How to Do a Free Criminal Background Check

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

 Doing any type of background check without paying any search fees or data charges simply means that the search is going to take some time and a good amount of brain work.  Focusing the search on a person’s possible criminal background simply means that a person is going to have to focus on specific data sources after locating the person in general.  There are still no national or regional databases per se, but there are several sites that do provide focused links, covering the array of state, county, local public databases for data keyed as criminal.  While the search is free, the catch is that it will cost the searcher some money to be able to view the results. 

Several researchers recommended that a person who wants to do a free search in public or criminal records really needs to practice searching.  Unless one’s search criteria is so specific as to be able to pick out a single person, the searcher needs to understand the information being returned when it is not on a single person in order to hone the information down to the wanted person.  These experts recommend hunting down info on the researcher’s self and family members and perhaps some one that is known personally who has been arrested.  Any type of practice can only help.

Some experts cautioned their readers to the fact that some states require the searcher to notify the person for whom they search when they find that person.  Few sites if any will send out a notice to the person being sought.

Some public record search sites allow the searcher to focus the search on to specific types of data such as “criminal”, “federal criminal”, and the like versus education, homeowner, or loans.  These types of public record search sites also caution the searcher that the search will take some time because so many records “North America” wide are being searched.  Several sites include Canada in the database search.

It is typical for the site to ask for specific minimal information.  The more specific and correct information that the searcher can provide, the less useless information is returned.  Even though the research may be free, most times the getting of the actual information is not so free.  To get that final report or unique set of information a researcher can expect to pay up to $100 for a criminal records report.  Experts still caution a researcher after getting info back on a single person that appears to be the person being sought to carefully confirm the info received against info that can be obtained be some other means.  The point is if a researcher does use the info received from a report from an online search and the info is incorrect and the researcher damages the reputation or attacks (wrongly) the character of that incorrect person, the researcher can be criminally liable if sued.  The word at every turn is to be careful and to keep the info received confidential and check one’s facts.

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