Individuals can conduct their very own criminal records background search with simple steps to find the information they need.

There are many reasons that people might find themselves conducting a criminal records background search, involving any reason from employment purposes to prospective romantic relationships. Investigative firms and online search websites can help them search, or they can do it themselves. If individuals are interested in conducting such a criminal records background search, follow these steps:

Research the State’s Rules

Some states allow public online access to statewide criminal record information but others insist that individuals submit a written application via postal main or in person. Narrow down the state or states that they will need to search for the person’s background search to find out the specific process, fees involved, and authorizations needed for a search with a governmental agency.

Gather Identifying Information

Gather Identifying Information

Depending on the individual’s relationship with the person whose criminal records background they are searching, the individual may have a varying amount of personal information for their search. Try to gather as much information as possible so that the search can be completed easily. They will want information such as full name, address, birth date, and (if possible) the social security number. Be sure to use the person’s legal name and not a nickname.

Decide Whether a State-wide or County-wide Search is Best

If a person has no reason to expect someone to have a criminal history in a certain area or if they want to duplicate what a landlord/employer would tend to find, they should use a statewide criminal background search. However, if an individual wants a very careful search where a particular county might be involved, they can have a manual county-level search performed by a court employee. Remember that some states do not have state-wide searches available, in which case the individual will need a manual county search or a paid general search using an online search site.

Use Free Online Resources Available

Free resources for background searches include the sexual offender database, various search engines using birth dates, landlord/employer resources, and free credit reports.

Use a Paid Online Search Site

There are many paid searches available which may be available online or through an actual detective or investigative agency. If one cannot find the information you need through a free or paid background search website, you can contact a local detective/investigative agency.

Accept Possibility of Incomplete Information

Even if individuals feel they have performed a thorough search, they must remember that record systems are often incomplete because of changes in recordkeeping, limited date ranges, or a limited amount of state sources contributing information.