What Is the Value of Using a State-Level Criminal History Search on a Background Check?

Background Check Options

When it comes to running criminal background checks on a prospective hire, employers have various options at their fingertips. These include county background checks, state background checks, federal background checks, and even multi-jurisdictional database checks. All have their benefits and can be extremely useful in the right situation. In this article, we will take a closer look at the state-level criminal history check and the value it brings to a background check process.

While there are county and federal courts that press charges, prosecute crimes, and maintain criminal records – there is no equivalent on the state level. County and Federal criminal searches pull records directly from the source, whether a county courthouse or a United States District Court. Since there is no state court, state background checks don't work in this fashion. As a result, a state background check works slightly different than a county or federal criminal search.

State-Level Criminal History Search

A state search is a query of a state-maintained database. Counties report into these databases regularly, creating a central repository that spans criminal history information throughout the state. Most states maintain statewide criminal repositories, and most counties are good about reporting into those repositories regularly. As a result, a state criminal history search can give you a much broader range of findings than a single county search, for much less than it would cost to conduct individual searches of each county in any given state.

Who Can Benefit From State Criminal Background Checks?

Perhaps an employer doesn't want to limit themselves to one or two county searches but doesn't feel the need to expand their search nationwide (a multi-jurisdictional check). In this situation, the state background check would be the ideal fit. Alternatively, if you've run a county check in your geographical area and want to see if your candidate has criminal records in other counties, a state check can be economical.

Do note that county courthouses often have the most current information, which means that supplementing a state check with a county search is often worthwhile. However, because counties are small – in Texas alone, there are 254 of them – a state-level criminal background check is often an efficient way for employers to broaden their background checks. 

To order a state-level criminal history search, visit our product page.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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