A rap sheet is a criminal record the state or federal government maintains on each person. Rap stands for record of arrest and prosecution. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, over two million people living in New York have a criminal record.
Knowing what is on your rap sheet is important. Many employers and landlords will run criminal record checks when hiring or leasing, and they could deny you employment or housing based on the results.
The details of a rap sheet
A criminal record includes information about your interactions with law enforcement and some basic details, such as your name, date of birth and physical descriptors. It also includes details about any aliases.
The heart of the record is the listing of arrests and prosecutions. Each entry provides information about the arrest or prosecution, including the date, time and location. It also details the specific charges.
The rap sheet will provide information about court appearances and dispositions. It will state in each instance you faced charges if you had an acquittal or conviction or if the court dismissed the charges. It may also include information on warrants, parole or probation status and any history of incarceration.
An important note
The Clean Slate Act will impact criminal records. It allows for automatic sealing of records in certain situations. However, access to full, unsealed records will still be available to law enforcement, courts and some employers.
Knowing what appears on your rap sheet is a smart idea if you will undergo a background check. Many people do not know that it is more than convictions that may show up, which can lead to issues when someone does check their background.