Everything you need to know about Connecticut Criminal Records

Ok – here are your alternatives for getting the information you need:

In Connecticut, criminal history records, that is, convictions, are administered and reported by the Connecticut State Police. Anyone can request a criminal history record on anyone else for any reason by downloading this form and mailing it to the Connecticut State Police in Middletown with a check for $50.00 – results are mailed to you within 7-14 days.

Alternatively, you can research limited online records of criminal convictions through records of the Connecticut Judicial Branch. These records are extremely limited, are purged, and are only a fraction of the actual records that exist. Records of pending criminal cases however are thoroughly reported by the Connecticut Judicial Branch and can be searched here.

Assuming you want something far deeper than the Connecticut Judicial Branch can offer online and you need results much quicker than reported by the Connecticut State Police, contact Artus Group – we have complete, unpurged criminal history records of the Connecticut State Police dating back to the early 1970’s. We also have access to real-time Connecticut DOC inmate mugshots, traffic tickets and just about every Connecticut public record available.

Ok so once you’ve identified a Connecticut criminal record, how do you find out about the specifics of the case?

In Connecticut, criminal case files are handled quite specifically. Soon after a disposition is entered, the case file is shipped to the Connecticut Records Center located at the Enfield Superior Court. Don’t even think of going to a Connecticut court to review an old criminal case file, it will only be in Enfield, if anywhere. At Enfield, case files are maintained for defined periods and then destroyed as follows:

  • Nolle/Dismissed cases are destroyed after 3 years
  • Infractions are destroyed after 5 years
  • Motor vehicle misdemeanors are destroyed after 10 years
  • Criminal misdemeanors are destroyed after 10 years
  • Criminal felonies are destroyed after 20 years or length of sentence, whichever is longer
  • Youthful Offender cases are destroyed after 10 years

You can personally travel to Enfield to request and review the file but then you will have to return at a later date to obtain copies. Alternatively Artus Group can request and obtain the file for you – we are at the Enfield Court routinely and understand their system and process. When reviewing archived criminal case files however, don’t expect to find much content. Case files are routinely stripped to bare bones for archiving and you often will not find police reports or many details beyond the court docket.

If you need police reports on a specific incident, you can personally visit the relevant police department and submit a written request and then wait to return at a later date to retrieve results, which are often redacted. Alternatively again, contact us – our investigators are in and out of police departments all the time and we know the drill.

You can look up current inmates incarcerated in Connecticut state prisons through records of the Connecticut Department of Correction, however, records are for current inmates only, not former inmates. At the federal level however, inmates can be searched nationally and historically through records of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Sex Offenders can be searched through records of the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry, by name, address or proximity.

Connecticut Criminal and Civil Court Case Files: What can we hope to find?

As a nationwide company, our people are in courts literally all around the country every week. In my 17 years of doing this, there are only a few things of which I’m certain, and one is that every state, every county and almost every court in the nation seemingly has a different procedure. Some clerks are helpful, some are downright rude. Some offices are extremely organized and others are a total mess – it’s a wonder how they can find anything at all (they often can’t).

But in Connecticut, we are fortunate, for the most part, to have some very organized clerks’ offices with mostly very helpful clerks. Although general procedures are somewhat consistent statewide, there are many idiosyncrasies. I’m often asked what we can expect to find, so I thought I’d pen some thoughts for reference. Did you know, for example:

  • In Connecticut, divorce case files are held at the court for 75 years…that’s a long time, but was enacted since people often need to provide proof of divorce throughout their lives, for a number of reasons.
  • Routinely, only divorce files in which there was a dissolution are maintained – cases in which there was no judgment are destroyed, although the period of retention varies from court to court.
  • In Connecticut, almost all divorce and civil case files are available for public review, for any reason, and by any person, mostly without providing any form of identity. The only exceptions are in cases where the judge has sealed the file. This is rare, but is routine in the case of celebrities, politicians or other prominent persons.
  • Connecticut procedure is in stark contrast to New York, for example, where ALL family (including divorce) case files are sealed and not available for public review.
  • Certain components of divorce files ARE sealed in Connecticut, primarily financial affidavits, although these are routinely unsealed after dissolution. Sealed documents in Connecticut case files are placed in bright blue folders and are usually attached to the inside front cover of the file. The clerks should remove them before handing you the file, but often do not. Don’t be tempted to take a peak though, they are sealed for a reason.
  • For most civil cases in which there was a judgment or disposition, case files are maintained for several years (although retention dates vary between the courts and the nature of the case). However case files that are “Withdrawn” are destroyed one year after the date of withdrawal, almost without exception, statewide. Similarly, dormant (inactive) case files enter the Dormancy Program and are destroyed one year after the last activity, again, almost without exception.
  • In Connecticut, criminal case files are handled quite differently. Soon after a disposition is entered, the case file is shipped to the Connecticut Records Center located at the Enfield Superior Court. Don’t even think of going to a court to review an old criminal case file, it will only be in Enfield, if anywhere. At Enfield, case files are maintained for defined periods and then destroyed as follows:

– Nolle/Dismissals are destroyed after 3 years
– Infractions are destroyed after 5 years
– Motor vehicle misdemeanors are destroyed after 10 years
– Criminal misdemeanors are destroyed after 10 years
– Criminal felonies are destroyed after 20 years or length of sentence, whichever is longer
– Youthful Offender cases are destroyed after 10 years

  • When reviewing archived criminal case files, don’t expect to find much content. They are routinely stripped to bare bones for archiving and you often will not find police reports or details beyond the court docket. Police reports and police departments in general are a more complex subject…for another blog post maybe!

Connecticut is somewhat unique in the way it handles, maintains and destroys criminal and civil case files. We’re in the courts every week and we know the system – If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me.