Criminal record checks are a complicated subject. Understandably, people ask a lot of questions about how our services work. Here are some detailed answers about our criminal record search services.
Why Do I Need a Criminal Record Check Service If Records Are Publicly Accessible?
Criminal records are part of the public record. When a record is a “public” record, it means general members of the public can access them.
However, there’s a big difference between a public record and a widely-available public record. For example, most criminal records aren’t just stored online and available with the click of a button.
Instead, to access someone’s public record, you typically have to work with a court researcher and other county-level officials. These individuals will scan the public record for the individual and then give you a result.
In many cases, courts and other organizations don’t easily give up information to the public. They may require you to be a member of an authorized organization, for example. Or, you may just get bumped around from office to office until you finally talk to the person you need.
Ultimately, a criminal records search service has the contacts, databases, and systems needed to find a criminal background.
Why Are Some States More Difficult for Criminal Background Checks?
Different states have different regulations. That’s why some states are notoriously difficult for background checks.
California, for example, makes it difficult for an ordinary individual to access criminal records. In California, heavy regulatory restrictions and lengthy turnaround times can frustrate criminal records searches. California has 58 courts and most allow employers to clear a candidate online – which is good. However, if a criminal record is found in any court, then all the other courts must use their court researcher to retrieve the entire record.
California isn’t the only state with this complicated process: New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Nevada are also notoriously difficult.
Why Do Two Separate Criminal Record Checks Return Different Results?
Sometimes, a criminal record may change between searches – even if the searches were conducted in a short period of time. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, the individual could have committed a crime in the time between your searches. In other cases, changes may have occurred at the courthouse or a case may have progressed to a certain point where it appears on a criminal record check.
In some cases, there may have been changes in the law that affect how someone’s information is presented on their criminal record.
To help combat this, some employers introduce post-hire monitoring, where an employee’s criminal record is monitored after they’re already hired.
How Soon Can I Receive My Criminal Record Search Results?
Many criminal background searches are returned right away. We have a fast, automated, and highly thorough process for criminal record searches. We automate our searches wherever possible to make sure you get the information you need as quickly as possible.
In cases where you’re searching multiple counties, multiple individuals, or in a particularly difficult state, searches may take a little longer to perform.
Are Your Criminal Searches 100% Accurate?
Unfortunately, no (honest) criminal record search provider will guarantee a 100% accurate background check. There are too many different moving parts and too many areas of ambiguity to guarantee 100% accuracy every time.
For example, if a state or county court records an error in their submission (like one wrong letter in a last name), then that throws off our accuracy – even though it’s not our fault.
We cannot alter county or state records. We can only report on them. However, we strive for accuracy every time and in most cases, criminal background searches performed through our service are 100% accurate.