How to Conduct a Criminal Background Check – Ultimate Guide

Discover how to conduct a thorough criminal background check. Learn what information you need,...
Discover how to conduct a thorough criminal background check. Learn what information you need, & how to use the results to protect yourself.(WFSB)

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Doing a criminal background investigation can help you stay away from perilous, deceitful, and rash people coming into your life. A criminal records search can give you the entire data you need about a person to choose if you need to spend more time with them.

Fortunately for you, doing a criminal background check is as straightforward as could be with background check administrations. Truthfinder, Intelius, and Instant Checkmate are probably the best destinations to look into a person's criminal record rapidly, effectively, and from the solace of your home. We’ve thoroughly covered how to conduct a criminal background check in this article.



Best Criminal Background Check Services 

It’s important to be aware that these services aren’t in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This implies that they can only be utilized for individual purposes, not for screening job candidates or tenants.

What Is a Criminal Background Check

A criminal background check is a complete review of all relevant data connected to a person in the state and federal public archives. You can employ any ID data such as an individual's name, phone number, or email address to search open records to gather additional data. 

The data you can come across through a criminal records search includes personal facts, employment and academic background, potential relatives and acquaintances, address history, criminal records, court records, sexual offender details, social profiles, and property. 

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to access all this information if you choose to search public records manually. You’re more likely to uncover precise background details on someone if you use criminal background check services.

Services that conduct criminal background checks utilize the ID information you submit to search through billions of federal and criminal records in their database in order to discover pertinent information. They then collect the information and arrange it in a user-friendly background check report that’s simple to comprehend and share with other individuals.

A typical criminal background check report may contain:

  • Employment history
  • Aliases
  • Educational background
  • Financial assets
  • Civil court records
  • Social media profiles
  • Bankruptcies
  • Photographs
  • Age and date of birth
  • Liens
  • Professional licenses
  • Weapons permits
  • A full name
  • Criminal and arrest records

After making a preliminary job offer, employers undertake criminal background checks to ensure that the applicant has no issues and to verify the accuracy of the information they provided during the employing process. 

Statistics demonstrate that a tremendous percentage of employers use some type of employment background screening and that checks are made more than once during the employee's period at the organization. 

In 2018, the Professional Background Screening Association (then known as the National Association of Background Screeners) reported that 95% of surveyed employers used at least one type of background check.



What Shows Up On a Criminal Background Check

When it comes to criminal history checks, the data collected can involve any incidents related to offenses for which an individual has been charged, tried, or found guilty. Primarily, the purpose of these checks is to determine if the candidate has been convicted of any minor or serious violations. Employers generally focus more on convictions as this indicates that the person is guilty of the crime, unlike an arrest or pending charge.

In some cases, criminal background checks may also include any pending charges or arrests. It’s usually recommended that employers not place as much weight on these since there’s no evidence of guilt without a conviction.

Some bosses may scrutinize pre-conviction data and think twice before making a job offer, but there are certain states that have regulations in place that prevent or forbid employers from taking into account the criminal record of applicants. 

Given that the ordinary employer isn’t aware of the particular legal requirements regarding the use of arrest records from state to state, many background check sites exclude any arrests from their criminal history reports that didn’t end in a conviction. 

Specific details that will be included on criminal background check reports include:

  • The individual accused of a criminal offense (known as the defendant) 
  • The offense which a subject is accused of
  • The paperwork associated with the court case
  • The ruling resulting from the accusation
  • The penalties imposed
  • The outcome and any specifics related to the resolution of the case

Criminal justice reformers have put in effort in the past years to reduce the difficulties of expungement, especially since the legalization of marijuana in some states has led to a lot of people with sentences for offenses that aren’t considered crimes anymore. 

If a person has gone through the legal process and obtained expungement or sealing of their records, then this information shouldn’t be seen in their criminal background check. 

Rules on expungement vary from one state to another. The limitations on how far back criminal history can be accessed also differ according to the state. Certain states like California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington, have made it illegal for background check services to reveal details about convictions older than seven years.

In Hawaii, the duration of criminal background checks is more stringent, seven years for felonies and five years for misdemeanors. On the other hand, some other states don’t impose any limit on the period of criminal checks.



How Long Do Criminal Background Checks Take

If you select a reputable background check service like TruthFinder or Intelius, you should have the findings of your criminal background check in a short period of time. These services are designed to provide you with rapid and easy results instead of having to wait for days. If you opt to get a criminal record checked manually or through a government or consumer reporting agency, it could take much longer. 

