Most Commonly Asked Questions About Criminal Records Checks
When someone is arrested, even if they aren't charged or imprisoned, the criminal record becomes part of the publicly available files and anyone can search for this information. If they are then charged with a crime, the criminal record also becomes part of the public record. Finding this information on your own can be difficult and likely involves travelling to multiple offices across the state and combing through records for hours.
Looking to run a criminal record search but not sure how to get started? You've come to the right place! In addition to our comprehensive reviews of online background check services that offer criminal records, we've compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions to help you get started.
What are Criminal Record Sites?
Criminal record sites are similar to people finder sites, but instead of searching for contact information, marriage history, etc, they search specifically for an individual’s criminal record, if they have one. Obviously, this is sensitive information and often this information exists at the state level and must be specifically requested, along with a nominal fee paid. These requests will initiate a police record check and will return criminal records for the individual in question. If the individual in question has never been charged with a crime, no criminal record will be returned.
There are many background check sites that offer criminal records. In most cases the site conducts its own research through publicly available information though this can take some time. Once you have inserted the person's name, location, and other details, the site will deliver a comprehensive report to you detailing an individual’s previous criminals.
This information can range from misdemeanors to felonies, and may also include tickets, and arrests that were not successfully prosecuted (charges were dropped).
How do Criminal Record Sites Work?
Criminal record sites are pretty simple; you input the information you know about the individual in question (First Name, Last Name, Address) and the website conducts a search across its database, including a police record check.
Much of this information is public and will be returned after a few minutes wait. Publicly available information may include criminal records, arrest records, and police reports. It may be possible for you to do this research yourself in public archives, but that can be extremely time consuming and will likely involve travelling to multiple locations in a different state. Fortunately, criminal record sites have already done the work for you.
Can You Get Criminal Records for Free?
The answer to this question is both yes and no.
Yes, it is possible to get criminal records for free yourself, but you will have to search throughout state archives and databases. This is a very time consuming process, and may in fact cost money in travel and effort. This is especially true when you are searching for someone who is from outside your state. If you are searching for someone in California and you are located in New York, it doesn't make much sense to fly across the country.
Nearly every good online background check service that offers criminal records will require payment before releasing a full criminal record. These are not that expensive, and as previously stated will save you a lot of time and effort. There may be “free” sites out there, but the information they provide will most likely be incomplete and/or inaccurate.
What Are the Main Features of Online Criminal Record Sites?
There are many common aspects to all online criminal record sites. All of them will require some information be entered before a search can begin, such as name, address, or phone number. The information they return will be common as well, such as arrest and criminal records, current and previous contact details, court documents, and personal information.
For example, if you searched for the infamous “Orenthal James Simpson” it will show that he was arrested and acquitted of a double homicide and then later arrested and convicted for multiple felonies.
What Are the Restrictions of Criminal Record Sites?
Though criminal record sites return very detailed information, they will not reveal personal information such as an individual’s Social Security Number. The background check may include approximate income and net worth information, but this will not be as specific as you may desire. In general, criminal record sites will not reveal any information that is not included in a public database, such as expenditures that aren’t houses or cars.
Disclaimer: Please Note: We expressly disclaim any and all representations and warranties that any of the providers featured on this site comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., ("FCRA") and/or any other similarly situated local, state or federal law governing the requisition, performance and/or disclosure of background checks. In addition, use of any background information (whether in connection with credit eligibility reviews or otherwise) must similarly comply with applicable laws and regulations.