How Court Records Fit into Background Checks

Please Note: The material on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by The Fair Credit Reporting Act and should not be used to determine an individual's eligibility for personal credit or employment, or to assess risk associated with any business transactions such as tenant screening.

The purpose of the typical background check is to determine how reliable a person is when they have applied for a job or a tenancy. The information for it is extracted from various types of sources including court records. Find out more about the nature of these records and how they are searched.
What Court Records Are Included
The first ones on the list are naturally criminal records. They contain details on a person’s criminal history such as arrests, charges, convictions and paroles. It is important to note that the information available to private persons and organizations entitled to running background checks is more detailed compared to what’s available to the general public. It should be sufficient for an employer or a landlord to make a final decision regarding a person. Of course, equality laws and regulations have to be taken into consideration as well.
Court records of bankruptcy cases are also helpful and are normally covered by a background check. This is because they could be extremely important, especially when it comes to a person applying for a job in finance or for a tenancy right after such an event in their life. The records of such cases are usually the most easily accessible.
How the Search Is Conducted
It is possible for you to search the court records yourself as part of a background check. You just need the name of the person. When you do this, you may get multiple search results. From then on, you need to note down the number of the cases that you’d like to look at in detail and use them to retrieve the actual files.
If you are covering a more recent period of time such as the past decade, for example, you can expect all the files which could be of help to you to be available online. If you want to go further back, you may have to visit the courthouse in person to conduct the search. This should be fairly easy.
As you can see, conducting a search the court records as part of a background check could take a considerable amount of time and effort. That is why most employers and landlord prefer to use services which are especially designed for the purpose. A specialized search covers a lot more details than those found in criminal and other records kept by courts. You can also get verification of the person’s education and previous employment, for example. This will help you make an even better informed decision eventually.