The general public is able to access arrest records for free by using state and county websites, county courthouses and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, reports The Law Dictionary. Additional places to start public record searches online are Google and Zabasearch, says About.com. Some government websites include a processing fee.
Arrest records are public record unless they are sealed or if the records have been expunged. When searching on these websites, results are most accurate when the input information is precise. This includes name, date of birth, ethnicity and Social Security number, notes The Law Dictionary. An option to collect further detailed information is paying for a background check with a government agency.