Hiring an employee is one of the most important responsibilities of a business. At Crimcheck.com™, criminal record checks are conducted by professional Investigative Consultants trained in FCRA compliant screening processes. We navigate the intricate web of courts and documentation to provide your company with the highest quality background checks that provide the information you need to make an informed decision.
Criminal Offense Categories
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Crimcheck.com™ conducts a misdemeanor record search in the applicant’s city of residence. Misdemeanors are usually considered a less serious or minor offense, punishable by incarceration, typically in a local confinement facility. The maximum incarceration period is usually limited to one year or less, with a few states carrying a sentence of two or even five years.
Crimcheck.com™ conducts a felony record search in the applicant’s district (typically the county) of residence.
Felony offenses are considered more serious than misdemeanors. Typically, a felony carries a penalty of incarceration from one year to life in a state prison. (It should be noted that different states classify crimes differently. One state’s misdemeanor may be another state’s felony.)
Crimcheck.com™ conducts a federal offense check to reveal any federal cases against an applicant. Many times federal cases will not be revealed when checking at a county or municipal level for misdemeanors or felonies. Federal offenses can include accounting fraud, computer hacking, conspiracy, corporate crimes, counterfeiting, gun law violations, health care fraud, etc.
Terms to Know
ARD Program: The Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program is exclusive to Pennsylvania. It is available to defendants who have committed a non-violent offense and have no prior convictions and focuses on rehabilitation. It is similar in nature to Deferred Adjudication in that the defendant must comply with all order from the court including probation, supervision, community service and sometimes substance abuse treatment. After completion of the program, the case may be dismissed and resulting in a non-conviction and cannot be used as a determining factor for hire.
Arrest: The taking or keeping of an individual in custody by legal authority in response to a criminal charge.
Conviction: The act of finding an individual guilty of a crime.
Criminal Records: Official records relating to a criminal case.
Deferred Adjudication: A type of plea deal where the case may be dismissed if the defendant complies with all orders of probation, treatment and community service. The case will result in a non-conviction and henceforth cannot be used as a determining factor for hire.
Dismissed: The final result of a case in which the charges have been completely dropped against the defendant. Cases which have been dismissed are treated as if they were never filed in the first place.
Disposition: The settlement of a case. Many times, the disposition will hold the final arrangement including whether the defendant was found guilty and sentencing information.
FCRA: The abbreviation for the Fair Credit Reporting Act which is a federal law that regulates consumer information in how it can be collected and distributed. All third party consumer reporting agencies must be compliant under the FCRA. For more information about the FCRA, check out Crimcheck.com article titled “The FCRA is Your Friend (No, Really)”.
Felony: A serious crime. Felonies are usually punishable by imprisonment for more than one year in prison.
Jail: Local government’s detention center where individuals who are awaiting trial or those who have been convicted of misdemeanors are imprisoned.
Jurisdiction: A city, county or state.
Misdemeanor: A less serious crime which is usually punished by fines, penalties or a brief term in jail.
Prison: A state or federal facility of convicted criminals.
How can I find out if a person has been arrested?
A criminal record check will show if charges have been filed and are pending a disposition or if a case has been dismissed and if a conviction exists for that individual. A basic component of any background check will include a criminal record check. The existence of a court record is usually a good indicator of course that an arrest was initiated before charges were filed. Sometimes charges can be filed without a prior physical arrest however. Arrest records and or police reports are not necessarily public records. Police may chose to keep these private especially if there is an ongoing investigation.
You can check with the local police jurisdiction to see if someone has been arrested if that jurisdiction is where you suspect the person was arrested. There is no national database available to the general public that will divulge arrest records. Some databases do exist which cover a large number of states, counties and cities and these may have some arrest information but this information is usually limited and may include similar names without specific identifiers.
Are criminal records public records?
Yes, in all the 10,000 upper courts and the 3,500 lower courts in the U.S. criminal record proceedings are considered public records. This is not true in many other countries. The European Union for example has strict privacy laws about such information being released. Called the Data Protection Directive it requires amongst many other guidelines that when personal data is accessed it is used for a specific intended purpose and that the person on whom the data is being retrieved is notified and gives consent.
This is not the case in the U.S.-criminal records can be accessed at the clerk of courts office for any reason on any adult. However if the criminal record data is being used to consider a person for employment then under The Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law granting consumers various rights, the person must be notified and consent to the information being used for that purpose.
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