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At SELECTiON.COM®, we have received many questions from hiring managers about criminal record requests over the years. As an expert in criminal record research, you can count on us to have the answers you need. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common questions we receive when it comes to criminal record research. 

Do all county courts deliver the same information? 

No. There are over 3,000 jurisdictions nationwide that each has its own system. Every county has its own procedure for handling public record access. While many allow online access to their public records, some counties still use ledger books or microfilm for storage of their court records. Even when electronic records are available, additional details sometimes need to be obtained directly from the courthouse by our well-trained researches to hand-search dockets, gather information from an on-site portal, or request information from clerk personnel.  

Why do some searches take longer than others? 

Turnaround times for public record research can be impacted by several factors, including the availability of records and the lookback period. Also, not all criminal data is available digitally, which causes variances in turnaround times from county to county. The research time can be delayed when there is a “hit” on a record, and the researcher needs additional time to verify the record further. Many courts have restricted or redacted personally identifiable information such as date-of-birth, from public indexes, requiring extra time to confirm that records belong to a specific person. 

How far back do criminal record searches go? 

Typically, employers go back seven-years, although some states go back further. Each state has its restrictions. In several states, reporting dismissed cases is limited to seven years from the date of disposition. Some states prohibit the reporting of certain types of non-convictions or convictions. 

How do you perform the research?  

It is essential to have an experienced team of researchers with a well-established quality program. It is also necessary to have procedures in place that allow the organization to understand what information is available at the court levels, whether it’s accessible online or in-person. Public record research and criminal record research are both vital for background screening and require a high level of specialization and experience.   

At SELECTiON.COM®, we have a nationwide network of court researchers to complete the thousands of requests we receive in a day. The researchers transcribe criminal records into our Fastrax® system, so it is readily available for our in-house team. The records are then sent to our quality assurance team for final review.  

Contact us today to see how SELECTiON.COM® can take your employment background check process to the next level.  

This article gives a general overview of the legal matters. However, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with all the relevant federal, state, and local laws governing this area. SELECTiON.COM® does not provide legal advice, and we always suggest consulting your own legal counsel for all applicant approval matters.  

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