Many background checks can be processed and provide answers in three to five days, but some may take longer. For example, FBI checks typically take around 30 days to finish. Although certain federal background checks can be processed more quickly, it’s wise to plan for a thorough review that needs a 30-day delay.

A hold-up in the procedure of background checks, be it for a prospective worker or an existing employee, can be attributed to the number of states the person has lived in. If the subject has resided in multiple states, it’ll take longer to query all the databases and compile the relevant information. This is the most common cause of delays in background checks.

Furthermore, numerous components may be requested in certain background checks (e.g., criminal background and credit checks). When more queries are included in one background check, the process is likely to take longer.



How to Conduct a Criminal Background Check

To run a criminal background check, there are two main options. The more time-consuming one is the traditional route, where you have to contact local government agencies to obtain the information you need. The more convenient option is to use a people search service like TruthFinder

All you need to do is input the name and location of the individual, or their phone number or email address. The search should take a few minutes, but if it takes longer, that's because it's gathering accurate data.

How Much Does a Criminal Background Check Cost

The cost of a background verification can be anywhere from $10 to $500, depending on the details it includes. Generally, a background check with only criminal information is cheaper than one with employment and educational verifications, as well as drug testing. To find the best deal, you should compare the elements of the report with the total cost. 

If you choose TruthFinder to conduct a criminal background check on someone, you must first sign up for a membership, which is priced at $28 each month or $46 for two months. Additionally, the website provides a one-month reverse phone lookup membership for $4.99 per month.

A subscription is automatically recharged when it reaches its expiration date, except if the subscriber decides to terminate the agreement before that point. Furthermore, it’s essential to remember that to obtain the PDF of the TruthFinder investigation record, a further fee of $2 is required.



Which Background Check Service Is Best for Criminal Records Search

Having learned the simplicity of using background check services, let's now get a more thorough understanding of the three main services and recognize the differences between them. We'll provide a brief description of each of the services to differentiate them.

Truthfinder –  Best for Criminal Background Check Overall

TruthFinder is unparalleled in its criminal background check capabilities. It’s incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to run searches by name, phone number, or email address. It has the most extensive criminal public record database, yielding accurate information on any person. 

Furthermore, its dark web monitoring feature offers data that’s not available elsewhere online. The cost of TruthFinder is $28.05 per month or $46 for a two-month subscription. 



Intelius – Best Criminal Background Check Service for Accuracy

Intelius and TruthFinder are both excellent options when it comes to criminal record searches. This nationwide search service is renowned for its precise results. It functions in a similar way to TruthFinder and contains more than 20 billion public documents in its database, meaning you have a huge array of data on any one person. 

Intelius is slightly less expensive than TruthFinder, with its monthly plan costing $24.86. If you opt for the 2-month plan, you’ll be paying a total of $42.25. All things considered, the service is quite similar to TruthFinder but doesn’t include the dark web monitoring tool, which is the reason for the lower cost. If you’re interested in the service for a criminal background check, Intelius can be your pick.



Instant Checkmate – Best Criminal Background Check Service for Speed

If you want a swift report on someone's criminal history, Instant Checkmate might be the ideal solution. It’s ideal if you prefer comfort, as it not only produces speedy results but also has a mobile application which you’re unlikely to find with other criminal background check services. 

Instant Checkmate has a massive database of government documents to generate precise background information. This service has a more expensive monthly plan at $34.78, but doesn’t have a 2-month plan and provides a 3-month package at $83.47 instead. Apart from speed, Instant Checkmate is also proud of protecting personal information. 



Criminal Records Check - Frequently Asked Questions

What fails You On a Background Check?

A criminal background check may result in failure if a prior conviction is revealed in a file. This can also occur if the data collected through the check doesn’t match the details given by you. Poor credit history, drug and alcohol assessments, and an unsatisfactory driving record may all lead to a failed criminal check.

How Can I Check My Own Background for Free?

It's simple to use TruthFinder to get a private background check and view your criminal history as it may be perceived by others. Unfortunately, there's no way to look up your criminal background without cost on the web. To receive personal background check details, you may need to submit a request directly to the appropriate government agencies.

Bottom Line

If you’re searching for facts about yourself, a relative, or a friend, the solutions we’ve referred to can aid you in obtaining precise information conveniently.

Doing a criminal background check isn’t easy, particularly due to the fact that you have to get in touch with multiple public offices and submit a public record request to each of them. In addition to paying a fee for each application, your job isn’t done yet. You still need to examine the papers you obtain to locate the data you’re trying to find.

All of this is made simple with the best criminal background check services. Just run a check with your target individual's name, phone number, email, or physical address and the people search service will construct a complete criminal background check report for you in a flash.



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