Database searches can be a valuable tool in combination with other background check reports, but remember, they are not a true national criminal history report. If your current background check provider claims that their database has ALL counties in the United States or even calls their report a national criminal history report, think again. We will outline below a few facts that prevent this from being possible.
Not all counties are online
There is a great variance in the technology used in county courthouses. Some counties still have ledger books or microfilm for storage of court records. Although electronic records may be available they often require Clerk searches to provide details on the case.
Many courts charge access fees
Budgets have been squeezed at all levels of government, leading administrators to look for additional sources of revenue. Access to court records is now viewed as a revenue stream by many local governments. Court access fees have become the norm through the United States.
State Laws Vary
Federal regulations set the standard but several states have instituted restrictions that are different when it comes to reporting crimes. Other states have restrictions as to what can be released when a database is being created; full information is not made available for this purpose. Some repositories simply won’t release the information to be included in a database…period. As referenced above, to some governments, both state and local, this is a source of revenue based on individual searches that are paid for at the time of the search. A database search doesn’t make them any money so they won’t release information in this manner.
Not all laws are equal
Searching court systems for individuals is very complex; spelling, compound names, middle names / initials, those that utilize a nickname or AKA and missing identifiers are just a few examples. Courthouses may offer some help with this in their programs when utilizing on-site methods but those methods are simply not available with a database search. More importantly, not all laws are the same from courthouse to courthouse. In New Jersey, for example, there is no such thing as a felony. Try putting all this information about cases and laws into a database search, and the results will be inconsistent.
These are just a few ways that you can know that you’re not getting a search of all county courthouses in the country in a simple database search.
So What is The Solution?
At SELECTiON.COM® we know that a combined approach will give you all the information you need to make smart hiring decisions. Our Search America® Background Check is THE standard in national criminal database searches. With over 650 MILLION records, from over 1,100 different sources, Search America® is an unparalleled tool to combine with prime source searches to ensure you have the most complete picture available of your applicant. Not only is our Search America® database the largest in the industry, we also take an extra step to provide the most accurate information possible. Unlike our competitors, our Search America® report undergoes a specialized review/ Quality Assurance process in order to reduce the chance of false positives. Combined with our residence-based criminal county search, and our federal criminal background check and you have a solution that can’t be beat.