Please Note: The material on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by The Fair Credit Reporting Act and should not be used to determine an individual's eligibility for personal credit or employment, or to assess risk associated with any business transactions such as tenant screening.
We deal with many people in our daily life and in most cases, we don’t need to establish a lasting connection with them. However, when a person is about to become part of your family or of your company, it makes sense to search the criminal records just to be on the safe side. The following advice will help you to conduct the search accurately and to make full use of the information which you retrieve.
Decide on the Search Range
There are two factors to consider when determining how broad your search of the criminal records will be. The first one has to do with location. The records held by local courthouses and authorities include only arrests and convictions in the respective state. If the person has lived elsewhere in their lifetime, it makes sense to conduct a broader search.
The second factor which you have to think about is your positon when you run a criminal background check. Employers, landlords, real estate agencies and other organizations and private persons who are considered to be entering into a special relationship with a person are entitled to more and more detailed information on the individual’s criminal history compared to the average citizen. You should definitely take advantage of this opportunity if it is available to you.
Choose the Right Approach for You
There are generally two ways to search the criminal records. You can make a direct request to the institution keeping these public records to gain access to the documents which you need. If there is an online database, you will be able to view copies directly. If not, they will be given to you directly or sent over the mail.
The other option is to use a service specialized in background checks. In this case, you can obtain not only information on the criminal history of a person, but also get their credit history, employment history and/or education verified. This method is typically recommended to organizations that have to perform checks on a large number of people every year.
Ensure that You Understand the Information
Criminal records typically contain details on felony and misdemeanor convictions, arrests and charges, including pending and acquitted ones. If you don’t have a clear idea about a specific term or you are not sure how serious a particular event in the person’s criminal history is, you should not hesitate to turn to a lawyer. Consider speaking with someone who specializes in criminal law.
Finally, unless you find some very disturbing details in the criminal records, you can readily discuss the situation directly with the person that you have checked.