Q. - What is an instant criminal search?
A. - An instant criminal search is one that accesses backgroundchecks.com's database which is comprised of data provided by various county, state and federal agencies. For example, Texas has several counties that offer their criminal information for database compiling. Likewise, the State of Texas collects information from all the counties and offers a statewide database. It is important to note that the data, by nature, may not be current due to the lag between the time a suspect is charged or case has been concluded and the time the data is actually reported to state, county and federal agencies. Due to these inherent delays, backgroundchecks.com recommends performing a hand search at the county level, in addition to the instant search, to ensure that the data collected and reported is complete and up-to-date.
Q. - Are instant criminal searches accurate and thorough?
A. - An instant search is only as accurate as the state, local or federal agency reporting the data. Instant database searches can be updated as frequently as daily or semi-annually. That is why it is extremely important to make sure you know ahead of time how often a search is updated. We provide descriptions of each source and how often it is scheduled to be updated.
Q. - What is the difference between an instant criminal search and a county criminal courthouse search?
A. - The instant criminal search queries a database consisting of several sources to quickly check for any criminal related records. Aside from the obvious advantage of being instant it also offers a wider scope. The disadvantage is that as a database search, the records retrieved are often less detailed and not as current as a county search. In contrast, the county criminal search is more accurate and complete because it is updated as suspects are booked and court cases are filed. Results can take up to 72 hours.
Q. - When should I use an instant criminal search vs. a county criminal search?
A. - If you know a subject committed an offense in a particular county, order a county criminal search where the actual records were filed. If you know someone committed an offense in a particular state but you are not sure where, try an instant criminal search which covers an entire state. We recommend that any results returned by the instant criminal search be followed up with a county criminal search of the counties where the offenses were committed. This will ensure the most accurate results.
Q. - Once I receive the report, how easy is it to understand?
A. - backgroundchecks.com, without exception, provides the most easy-to-understand data available. We use a proprietary data translation protocol to interpret and simplify complex data. This ensures that you understand all of the information reported.
Q. - What is the difference between the Statewide Criminal Background Check and the traditional product called the Statewide Criminal?
A. - The Statewide Criminal Background Check is an instant search that hits our databases and returns results immediately, while a Statewide Criminal is a traditional search where reports are sent to the court house(s) and data is pulled from there
Q. - Why should I run an instant search versus a county or statewide search?
A. - The instant database is a great preliminary-comprehensive search that allows you to view criminal records quickly and efficiently. This search can help the client determine whether they need to continue on with the applicant's background. The collection of information that is in our database can help the client make on the spot decisions on their potential applicants. This is a very cost effective search that can help save time and money for our clients. The scope of information can go all the way back into the 1970's all the way up till today. The Instant Database covers a wide variety of information across each state which includes but not limited to Department of Corrections, Administration of Courts, county courts and offender registries within a state. Statewide and County searches can give you a more in depth information on the applicant's possible criminal, civil or Federal Background. However, the information is not instant and can take anywhere from 1 business day on up to 4 business days to have the information returned to the client. The information that is provided on a county search comes directly from law enforcement agencies in real time. County criminal searches do go back a minimum of seven years and include infractions, traffics, misdemeanors and felonies. BGC also provides criminal records on the State Level, the information is reported from the county directly to the state. However, since the state depends on the county to provide all criminal records there can be instances where a conviction has been reported on the county level but not to the individual state.
Q. - Can I use this criminal data to make a hiring decision?
A. - No. Per the FCRA (http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf), if a potential employer decides to make a hiring decision based on any information that has been provided to them, they must notify the consumer of this.
Q. - I know my brother has spent time in jail but the search on his name came back clear. Why?
A. - We collect criminal data from all across the country and from various data sources. If we do not have a record, it is possible that we do not get information directly from that county and/or state source and if we do in fact cover that location, it is possible they did not provide the data to us due to an error or a regulation under state law.