Guidelines for running a criminal records check
US criminal records provide a clear indication that a person has been convicted of a crime in court. Therefore, they are an essential ingredient of any background check. To trace these records, you should perform a nation-wide, a state-wide and a county-wide search.
Conducting a nationwide criminal record check
The primary governmental source is the FBI's National Crime Information Center. This is a data bank that contains arrest records and information about fugitives from law enforcement agencies all over the United States. You can file a Freedom of Information Act Request to view FBI records either through mail or fax (for contact details go here
). In addition, you can use their web portal
(eFOIPA) to file an electronic request. Bear in mind, you will not be able to file a request on a third person without getting his or her explicit permission.
If you are interested in checking a person's background without him or her knowing about it (and of course with no need for anyone's permission), we recommend the computerized search services provided by this website. It provides criminal history reports that cover the whole country.
In this reports you will be able to view US arrest records, police records, warrants and dockets issued by the court. The search is per state and all that is required is the subject's name. The data is highly reliable and it is constantly updated. Fees are affordable and, most important, searches are confidential.
Carrying out a state-wide inquiry
Every state has its own regulations regarding how much and which type of background information it is willing to disclose. In California, for example, you will be able to carry out a criminal records search on yourself only and not on a third person.
Other states are more willing to reveal information. Those states, in most cases, maintain a crime information center where you can search for a person's arrest records and prior convictions. For example, we recommend this felon search tool
to obtain information on Georgia criminal records. Another example, Illinois criminal records can be searched by turning to the Bureau of Identification managed by the State Police
. They operate a web portal that can be used after you get a governmental digital ID.
Using the county's resources
Finally you can trace a person's history of convictions by performing a local case search to obtain court records. The place to do it is the county's Clerk of Court. Large counties usually offer their residents a web-based inquiry tool. For example – IL, Lake County court records can be viewed by using this online lookup tool
US criminal records are available to the public. They can be searched while utilizing a variety of sources. Some are offered by the Federal Government, others by the state and its counties. The process of obtaining the information is not difficult and is, definitely, necessary to make sure you and your loved ones stay away from dangerous people.