must be filed with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the applicant was charged or convicted. The exact steps for filling may slightly differ by county or for each expunction type, depending on the offense. The clerk of the superior court will be able to inform you of any local practices for expunctions in Wilkes County.

While filing the petition, applicants must also pay a filing fee. Expunging a charge that was dismissed or ended with a not guilty verdict is normally free, while most other petitions will cost $175. Applicants who cannot afford the fee can fill out and include a Petition To Proceed As An Indigent. After a filing, a hearing will be scheduled with the clerk of the superior court. An expunction may take a few months, depending on the time taken to perform background checks on the applicant and schedule the hearing. During the hearing, the judge will review the petition and any statements or objections from law enforcement or the prosecutor and decide whether to expunge the record. Sometimes, a decision is based on reviewing the applicant’s current record without needing a hearing. If the judge grants the petition, the record is expunged and removed from the applicant's records. The court clerk will supply a copy of the expunction order after the judge signs it.

In some cases, the petition for expunction can be denied. When this happens, the applicant has a small window to appeal the decision. They are advised to contact the clerk of courts for information and then contract a lawyer to help with the appeal.

Wilkes County Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant is a legal document authorizing the arrest of the subject of the warrant to be arrested by law enforcement. Under North Carolina Code §15A-304, it directs law enforcement to arrest and hold the subject to answer to charges made against them in the warrant. In North Carolina, judicial officers in Wilkes County can usually issue arrest warrants, including any of the following.

  • A justice of the Supreme Court
  • A judge of the Court of Appeals
  • A judge of the superior court
  • A judge of the district court
  • A clerk of the superior court/district court
  • A Magistrate

Judicial officials can only issue arrest warrants when supplied with sufficient probable cause to judge that a crime was committed and the subject of the warrant committed it. Probable cause can be shown via one or both: an affidavit provided by the requesting law enforcement agency or an oral testimony under oath from witnesses or law enforcement agents before the issuing official. After viewing the evidence, the judicial officer may determine that there is sufficient probable cause. In that case, they will issue and sign the arrest warrant, which allows law enforcement all over the state to arrest the subject anytime and anywhere. Law enforcement officers do not have to have the warrant at the time of arrest but must let the suspect know about it and give him a copy as soon as possible.

In Wilkes County, an arrest warrant will usually contain the following information.

  • The name and physical description of the suspect to be arrested
  • A Statement of the Crime that accurately describes the offense that the suspect is accused of
  • The court and location where the warrant was issued
  • The office and signature of the judicial official who issued the warrant

Wilkes County Arrest Warrant Search

Interest parties have different choices when searching for active arrest warrants in Wilkes County. First off, the Wilkes County Sheriff has records of county-wide arrests and provides access to the public. Access requests can be made by visiting the office in person at:

Wilkes County Sheriff's Office
381 Executive Drive,
Wilkesboro, NC 28697

Requesters can also call ahead at (336) 903-7600 to inquire about accessing arrest warrants from the Sheriff’s Office.

Arrest records can also be found with other criminal records in the county superior's and district courts' custody. The clerk of courts will be able to respond to arrest record requests for Wilkes County. Record seekers can visit the Wilkes County Courthouse and use the self-service terminals to search for records by name or case number. Requests can also be made to the clerk of courts in person or by mail, especially if paper copies are required. Call ahead at (336) 651-4400 for details of the request and copy fees. There is also the option to look up arrest records online using North Carolina’s eCourt online Search Portal.

Do Wilkes County Arrest Warrants Expire?

Arrest warrants in North Carolina and, by extension, Wilkes County do not expire or clear themselves. They generally remain active until they are executed and the subject of the warrant is arrested or passes away. In some cases, however, a judge may quash or recall an arrest warrant. This is usually after a petition from the subject of the warrant or their legal representative.

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