North Carolina State Background Check

Pre-employment background checks are a useful tool for employers, offering a broad look at an applicant's criminal history to allow businesses to make sound choices about who they hire. When conducted at the state level, these reports can provide a look at an applicant's history even if they have lived in several areas within a state.

A North Carolina state background check relies on the main criminal repository maintained by the State Bureau of Investigation. This report covers information reported by all counties in NC, including Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Cumberland, and Wake Counties. can currently process state-level checks for North Carolina and 44 other states.

What may be reported on a state criminal history search?

  • Jurisdiction where record is recorded
  • Case number
  • Defendant
  • Charge
  • Filing date
  • Degree of offense, such as a misdemeanor
  • Disposition
  • Disposition date
  • Sentence

Restrictions on Criminal Record Reporting

Given the scope and sensitivity of the personal information contained in state-level background checks like this one, these checks are subject to rules on the federal level and enacted by individual states. We have created a quick overview of the most notable rules and restrictions for a North Carolina state background check. Review these items and ensure your process complies. 

Arrest & Conviction Records

All private and most public employers in North Carolina are permitted to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history, including arrest and conviction records. Note the patchwork ban the box laws described below. If employers choose to consider arrest records, they must use caution to remain within the non-discrimination boundaries outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the FCRA. Disqualifications “for cause” based on conviction records should consider the relevancy of the charges to a job position.

Sealed records are off-limits for all employers, and applicants are not required at any point to disclose information about arrests and convictions expunged from their record. Before inquiring about criminal history information on applications or in interviews, employers must inform applicants they do not have to disclose expunged charges. There are no further state-level restrictions on record usage.

Ban the Box

There is no statewide ban the box law in place in North Carolina, but several municipalities have passed or approved ban the box-style ordinances. These include:

  • Asheville
  • Carrboro
  • Charlotte
  • Durham City
  • Spring Lake

As well as these counties:

  • Buncombe
  • Cumberland
  • Durham
  • Forsyth
  • Mecklenburg

In each case, these ban the box rules apply only to public employers, i.e., employers for the cities and counties themselves. Regulations range from reviews of convictions on an individual basis (Spring Lake) to full removal of any initial criminal history inquiries except where required by law (Durham County). Because these rules are public-only, private employers in these areas may continue to use state-level criminal background reports in accordance with federal regulation and the state’s additional rules.


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