March 5, 2024
Criminal Records

Searching for Criminal Records

A criminal background search is perhaps the most widely used tool for finding out information about people.  These records are mainly accessed by law enforcement agencies and jobs that require an employment check.  While you can now easily find criminal records online, old fashioned P.I. skills typically come into play to make the search more efficient.

Criminal records search: fact and fiction

Many websites you stumble upon advertise access they have to a nationwide database.  Although their system may be vast in records, there is only one nationwide criminal database, the FBI.  This database is also known as the National Crime Information Center.  These records are not for the public’s eyes and can only be assessed by prominent figures of criminal justice.  Gaining access to this data is strictly prohibited with severe penalties.  This adheres to the party selling the records and also the party buying them.  Even with that fact, a profitable black market exists with many people hosting this exclusive information.  These individuals usually have close ties to other members of the NCIC who choose to profit from the relationship.

State and county criminal records

The ability to search statewide criminal records is available in 29 states.  Criminal records are typically accessed by the public via the state index, but can also be attained through the county.  The state receives a portion of its index from the county.  Without their records, a state index may be incomplete.  The best method would be to check both indexes of the state and county when looking to access criminal records.

More ways to get information…

In the past, individuals were required to be interjected into the judicial process in order to search criminal records.  This meant that an inquiring party had to be a member of the law or a court official.  Many online vendors offer on the spot searches that are derived from the court; this includes driving and criminal records.  The results are not instant, usually taking anywhere from 2 to 10 business days to return.  However, this method is very effective in obtaining court records and criminal records.

A few courts will conduct a free criminal record check via telephone.  This information can be helpful, but not necessarily reliable.  You certainly would not want to put 100% faith in a court clerk over the telephone.  Courts will deliver quality information by way of written requests, though this may take weeks or even months to make it back to the requester.

These days, the best way to conduct a thorough criminal check is online.  There are several websites that pull together states to provide background checks and public records for requester.  These services are great tools for searching through comprehensive state public records, including background checks, court records, criminal records, and even driving records.

In most cases the cause for a criminal search is very reasonable.  Crimes are being committed on a daily basis, usually in the perpetrator’s neighborhood.  Though there are some limitations, the fact that criminal records can be searched online eases a bit of the worry.  As more savvy agencies learn the prosperous potential of these searches, more effective services are sure to become available for your use in due time.