Statewide Criminal Search
A Statewide Criminal Search involves a search for felonies and misdemeanors throughout an entire state and generally includes all counties, cities, towns, or villages reporting to the state repository. A common misconception in the industry is that this search must be coupled with a Countywide Criminal Search, however, if your provider can verify that all appropriate jurisdictions are in fact reporting their data to the state repository, a countywide search is not always necessary. There are also some alternate source data providers that offer an “equivalent” to a statewide search, however, there is no alternative to proper statewide due diligence. In states that do not offer a Statewide Criminal Search, it is advisable to perform a county or lower-level court search in all areas where the person has maintained an employment or address history. (See below for more information on Countywide Criminal Search.)
The Pros and Cons of Statewide Criminal Search
- The Statewide Criminal Search generally includes felony and misdemeanor records throughout the entire state.
- This search is comprehensive, including many jurisdictions and several towns and villages.
- The Statewide Criminal Search eliminates the need to search counties because it covers ALL jurisdictions within most states, however, there are some exceptions.
- The Statewide Criminal Search includes statutory fees that vary and at times may be costly. For a list of Statewide Criminal Conviction Research Statutory Fees, click HERE.
- Several states do not offer a Statewide Criminal Search. In cases where the Statewide Criminal Search is not available, at a minimum, a countywide search should be performed in areas where the person has resided or has maintained prior employment.
- Some smaller towns/jurisdictions do not report to the State.
Local Crime & Countywide Criminal Search
When a local crime is committed, a search in city, town or village courts can be difficult because it includes misdemeanor records only and you have to know the precise town or village where the crime occurred. Searching every city, town, and village court to check for misdemeanor records is not feasible or efficient due to the sheer volume of jurisdictions involved. As mentioned above, a Statewide Criminal Search is a more comprehensive alternative but not all states provide this search and in some that do, not all counties report to the state repository of criminal records.
Countywide Criminal Search
An alternative to searching city, town, or village courts for local crime records is the Countywide Criminal Search. The Countywide Criminal Search includes felony records but not misdemeanor records (in most jurisdictions) in the county selected, which is usually based on area of residency. However, it is a good idea to conduct this search in any region where an applicant has resided, worked, or received an education. A Countywide Criminal Search is fairly inexpensive with a turnaround time of three business days or less and is sometimes available online via direct court access. The drawback with a Countywide Criminal Search is that it usually limits research to an assumed area, as well as an assumed criminal charge (felony) for a possible crime. When conducting a Countywide Criminal Search, it should be supplemented with other criminal searches including a Federal Criminal Search and a National (Multi-State) Criminal Search. Alternatively, if budget allows, we recommend substituting a Countywide Search with a Statewide Criminal Search.
Why Choose Alliance Risk Group for your Background Investigations?
The Alliance Risk Group Background Investigation team are FCRA compliance experts. We inspire confidence by providing actionable intelligence, detailed timely communication and on-time performance. Alliance Risk Group is a SHRM Recertification Provider recognized to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®. Mario Pecoraro is a thought-leader, author of two books and has published many articles and blogs. He is an industry expert who has been featured in national print and broadcast media. Learn more here: https://allianceriskgroup.com/about-2/thought-leadership/