What Information is Included in a Criminal Background Check?
A criminal background check may be necessary for many different reasons. While each background check is unique, many will include the public records information of the individual. This may include criminal records, driving records, and civil court records.
Some criminal record checks may also include credit history and employment history information. It is essential to know what type of background check will be conducted before providing any personal information.
This guide will explore what information is included in a criminal background check and how this information may be used legally.
What are Criminal Background Checks?
A criminal background check is a search of public records for criminal information about an individual. This history may include arrest records, criminal cases, convictions, and incarcerations.
Criminal background checks are often conducted for employment purposes but can also be used for other reasons like involvement with volunteer organizations, housing, or licensing. Each state has different laws regarding what information is available in public records.
Some states allow for pending cases, expunged arrests, convictions, and incarcerations to be included in criminal record checks while others do not. In addition, other states may restrict access to these criminal records depending on how much time has passed since an arrest or conviction occurred. This means that it can sometimes take longer to obtain a criminal background check for someone who has lived in multiple states.
What Criminal Records are Included in a Background Check?
The criminal records typically included in background check information vary depending on the state and the type of background check being conducted. However, most criminal background checks will consist of detailed information about arrests, convictions, and incarcerations.
This can include police reports from law enforcement agencies, court records, and prison records. Some background checks may also include information about traffic violations and civil court cases.
It is important to remember that not all criminal convictions will appear on a criminal background check. For example, many states have laws that prohibit the release of juvenile criminal records to the public.
Some misdemeanor convictions and felonies may not appear on a criminal background check if they are expunged from the public records. In addition, in some cases, only misdemeanors or felony convictions that resulted in jail time will be included in a background check.
In addition to arrests and convictions, it is essential to remember that incarceration information can also impact criminal record search results. This information can include the length of time an individual was incarcerated and the type of facility in which they were incarcerated.
What Types of Court Records are Included in a Background Check?
Both criminal and civil court records may be included in a criminal background check.
Civil court records can include information about lawsuits, bankruptcies, and foreclosures. These records may also include contact information for the individuals involved in the case.
Criminal court records usually contain more detailed information than civil court records. This includes the date of the arrest, the charge(s) (if applicable), and the final disposition of each case.
In some cases, a criminal background check may include information about warrants that have been issued for an individual’s arrest. However, this is not always true, as many states do not allow warrant information to be included in public records. In these instances, it can sometimes take longer to obtain a criminal background check for someone who has an outstanding warrant.
What Information is Not Included in a Criminal Background Check?
Although the information included in a background check can vary, it does not necessarily include all of an individual’s history. For example, this means that even though someone may have been arrested and/or convicted for certain crimes, this type of information might not be included in a background check.
Some states do not include juvenile criminal records on public records, which means that they will not appear during a criminal background search. This is also true for specific misdemeanor and felony offenses; these convictions may only show up if the individual was sentenced to jail time. Additionally, some misdemeanors or felonies may only show up during a criminal background check if they occurred within the last seven years.
Criminal records that have been sealed or expunged may not appear in results either, as these types of files typically cannot be viewed by third-party companies conducting background checks.
How Can a Candidate’s Criminal History Be Used in Making Hiring Decisions?
Many businesses conduct an employment background check to learn more about a candidate’s history and mitigate risk.
A criminal record check can be used in hiring decisions if they are relevant to the job duties of the position being filled. They may also be considered during other employment-related actions, such as promotions or terminations.
Employers are required to abide by federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which was created to help protect job seekers from inaccurate information by any consumer reporting agency. In addition, the FCRA allows for criminal records that are less than seven years old to be considered during employment decisions.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also prohibits employers from discriminating against job seekers with criminal records. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is one of the federal agencies responsible for enforcing this law.
Employers who conduct background screening must also abide by state and local laws as well as any other company policies that may exist. For example, many states have different rules regarding how long certain types of information can be used in the hiring process and other employment-related actions.
Other state regulations regarding employment criminal background checks include Ban the Box laws. These laws restrict the ability of employers to ask about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application.
Some companies may also choose to conduct their own background checks, which can go beyond the information included in a criminal background check conducted by a third-party provider.
If an employer chooses to do this, they must follow the same laws as third-party background check companies. Additionally, employers must get written consent from the job candidate before gaining access to any criminal records.
How to Perform Background Checks on Potential Employees?
Many different types of criminal background checks can be performed on individuals when they are being considered for employment. For example, employers may choose to use any or all of the following types of checks:
- National Criminal Database Search: A national criminal database search includes a search of all federal and state criminal records.
- County Criminal Records Check: A county criminal records check includes a search of county court records for crimes that have been committed in that specific county.
- Statewide Criminal Records Check: A statewide criminal records check includes a search of state criminal records for crimes that have been committed anywhere in the state.
- FBI Criminal Background Check: An FBI criminal background check includes a search of national and international criminal records.
- Sex Offender Registry Search: A sex offender registry search includes a search of the national sex offender registry to see if the individual is listed.
- Terrorist Watchlist Search: A terrorist watchlist search includes a search of the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database to see if the individual is listed.
The types of criminal background checks that are conducted will depend on the employer’s specific needs. Additionally, some states offer their own particular criminal background check that can be used when hiring a job candidate.
Why Hire a Private Investigator to Perform Background Checks?
Private investigators have access to a variety of databases that contain criminal history information. This can include national and international records, as well as state-level records.
Additionally, private investigators can often obtain information not included in public records. This includes detailed arrest reports, photographs, and contact information for individuals involved in a case.
When employers are looking for this type of in-depth information, hiring a private investigator is often the best option.
The information included in a criminal background check may vary depending on the needs of an employer. However, certain types of criminal background checks will consist of more detailed information than others, and those should be weighed when determining which type to conduct. If you’re looking for someone who can provide these services with accuracy and professionalism, Oklahoma Private Investigations would love to help!
We take pride in providing our clients with top-quality service and customer care every step of the way. Whether it’s assisting businesses or individuals with their investigative needs, we’re here 24/7, ready to assist with your inquiry today!