How to Check County Court Records to Discover Surprising Information About Someone

How to Check County Court RecordsCounty court records can reveal surprising information about someone. Background check websites might check federal and state databases, but they may not check county records.

County courthouses contain plenty of background information. If you were arrested in that county, for example, then you might have a record in that county – even if your record in your home county seems clean.

County records can also contain marriage and divorce certificates, speeding tickets, parking tickets, dropped charges, and more.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about county courthouses, including how to request county court information, how much it costs, and what you’ll learn.

Some States Have State Databases, While Others Have County Databases

Why do you need to check county databases? Isn’t this information held in federal or state databases?

Some states collect all statewide information into one convenient database. You can request information at a state level about any individual within that state.

Other states, however, separate it by county. You must request individual records by county. You cannot perform a statewide search. You must search records county-by-county. Or, if you know the county where someone lived or was convicted, then you can narrow your search to that county.

County or state databases may include the following information:

  • Civil and family case information
  • Traffic case information
  • Criminal case information

Case Information May Not Be Available Online

You may think Google gives you all the information you need about someone, but that’s not the case. Instead, most states and counties do not openly publish case information online. You need to request information specific to each case or individual.

This information is stored in private databases. It’s available upon request, but it’s not openly available for anyone to access via the internet.

How to Request Information from County Courthouses

Each county courthouse has a specific information request process. This process varies between courthouses, although there are certain similarities at most major courthouses in the United States.

Things to know before requesting information from a county courthouse:

  • Some county courthouses publish certain information online for free. A county courthouse might not publish criminal convictions online, for example, but they might publish traffic and local ordinance cases or family case information online.
  • Many county courthouses require you to visit the courthouse in-person – or request information by mail.
  • You should be able to request to view information online (via a database portal or platform) or have it delivered via other means. Some courthouses still use CDs to share data, for example, while others print paper copies of information you request.
  • If requesting information about a specific case, you may need to provide the case number, case name, and the title of the documents requested.

How Much Does It Cost?

County courthouse pricing varies. Typically, you pay a nominal fee to access county records.

Fees vary depending on the medium you are requesting. You may need to pay $0.50 per page, for example, or $5 per CD.

Expect to pay a higher fee for each certified document. A certified document contains information verified by the courthouse. You may have to pay a $40 certification fee for a certified document, for example, plus $0.50 for each page within the document.

Most courthouses also charge for more detailed searches. If your search lasts longer than 10 minutes, for example, then you might have to pay a $15 fee.

How to Request State Court Information

County courthouses can reveal crucial information about someone. However, you may want to start your search at the state level before narrowing it by county.

State courthouses have different rules and requirements. Certain state court information is public record, while other information is private. Some information is openly available online, while other information is only available by request.

Typically, the opinions of the state’s Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal are public record, whether published or unpublished.

You may also be able to search case information via an online form.

The California state court system, for example, allows you to search case information online through You can search the system for an opinion, for example, or other information in a specific case.

Use a Background Check Service to Simplify County Court Record Searches

County court record searches can be complicated. Rules and fees vary between courts.

Instead of individually requesting information from each state and county, consider investing in an online background check. A good online background check costs money – but it can reveal specific information about someone.

Just enter someone’s name into an online form, then let the site do the hard work for you. Instead of individually requesting info from each court – and paying each fee – you can pay one fee and let the professionals do the hard work.

What Do Employers Discover on a Background Check?

What Employers Discover on a Background CheckMost employers run a background check before hiring someone new.

Whether it’s a minimum wage job or a top secret position, you may need to undergo a background check to get hired.

But what do employers discover on a background check? How far back does an employer background check go? Should you be worried about an employer background check? Today, we’re explaining what employers see on a background check.

Employment Verification

First, most employers will use a background check to verify your employment history. Maybe you claim to have worked at the CIA for 20 years. The employer could trust you. Or, they could run a background check to verify your employment history.

