Can Your Criminal History “Rap Sheet” Be Wrong?

October 23, 2019

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

Can you rap sheet be wrong? The short answer is “yes.” And if it is incorrect, it could impact you dramatically. For example, you could lose job opportunities or be denied certain licenses. As such, if you’ve ever been arrested, you should know what appears on your criminal history report.


What is a Rap Sheet?

Rap stands for “Record of Arrest and Prosecution.” If you’ve ever been arrested and fingerprinted in New York, there is a record of such with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (“DCJS”).

Your rap sheet will list any New York arrests. And, it may also list any out-of-state arrests or federal criminal matters if the police check for such information. A report is generated based on your name, date of birth, social security number, and fingerprints. Click here to view a sample criminal history report.


How to Get Your Rap Sheet

A copy of your rap sheet can be obtained by requesting it from DCJS directly. Some persons are eligible to get a free copy, or you can request a waiver of the fee.

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

Record Review Unit

Alfred E. Smith Office Building

80 South Swan Street

Albany, NY 12210

Additionally, your attorney may have a copy of the report. To find out more about obtaining your criminal history, visit

You should review your rap sheet to check for mistakes. And it will also be useful to know what appears on your criminal history report. This way, you can explain the information to potential employers. Today, many employers get information on your criminal history – even without your fingerprints.


How to Correct Errors on a Rap Sheet

Errors on rap sheets are common. For example, such errors can include:

  • Incorrect information
  • Incomplete information
  • Duplicate entries
  • Warrant errors
  • Improper sealing

If you notice an error on your criminal history report, your first step should be to contact the lawyer who represented you. Then, he or she may be able to address the issue and have the court send the correct information to DCJS.

You can also contact the court yourself and request a Certificate of Disposition. Then, you can send it to DCJS, along with a request to review your record. Additionally, you must provide an explanation of what you’re challenging in your criminal history report.


Other Remedies

If you have a conviction that shows on your rap sheet, you may be able to have it sealed. In 2017, New York has made it possible to seal certain criminal convictions. Pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59, courts have the discretion to seal up to two convictions after a 10-year waiting period from the date of conviction or release from prison. More information about sealing is available on our blog.