Criminal charge codes are written language or legal terms under which arrests for criminal activity take place. Each State maintains a set of criminal laws that indicate different types of activities that constitute crimes, and their punishments, explains Lawyers.com. These codes are included on criminal reports, such as those provided by BackgroundChecks.com. All criminal charge codes are associated with a section of State law, states the Charge Code Manual of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Criminal charge codes make it easy to identify criminal activities under which individuals are booked, making background check reports easy to understand, states BackgroundChecks.com. These codes cover criminal activities and conduct under which a person is booked, as well as codes to indicate cases in which charges against the defendant are dropped, the defendant has no finding of guilt or if the court dropped the case.
Charges range over various categories, such as civil infractions, petty offenses, misdemeanors and felonies, states ExpertLaw. While civil infractions and petty offenses may not be of criminal nature, misdemeanors and felonies are chargeable crimes. Charge code manuals, such as those released by New York State and the State of Missouri, symbolize each category with a label, such as I for infractions, F for felonies and M for misdemeanors.