National / Federal Criminal Search

National / Federal Criminal Search

National and Federal Criminal Background Investigation searches are important to conduct before making a hiring decision and in some positions, as part of post-hire investigations. Many HR and hiring professionals have the false belief that a National Criminal Background search is the same as a Federal Criminal Background search because of the reference to it being a search encompassing the entire country, but they are two very different types of searches.

Federal Criminal Background Investigation

(Included in all Alliance Risk Group Recommended Packages)

A Federal Criminal Background Investigation includes a search of federal crimes committed against the United States that are prosecuted by US attorneys in federal courts. Examples of federal crimes include bank robbery, drug trafficking, embezzlement, money laundering, credit card fraud, crimes that cross state lines, and crimes that occur on federal property, such as a military base. The Federal Criminal Background Investigation includes a search of misdemeanors, (minor crimes punishable by fine or confinement in other than prison such as local jail or county correctional facility) and felonies (a serious crime that is punishable by more than one year of imprisonment up to death by execution.) Be aware that when conducting a Federal Criminal Background Investigation, it is limited in that it is based upon the jurisdiction of residency. Alliance Risk Group recommends this search for certain high-level job applications where white-collar crimes should be screened.

National Criminal Search

(This Multi-State Criminal Search is Included in the Platinum Package)

The National Criminal Search accesses a national database of more than 500 million misdemeanor and felony records that encompasses thousands of jurisdictions. This search is a collaboration of local, county, and statewide records from various regions throughout the United States. The database name is a bit of a misnomer in that it does not cover the entire nation. We usually refer to this type of search as a Multi-State Criminal Search instead because the database includes very spotty court participation and requires actual source verification prior to being utilized in background investigations. Like any search it has its pros and cons. For example, this search features a fast turn-around time and is an ideal way to uncover information from multiple jurisdictions because everything from traffic and moving violations to serious criminal offenses are recorded. It is a vital tool to quickly discover where a person may have a possible criminal record. On the other hand, it often contains databases of incarceration, Department of Motor Vehicle records, and other random sources that independently are not compliant with the FCRA. While not ideal as a standalone search, the National Criminal Search is often used as a supplemental tool to complement other searches. It is a great starting point to discover where a person may have a possible criminal record, but additional research should be conducted by a licensed Credit Reporting Agency in order to ensure that nothing detrimental in the applicant’s background investigation is being overlooked.

For more information about Federal Criminal Background Investigations or the National Criminal Search (multi-state) email, or contact us at 800-579-2911.