You are here

How to use C-CAT

These instructions will show you how to search C-CAT effectively. You may bookmark searches using the “bookmark” feature of your browser.

C-CAT offers three search options:

  • Search by crime characteristics: You can search for collateral consequences by the characteristics of a criminal charge or violation. This type of search will produce a comprehensive but tailored list of results. We recommend that you run a search by crime characteristics when looking for all possible consequences that may be triggered by a particular type of criminal charge or conviction.
  • Search by consequence category: Search by consequence category is C-CAT’s browsing function. It allows you to select a category of interest—one of the broad categories of activities, privileges, and rights frequently affected by collateral consequences—and browse the collateral consequences related to it. We recommend using the search by consequence category function when you know which category of activities, privileges, or rights you are interested in.
  • Keyword Search: The search by keyword function looks for words anywhere in the collateral consequence records in C-CAT. Keyword searches are best used when you want to search for a specific word or phrase related to a criminal offense or a collateral consequence. Running a search by criminal characteristic will produce a more comprehensive set of results, however. If you are looking for all possible consequences triggered by a crime, we recommend that you use the search by criminal characteristic.

Search by Crime Characteristics

Basic rules: Search by crime characteristics uses a series of short questions to define the parameters of your search. The classification and characteristics you select work as filters. By answering a short series of questions about the classification and characteristics of the criminal charge or conviction you are interested in, you can retrieve a comprehensive list of potential collateral consequences for the offense with those features.

1.     Select “Search by crime characteristics” from the large search buttons or from the top left navigation pane.

Search C-CAT

2.     Select the criminal classification (that is, misdemeanor or felony) for the criminal charge or conviction. If you do not know the criminal classification, then select “Not sure/Both.” (For more information on North Carolina criminal offenses and their classifications see Jessica Smith, North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook on the Elements of Crime (UNC School of Government 2012). For the broadest search, select “Not sure/Both.”

Search by crime characteristics - Misdemeanor

If you select “misdemeanor,” your list of results will include collateral consequences that are triggered by misdemeanors and are triggered by misdemeanors and felonies. Collateral consequences triggered by only felonies will be excluded.

3.     Select the offense class of the crime (if known) and any characteristics that interest you. Below is an image of the screen you’ll see if you initially selected misdemeanor as the criminal classification. You can select or deselect all offense classes of misdemeanors or felonies by clicking on check/uncheck all.

Search by crime characteristics - details.

A list of results including all consequences that contain any of the selected criminal classifications (misdemeanor or felony or both) and any of the selected characteristics (class of offense and other characteristics) will be displayed in the center column of the results page. For example, if you selected “A1 misdemeanor” and “moral turpitude”, the results for this search would include collateral consequence records that contain:

  • A1 misdemeanor and moral turpitude,
  • any misdemeanor and moral turpitude, and
  • any crime and moral turpitude.

Why are collateral consequence records that include “any misdemeanor” and moral turpitude and “any crime” and moral turpitude included in the results? Because collateral consequences are often triggered by broadly defined general classes of crimes, rather than specific crimes, and “A1 misdemeanor” fits within the general classifications “any misdemeanor” and “any crime.” In practical terms, if a person is convicted of an A1 misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, the conviction could lead to collateral consequences triggered by “any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude” or “any crime involving moral turpitude.”

Records that do not include the selected combination of criminal classification and characteristics will be excluded. So, in this example, records that include felony and moral turpitude will be excluded. This is because “A1 misdemeanor” does not fit within the general classification of felony.

Next steps: Once you have a list of results:

  • Click on a result to be taken to the index card for that collateral consequence.
  • To tailor your potential results, select additional characteristics.
  • To narrow your results, see Refining Your Results, below.

Some advanced rules:

  • If you select a characteristic—for example, moral turpitude—without selecting a class of offense, your results will include collateral consequences triggered by any offense involving moral turpitude. Likewise, if you select all misdemeanors as the class of offense by clicking on check/uncheck all (or do the same for all felonies) and select moral turpitude as a characteristic, your results will include all misdemeanors (or all felonies) involving moral turpitude.
  • If you select multiple characteristics—for example, moral turpitude and educational property—your results will include collateral consequences triggered by crimes that involve moral turpitude or that occurred on educational property.

