The only word I know to describe such a person is clean. I tried to find out an adjective or a phrase that explicitly talks about criminal record, but couldn't succeed.


  • There is no criminal record, he/she is + adjective.

  • There is no criminal record, he/she is + phrase (e.g. adverb + adjective).

Is there such an adjective or a phrase?

  • 2
    If one has a “clean criminal record,” then there wouldn’t be a criminal record to begin with! You get a record only when you commit a crime.
    – user305707
    Aug 8 '18 at 21:44
  • 4
    Your term clean works well in the context of a discussion about criminal records.
    – Lawrence
    Aug 8 '18 at 23:30
  • 1
    What is wrong with simply saying "They have no criminal record"? I think that using terms like "clean", tends to start from a presumption that they would have such a record.
    – WS2
    Aug 9 '18 at 6:29
  • 1
    @ubihatt It seems to be the best option so far.
    – user244475
    Aug 9 '18 at 8:19
  • 1
    I've come across the term "cleanskin" to mean a person without a criminal record, but is only found in Collins and Oxford and are labelled either slang or informal.
    – Zebrafish
    Aug 15 '18 at 4:09


adjective (HONEST)
C2 honest or fair, or showing that you have not done anything illegal:

The judge took the defendant's clean record (= the absence of previous involvement in crime) into account when passing sentence.

I've always had a clean driving licence.

The first cited use case should be enough to show that clean does work, although in qualifying the noun "record" not "defendant."

To extend the meaning to the person, we can use the sense of "17. honourable or respectable."

  • 2
    Not a great word in my opinion to describe the person rather than the record. If I hear a policeman say "he's clean" I take that to mean they've just searched him for drugs and/or weapons and found none. I don't take it to mean that they've never committed a crime. Unfortunately your references don't seem to back me up, as they conflate the two. From Cambridge: "not doing anything illegal, or not having or carrying illegal drugs or stolen goods", and from Collins definition 20: "a. innocent; not guilty b. not carrying illegal drugs, weapons, etc".
    – AndyT
    Aug 10 '18 at 15:07
  • @AndyT Sometimes usage pulls up secondary senses into the mainstream and the primary meaning may become obscure. Today the news is all about drugs, not so much about "clean" and honest gentlemen.
    – Kris
    Aug 14 '18 at 6:58

Maybe law-abiding is the term you want. It doesn’t exactly mean “of someone without a criminal record,” but it does mean the person the term is describing isn’t a criminal. (Which is, essentially, the same thing.)

So, you can say, “He/She has no criminal record; he/she is law-abiding [OR] he/she is a law-abiding citizen.”

  • Not what I imagined, but maybe the closest one.
    – user244475
    Aug 8 '18 at 22:29
  • @ahmedus It’s the best I could come up with. Sorry. :-)
    – user305707
    Aug 8 '18 at 22:39
  • I appreciate your contribution. :)
    – user244475
    Aug 8 '18 at 23:03
  • It is my firm conviction that "doesn’t exactly mean" should be "doesn't at all mean". I may currently be reformed and law-abiding, but that does not guarantee that I don't have a long rap sheet from my dark and evil past. But perhaps, having never been convicted, and thus being unconvicted, your convictions differ. Aug 9 '18 at 13:03
  • @mickeyf “Doesn’t exactly mean” is an idiomatic way of speaking. And I’m not sure what you are trying to say. If a person never committed a crime, then this person will not have a record. If a person commits a crime, even after being rehabilitated, this persons will have a record.
    – user305707
    Aug 9 '18 at 13:36

Depending on the context, the compound word "squeaky-clean" means this. Detective Smith asked, "What does this guy's rap sheet look like?" Detective Jones replied, "He doesn't have a rap sheet! He's squeaky-clean!"

  • Good idea, but not a good answer (within the parameters of this site) unless you add references.
    – AndyT
    Aug 10 '18 at 14:59

As a single word, unconvicted taken in its plain meaning of not convicted would be at least in the ballpark, although depending on context it's not an exact fit. (For example, in the UK it's possible to acquire a criminal record without a conviction by accepting a caution, a process which is intended to reduce the workload of the courts).

I must add the qualification that many examples of use (I've looked at the British National Corpus, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, and a few pages of Internet search results) either form part of a noun phrase such as unconvicted prisoners/detainees or refer in context to people accused of a crime. Therefore it might not have the right subtext in contexts where the emphasis is on the person described being an upstanding member of society.

On the other hand, unconvicted.com is a website for a law firm specialising in getting criminal records expunged in Kentucky, so at least for them it has the desired connotation.


I've heard this phrase many many times on TV shows, and it's used exclusively in formal context, that is in court, by legal professions:

lack of prior criminal conduct (the word conduct can be replaced with the word record) = lack of conduct that breaks a law where a criminal penalty can apply. source


  • Given your lack of prior criminal conduct. I am inclined toward probation.
  • My guess is that the man has no prior criminal record.

a person with no criminal record

"There is no criminal record, he/she is _______"

  • honorable
  • trustworthy
  • law-abiding
  • obedient
  • civil

Perhaps the word "Immaculate"(adjective).

It means,

free from stain or blemish; completely neat and clean; without fault or error.

For an example, on the Kuwait news agency website they write:

The statement listed the requirements for the would-be candidates for seats in the parliament, among which being the necessity to have a Kuwaiti citizenship, be able to read and write, be at least 30 years of age, and have an immaculate criminal record.

Another example for an online job opening:

To be able to provide our clients with the best services, we are looking for men and women with:

  1. A background as described under 1.
  2. A very specific skillset as described under 2.
  3. The right attitude as described under 3.
  4. An immaculate criminal record

Or yet another example from Malta today news papers :

'The prosecution is telling you to disbelieve a person with an immaculate criminal record and to believe a person with ten previous convictions, many of them for theft!'

Considering your example, you can tweak it little bit to say:

She/he has an immaculate criminal record.

  • The OP is looking for "an adjective or a phrase that explicitly talks about criminal record", not a synonym for clean.
    – AndyT
    Aug 9 '18 at 8:33
  • @AndyT So, what is immaculate? where you get those adjective from???? Your downvote is unnecessary. Tell me why immaculate can't be the candidate?
    – Ubi hatt
    Aug 9 '18 at 8:35
  • 1
    The connotations of 'immaculate', at least in European culture, have to do with a moral ledger of infractions rather than a criminal report. That is, the Roman Catholic 'Virgin Mary' is so very closely associated with being 'immaculate' that it would be very incongruous to call Dudley Doright of the RCMP so.
    – Mitch
    Aug 9 '18 at 18:40
  • 4
    @ubihatt Re: Kuwait and Malta examples - those are great examples and perfectly well used ... for a different use. The OP is asking for "There is no criminal record, he/she is .". The examples are 'He __has an immaculate __criminal record'. The latter is perfectly fine. To say baldly 'a person is immaculate' sounds off, and doesn't imply immediately anything about their criminal record but rather more likely about their sexual experience. And if you are really suggesting 'They have a _ADJ criminal record' is what is desired then 'no criminal record' is obviously the best
    – Mitch
    Aug 10 '18 at 13:15
  • 1
    @ubihatt Yes, I think that it is appropriate to give the OP what is best, not necessarily exactly what they ask for. But then you should explicitly say that the exact phrasing of the OP isn't felicitous and that they should use your suggestion as 'They have an immaculate criminal record".
    – Mitch
    Aug 10 '18 at 13:33