How To Conduct a Criminal Background Check

Doing a criminal background check on a person has become a necessary step in the hiring process. Prospective employers and even landlords many now choose to run a background check on potential employees and tenants as a means of protection and act of diligence. An individual may also decide to run a background check on oneself. Here’s how to conduct a criminal background check.

  • Get written consent. For employers and landlords, you will need to get a signed written consent to be able to use a person’s information to be able to do a criminal background check.
  • Get the correct information. The most basic information will be the person’s whole name, birth date, social security number and address. Make sure the name is spelled correctly and include any aliases such as maiden names or middle names. If you have any prior addresses, include that as well. The search will only be as accurate based on the accuracy of the information provided.
  • Decide which agency you want to get a background check from. You may go to the local police department or request information from the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS). Keep in mind that it is illegal for private citizens to access information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
  • Complete the appropriate form from the corresponding government agency. In some cases, you may be asked the purpose of the records check. Some people need it for employment, while others need it for travel documentation and other personal reasons.
  • Pay the fee. Doing a background check costs money. For example, you will have an $18 fee payable to the CJIS for an FBI background check. The completed forms must be mailed or submitted to the appropriate agency. All you have to do is wait for the results in the mail.
  • The results should show all known aliases of the individual, birth date, age, gender, race and known addresses. If the record is clear, it will be indicated. If it is not, it will show the city and state of the offense, the date is occurred and the status of the case or crime. You may need a lawyer to understand the legal and Latin terms used to accurately interpret the information. If the individual requesting the search is the same as the one being investigated, a copy of the search warrant may be given as well.

Keep in mind that this procedure is for civilians. Law enforcement officials have access to numerous Federal databases that is not available to the public. Also, official law enforcers will not need to get a written consent to be able to do a check on a person in the course of an investigation. If you want to have someone investigated, go to a reputable investigation agency and have them do the work for you.


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