Criminal and Civil Searches are completed at County, State and Federal levels. Additional searches include motor vehicle driving records, bankruptcy and international criminal searches. Searches are performed where the applicant has lived, worked, etc.

County background checks are done by searching public records, such as criminal and civil records, directly through the courthouse.

Statewide criminal background check can also be done by consulting a state repository where all cases sent by the counties are contained.

There are two methods by which The Reference Company acquires criminal/civil history information. We obtain the data by using our own in-house researchers and by contracting local court retrieval service companies to go to the courts for us. The Reference Company does not rely on third-party databases to conduct criminal history record checks because the information is not updated on a daily basis.

It is important to note that only conviction information is permitted by law to be disseminated and considered in an employment decision. Moreover, care and diligence have to be applied in using conviction information. Caution must be used to ensure that an old conviction is not used to unfairly discriminate against a job applicant.

The considerations mentioned above should not, however, discourage employers from exercising their duty to investigate the workers they thrust into the workplace. Failure to assume this obligation could seriously expose them to charges of Negligent Hiring.

Federal Court Systems handle over one million cases every year. Approximately 70 percent of them are bankruptcy cases, 20 percent are civil cases, and criminal cases account for the remaining 10 percent.

Criminal cases heard in Federal Court are initiated by the federal government and typically involve a controversy that crosses state lines, a violation of the Constitution, etc. Examples are drug trafficking, kidnapping, arms violation, etc.

Civil cases landing in Federal Court involve alleged violation of statutory or constitutional rights. Individuals, business, or government entities may seek damages, injunctions, etc.

The search for records is done through the Pacer system. Since identifiers such as SSN, DOB and middle names are not frequently used, matching applicant’s information with information on the record usually requires additional research.

Bankruptcy courts are part of the Federal Court System. A bankruptcy action may be brought by an individual or business whose burden seems too heavy to manage. The following classifications are the most common.

  • Chapter 7 liquidation – giving individuals and businesses a fresh start.
  • Chapter 11 reorganization – for corporate debtors
  • Chapter 13 reorganization – for individual wage earners.

Checking federal records is an important complement to state records since individuals fall under both state dominion and a district of the federal government.

International searches can be conducted at the request of the client. These searches can be beneficial if the applicant has lived in a foreign country.

The requirements for this search vary by country.