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Court Records

A court is a governmental body consisting of one or more judges who adjudicate disputes and administer justice in accordance with law. The room in which a law court sits is called a court room.

Each state will have a court system for the territory under its control. Each state will have a highest court of appeal in that state, but the names are different from state to state. Below this highest level of court, most states have a level of intermediate courts that only hear appeals from lower courts. Below these appellate courts are the trial courts of general, dollar-unlimited jurisdiction. This is where cases begin. Generically, these are called "county courts". Additionally, the states have a variety of courts with specialized or dollar-limited jurisdiction, including probate, family, juvenile, small-claims, and justice-of-the-peace courts.

Apart from the state courts there are federal courts also. The federal courts are comprised of:

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals
  • U.S. District Courts

There are also several legislatively created courts that do not have full judicial power. These include bankruptcy courts and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, U.S. Tax Court, and U.S. Court of Veterans' Appeals.

In the context of a background check, requests for court records can be broken down in two groups: civil court records and criminal court records. For civil court records, backgroundchecks.com offers searches of both county civil court records and federal civil court records. County civil court records provide information about claims, suits, and judgments filed by or against the subject of the report. Examples of findings include divorce, car accidents, product liability suits, consumer rights claims, nonpayment for goods, and other similar cases. These cases can be found at county levels.

Federal civil records are searched at an appropriate US District Court. Cases are typically related to interstate commerce, violations of civil rights, issues involving the Federal government, financial institutions, and federal regulations. Approximately 93% of federal districts currently have docket records accessible electronically.

Another specific type of civil court records frequently requested is the bankruptcy record. US federal districts handle bankruptcy cases in a separate court. We can carry out a search for any bankruptcy associated with an applicant that is recorded in the specific US District Court that you request. The information returned may include case or file number, date filed, type of bankruptcy (i.e. Chapter 11, Chapter 7, etc.), discharge date, and names listed as petitioners.

The majority of companies carrying out employee background checks focus on criminal court records, for which we offer database searches with either an national or selected state scope, as well as live criminal records searches at the county, state, and federal level.

Frequently asked questions

Which jurisdictions should I search

backgroundchecks.com recommends that you consider using an address history that goes back seven years or more to determine for which jurisdictions to order record searches.

Do you report divorces as part of any court record search?

No, divorces are not reported on any criminal history search.

Do you report traffic violations as part of civil searches?

No, we do not.

In the case of criminal record searches, when should I opt to carry out a statewide criminal record search compared to a county criminal record search?

If you have a need for instant results, backgroundchecks.com also offers its customer the ability to search our US OneSEARCH database for records for just one or a few states, at a cost lower than the regular US OneSEARCH. If you are interested in this option, we recommend you explore our interactive coverage map and read about our source coverage for a specific state.

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