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Arrested, no court. Will it come up on a FBI background check?

Eureka, CA |

Years ago I was going through a rough patch (2004-2006). I was arrested four times while drunk in the streets in four cities. Usually went like this, I get drunk, get arrested, spend the night in jail and go home in the morning. I never had to go to court for any of this (I suspect they were lenient because you can’t miss the Marine Corps tattoo on my forearm and so they knew I was an Iraq vet).

Luckily I got my act together, dealt with my issues and no longer have a drinking problem. I want to teach English abroad and notice that many countries require an FBI background check. I’m going to request my own FBI check this week. But, since it takes 8-10 weeks to process I’d like to get an expert opinion so I know what to expect. Will these arrests come up?

Thanks for reading.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. It is unlikely that these "arrests" while show up in your FBI Identification Record. Since I do not know the details of your "arrests," I must speak in generalities.

    The information in this FBI Id Record comes from fingerprint submissions made to the FBI by the arresting agency. In all likelihood since you never appeared in Court the police never processed your arrest. If these arrests occurred in your home state, you probably would have been notified when you renewed your driver's license.

    You do not mention that police even took your fingerprints. If they didn't then they could not have submitted your prints to the FBI so the FBI will not have a record.

    You indicate that you plan to order your record from the FBI. Here is a link to the FBI website page for doing so: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm.

    You may want to consider contacting a local attorney to check on the status of these records. Look for any attorney who appears regularly in the court which would have heard your case(s) if you had been processed. An attorney may do this for you for a small fee in anticipation that if charges are open against you, you will retain him or her to assist you to dispose of them. Your local bar association may have a lawyer referral service.


  2. If you were booked, these may come up. However, the FBI check is far from complete so chances are good these will not show up as being too minor.

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