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Criminal Records

A criminal record is simply a record of someones criminal history. These are kept as permanent records and are accessible by the public. Criminal records are used in background checks in order to verify ones trustworthiness. Common situations in which criminal records will be accessed include lending, job applications, and leasing or buying property. Criminal records and criminal background checks differ from normal background checks in that they include information only relating to one's criminal history. This includes all felonies as well as misdemeanors. Also, available in criminal records are any known aliases as well as identifying or distinguishing marks on the individual such as tattoos or piercings.

Types of Criminal Records

There are several different types of criminal records. Most of these types of criminal records are divided based upon the level of the crimes committed and which courts they were tried in. The lowest division of criminal records is county records. These records include any crime committed and tried within one of the over 3000 counties in the United states. The next level in which criminal records are recorded is state criminal records. These criminal records are based off of criminal convictions made in state courts. National criminal records show any crimes that may have been committed abroad or over seas. Other kinds of criminal records are those which are prosecuted at the Federal Level. There is also a separate classification of criminal records for those who have committed sex crimes or are registered sex offenders.

Reasons For Checking Criminal Records

One of the biggest reasons for checking criminal records is for employment background checks. In even just normal background checks criminal records are accessed and reported to the potential employer. This allows employers to be able to gage applicants trustworthiness and ability to perform the job. Another example of a reason to check criminal records is for landlords. This is especially important for identifying sex offenders and other possible offenders who may endanger others who cohabit the property. Another common reason for accessing criminal records is for personal safety. The ability to perform background checks allows individuals to evaluate the integrity of those they are doing business with or entering into contracts with. The final reason criminal records are kept is in order for police and courts to have access to information on individuals allowing them to more accurately handle situations involving them.

How to Perform a Criminal History Check

There are several ways to perform a criminal history background check. Many companies will higher an outside agency who has complete access to this information who will perform the criminal background checks for them. For those who do not have access to this method the best option is to search court records. This can be done through the PACER website which stands for public access to court electronic records. Once on the site all you need to do is create an account and you will be given access to thousands of official court documents. In addition to PACER there are other online sites which give searchable lists for specific kinds of criminal offenders. These lists are usually of registered sex offenders.

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Liens and Tax Liens are usually included in background check reports.

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