It is not news that people are becoming nosier than ever before. Whether it is trying to lookup the academic history of the next-door neighbor who just moved in or maybe just stalking the Facebook profile of your best friend’s new significant other, human being have an undying curiosity that seems to be built into our nature.
While that can be very productive in finding out important information that can lead to new discoveries when channeled appropriately, all too often nowadays do we find this curiosity plowed into the most frivolous pursuits.
Not only do people waste hours of their day looking into the most useless things possible, but people quite often get on the wrong side of the law when doing so. Surely this is something that most sane people would agree counts as going at least one step too far.
So, what exactly constitutes just being annoyingly nosy and what actually counts as a criminal offense? This is not an easy question to answer simply because the threshold of criminality differs from one jurisdiction to another. We will be looking into the specific case of Charlotte in North Carolina.
There is actually a pretty simple way of how to find out if someone was arrested in this city. In this article, we will take a closer look at the legality in Charlotte in terms of background checks, and in specific when snooping crosses the legal line.
The Short and Long Answer
The short answer is that it is indeed vey possible for you to be in Charlotte and look up someone’s criminal record without breaking any laws. So, if you fancy yourself a super sleuth or just really want to know more about your neighbor but are too afraid to just go up and ask, there are legal ways to do so.
The thing is, a person’s arrest record is usually the subject of public records. This menace that those pieces of information can usually be obtained through a government department, usually the justice department or the local court, without too much hassle. The first request of such kind that a person makes can be free of charge, but subsequent requests will be subject to the relevant processing fees.
Should the person in question be on some sort of sex offenders list, that information will show up as well. Not only will that information show up on a routine request, but in many places, registered sex offenders will have a marker of some sort placed on their home that anyone in the neighborhood can look up without even having to make any informational requests.
The only important issue left to consider here is not legal in nature, but rather social. Is being this inquisitive an acceptable form of behavior in your society, or do they find this level of intrusion in bad taste? This is something that can only answered by each individual observing members of their community and determining for themselves what the social norms are.
Some communities do not quite care about the concept of personal space, something which usually follows a willingness to live in compact spaces. Other communities would indeed prefer to keep everyone’s private affairs just that. Only astute and tactful observation can answer that question.
When Does Snooping Around Cross the Legal Line?
If searching public records and making a formal request to the proper authorities is perfectly acceptable, at least legally speaking, then what exactly would constitute a criminal offense? Again, what is illegal somewhere maybe perfectly legal somewhere else, but there are certainly some general guidelines that can help.
Obtaining someone’s credit history is a pretty cut-and-dry topic. It is very much illegal for anyone to obtain someone else’s credit history without their prior consent. Doing such will absolutely constitute a breach of that person’s privacy and is subject to fines as well as criminal prosecution.
The same is true for school transcripts and academic transcripts in general. Academic transcripts require a person’s written consent prior to requesting that sort of information from any academic institution. Failing to do so will also result in very severe legal penalties for breaching a citizen’s privacy.
A person’s medical history is also something that is very sensitive. Although hospitals visited by the person in question keeps detailed records of their every visit, the hospital is obliged to withhold this information from members of the public, companies who wish to conduct targeted advertising, and even non-immediate family members without express written prior consent by the actual person.
The subject of personal information is one that is becoming increasingly controversial. This is mainly because what is black and white is becoming increasingly grey, requiring less and less legal knowledge and more personal judgement, which might not be the most objective of sources.
Fortunately for our prior discussion question, the issue of criminal records is indeed a remarkably clear-cut issue. The same can be said about most other publicly available records that are held at court houses across the United States.
Ultimately, the subject of snooping around is not just a legal issue. Regardless of an action’s legality, there is also the issue of breaking social norms in ways that might arouse quite a bit of pushback from community members. This is a judgement call that requires a great degree of wisdom and maturity that many unfortunately do not possess.