A background check can identify the names of previous employees, your job title, your salary, and other information about previous professional positions. Sometimes, employers check this information automatically. In most cases, however, the employer will contact previous employers to request this information.

Credit Checks

Employers may check your credit. A credit check can reveal personal information like your address, previous addresses, social security number, financial picture, debt, car payments, credit history, and more.

Why does your employer care about this information? Well, if you are in charge of finances for a company, then your employer may want to verify you have a good financial picture. An employer may not want to hire someone with debt problems to handle a multi-million dollar budget, for example.

Curious about what’s on your credit report? You can obtain a free copy of your report once per year from each of the three major credit bureaus in the United States. Request a report from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion to discover what employers see on your credit check.

Running credit checks on employees is controversial. 11 states have prohibited employers from checking your credit during an employment screening. States where the practice is prohibited or limited include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Additionally, New York City has passed legislation preventing employers from running a credit check on prospective employees.

Criminal Record

The criminal record check is the most important part of an average background check. The employer can see any major offenses on your criminal record, including felonies and convictions.

The details of a criminal record check vary depending on your state, the background check service, and your employer. If you’re applying for a job with the federal government, for example, then you might undergo an extensive criminal record check, and years of criminal history might appear on this check.

Generally, you can expect an employer’s criminal record check to reveal seven years of criminal convictions, including minor and major offenses. However, more serious convictions – like felonies – may appear on a criminal record check for life.

Why Do Employers Run Background Checks?

Employers interview candidates to ensure they’re qualified. So why do employers also run background checks? Background checks give employers crucial information about the candidate.

Reasons to run a background check include:

Job Competency: If you’re hired to be a rocket scientist, then your employer might want to verify your educational and professional qualifications. They want to check your school and work history to verify you can perform your job effectively.

Workplace Safety: Employers have a certain responsibility for protecting employees and customers. Employers run a background check to protect themselves from dangerous employees – like people with a history of violent crimes or someone who has previously attacked a coworker. If an employer hires a dangerous person, and that person attacks an employee or customer, then the employer may be liable because the employer did not conduct an adequate background check.

Workplace Theft: Someone might apply to a job specifically because they want to steal. Someone might request a job at a bank, for example, to identify the inner security systems of a bank. Or, someone might attempt to get hired a tech company to install a tracking system or hack a database. Employers have a responsibility to protect themselves from theft performed by insiders, and background checks deter workplace theft.

Verify Honesty: An employer background check verifies a new employee’s honesty. Was the prospective employee honest about their educational and professional experience? Did the employee try to hide a previous conviction? Lying about information on a background check could cast doubts on the employee’s honesty and integrity.

Other Things to Know About Employer Background Checks

Confused about employer background checks? That’s okay. Here are other things you need to know about employer background checks.

Be Aware of Ban the Box Laws

Many states have passed ‘ban the box’ laws that prevent employers from asking about your criminal record until the later stages of the hiring process. Employers cannot screen candidates immediately by forcing them to check a ‘box’ confirming their criminal record. Instead, employers must assess each candidate fairly, then only perform a criminal record check during the later stages of the interview process.

Your Employer Must Use an FCRA Compliant Service

Employers cannot use free background check websites or similar sources to verify your information. Instead, they need to use a background check service that’s compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). These background check services must abide by specific legal standards and follow rules. Free background check reporting websites often have no regulation.

Your Employer Must Inform You of the Background Check

Employers cannot check your background without your permission. Employers must request your permission before running the background check. If the employer takes action against you because of your report, the employer must notify you in writing and provide a copy of the report, giving you the right to dispute inaccurate information.

Final Word

An employment background check reveals crucial information about the candidate. It can reveal the candidate’s professional and educational background, for example. It can protect employers and their employees from danger, theft, or liability. It ensures a safe and effective workplace for everyone.

Curious about what employers are seeing on your background check? Run a background check on yourself. You may be surprised what’s out there.