Search by Consequence Category

Basic rules: Search by consequence category is C-CAT’s browsing function. It allows you to select a category of interest—one of the broad categories of activities, privileges, and rights frequently affected by collateral consequences—and browse the collateral consequences in that category. Search by consequence category allows you to focus your search on the category of activities, privileges, or rights that interests you.

1.     Select “Search by category” from the large search buttons or from the top left navigation pane.

Search by consequence category

2.     Select the category of activity, privilege, or rightthat interests you.

Search by consequence category, e.g. Education

A list of results of the collateral consequences associated with the selected activity, privilege, or right will be displayed in the center column of the results page.

Next steps: Once you have a list of results:

  • After you select a broad category you will be taken to a page that lists the specific categories of activities, privileges, or rights associated with the selected broad category.  Here you may tailor your results by selecting the specific activity, privilege, or right that interests you.

Education category search

  • Click on a result to be taken to the index card for that collateral consequence.
  • To further narrow your results, see Refining Your Results, below.

Search by Keyword

Basic rules: The keyword search function looks for words anywhere in the collateral consequence records in C-CAT. Keyword searches are appropriate when you wish to search for a specific word or phrase related to a criminal offense or a collateral consequence.

1.     Select “Keyword search” from the large search buttons or from the top left navigation pane.

Search by keyword

2.     Type words or phrases related to a criminal offense or a collateral consequence in the search box and click the search button. C-CAT will search its database of collateral consequences for content that contains the words or phrases you entered.

Search by keyword, e.g. Architect

A list of results will be displayed in the center column of the results page. Click on a result to be taken to the index card for that collateral consequence.

Tips for keyword searches: To increase the effectiveness of your keyword search, try the following:

  • Keep it simple. If you are looking for a particular consequence, enter the specific activity, privilege, or right with which you are concerned. For example, if you are looking for consequences that affect a person’s right to practice architecture, enter architecture. If you are looking for a consequence that affects a person’s right to hunt, enter hunt or hunting. Do not enter practice or right.
  • Every word matters. C-CAT will search for all the words you enter in a query so use the words and combinations of words most likely to appear in the database. For example, if you enter architecture hunting, you will get records that include architecture and hunting as well as results that include either architecture or hunting. If you are unsure of the words to use, consider conducting a search by consequence category.
  • Searches are not case sensitive.
  • Searches ignore punctuation. A search for architect! will return the same results as a search for architect.
  • Searches are literal. If you enter “felnony” the search will fail and you will not receive any results. But, a search for correctly spelled variations of the same term will retrieve results that contain all variations. Thus, if you enter the first part of a word—for example, “violat”—you will retrieve results that include the term violate, violation, or other word containing “violat”. Similarly, if you enter violation, you will retrieve results that include the term violate and violation.
  • To further narrow your results, see Refining Your Results
  • For broad searches do not use quotation marks. For example, criminal violation will return more results than “criminal violation.” Criminal violation, without quotation marks, will return records containing criminal or violation, while “criminal violation” will only return records containing both criminal and violation in that sequence.
  • You can require or exclude terms using + or –. Criminal +violation will require that the record include both criminal and violation, although the terms do not have to be in any particular order (unlike terms in quotation marks). Criminal –violation will exclude results that contain the term violation; use this search when you want results that include a particular term but not another term.

Refining Your Results

You can refine your search results by using filters or by searching within your results.

Filters: After you have run a search and retrieved a results list, you can use the filters located on the left side of the results page to refine your results. The filters include the broad categories of activities, privileges, and rights associated with the collateral consequences in your result list. Within each broad category are additional filters, which allow you to narrow your results further. For example, you may use the filter courts to narrow a search within the broad category employment and professional licensure. Similarly, you may further tailor a search within courts by selecting filters such as criminal justice, attorneys, judges, etc.

Filter by Employment and professional licensure

 

Note: Due to the volume of employment and professional licensure records contained in C-CAT, the filter may not display the complete list of C-CAT employment and professional licensure records. The complete list can only be viewed by selecting search by consequence category and then selecting employment and professional licensure.

Other features. The index card also has several features that allow you to tailor your results.

Filters are provided along the top of each index card page. Clicking on a filter located on the top of index card takes you to a list of all consequences associated with that particular activity, privilege, or right.

You may click on “view all triggering offenses” located in the consequence box to see other criminal offenses that trigger the consequence you are looking at.

Triggering offenses