The FBI database is split into three components: a criminal file, a civil file, and a military file; it includes criminals, suspected criminals, government employees, military personnel, and other people. The largest file is the criminal file, comprising about 50 million entries, allowing the police to use to identify a fingerprints left at crime scenes.
Typically, when local and federal law enforcement officers arrest a person for a serious charge, they submit his or her fingerprint to the FBI. An estimated 7,000~8,000 entries are added to the criminal file everyday.
In cases where a suspected criminal is found to be not guilty, the person’s fingerprint is supposed to be removed, but the FBI may or may not do so. In cases of the latter, the person may petition with proof of an official pardon or proof that the severity of the person’s crime has been reduced.
When a person who is in the FBI fingerprint database passes away, his or her fingerprint will be removed. Additionally, it was the case before that people who are over the age of 65 who had not been arrested or imprisoned in 10 years to be assumed dead. However, this age limit has been increased recently.
Generally speaking, the criminal file is for law enforcement officials to identify crime-scene prints, or conduct criminal background checks. However, multiple federal and state laws allow civilians to access the database in special circumstances. For instance, the National Child Protection Act permits people who work with children to be fingerprinted and checked against the criminal file. Over the years, the number of fingerprint background checks has increased; in fact, almost half the submissions to the FBI for fingerprint checks now come from civilians.
Do you want to find out if you are in the FBI fingerprint database? Simply submit a formal request along with a money order of $18 to the FBI to conduct a background check on yourself.