Criminal Check

Criminal Background Search Information

A Criminal background check or criminal record search is conducted by searching one or all of the following: county, state or federal criminal records, where the individual has resided and/or been employed.

A Criminal background check or criminal record search on an individual can range from a limited check of only an individual's current county of residence to a more extensive check where the criminal records are checked in all previous counties and states of residence and employment.

Criminal background checks and criminal records searches can be conducted at the county or state level.

Due to legal restrictions, some states do not allow criminal background records checks, however, County criminal background checks can be conducted in all states.

Most County criminal checks do not require special notarized release forms.

Most Counties that do will accept the same signed release.

The county records are usually more current than state records.

Information may be reflected in the county check, but not appear in the state check for weeks or months, if ever.

There is a separate charge for each county and state check conducted or, if desired, a package price may be set.

State criminal background records searches provide a check of all counties within the state.

County criminal record searches provide only information in the county checked.

In many cases, state criminal background records may reflect an arrest, but may not indicate the disposition.

The county criminal record has to then be checked to determine the disposition.

This can add to the cost and turnaround time.

Many states have special requirements to obtain a criminal background record searches in their state, such as its own state release form, a notarized release and fingerprints.

Employers choose the type of criminal background check that will be conducted based upon their possible liability, time constraints and budget limitations.

Employers weigh these issues to determine the type of criminal check that best meets their organization's needs.

Employers lose 72% of all negligent hiring suits.

A limited check of only the records in the current county or state of residence is the least expensive.

However, this type of check will not provide information that may be contained in county or state criminal background records where the applicant has previously lived.

One of the most expensive criminal records checks would consist of a search of all counties and states of residence where the applicant has lived.

This type of check will be more expensive and MAY take longer to be returned to the employer if state records are checked.

Many employers choose a check of all counties where we can determine the applicant has lived.

This allows for a thorough criminal record search, while avoiding all of the various requirements involved in checking some state records.

Also, some employers choose to check only state records in the states where a standard release is accepted.

They avoid state checks in the states that require fingerprints and special release forms

This report contains a listing of previous addresses.

Effective October 1998, ARREST (i.e. non-conviction) record information on applicants NOT expected to reach or exceed an annual salary of $75,000 became limited to a 7- year scope.

Arrest records on those reasonably expected to reach or exceed $75,000 annually may date back as far as information is obtainable. Conviction information on all may date back as far as records allow.

Some states have further restrictions on what information can lawfully be used in an employment decision.

The following information is necessary to conduct a Criminal Records Search:

  • Full name (last, first, middle & maiden)
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • State and or county to be searched
  • Some sates will require a separate signed release form

Be sure you have a signed release from the applicant in your files.

  1. For information on the responsibilities of employers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act: Click Here
  2. For information on the fallacies of low cost criminal background checks: Click Here
  3. How do we read criminal records reports and what are the law enforcement definitions and codes used?
  4. for an explanation of definitions and codes used to read the criminal records background checks: Click Here
  5. Criminal Law Codes/Statutes By State: Click Here

If you have questions regarding Human Resources or employment regulations contact your legal counsel or Jennifer McBennett of Seay Management Consultants at 407-426-9484 or email her.