What is the difference between a County, National and Federal Criminal Search?
By far the most frequently ordered report (79% of companies request it*), the county criminal background check provides the most current, up-to-date information about local criminal cases within the specified county. Due to increased mobility and the fact that an estimated one-third** of individuals born in the US do not reside in the state where they were born, this search can help uncover criminal records where your candidate has lived, worked or attended school in the past to get a more complete view of potential new employees.
The national criminal background check is also one of the top searches ordered, with 69% of companies requesting this file*. This search checks over 350 million+ records in proprietary databases of criminal convictions all 50 states plus Washington, DC and includes sex offender records where available. With this criminal record search, we can help identify records under unreported names and addresses, and enhances the possibility of identifying unreported criminal records. While these databases do not contain all possible criminal records that may be found in all courts across the country, there are approximately 6,000 new electronic records added daily. It is important to note that conducting this search should not be used as a replacement for conducting a Sex Offender Registry search.
While a national criminal database can be considered to be “an inch deep and a mile wide”, a county courthouse search is “a mile deep and an inch wide.” When used together, these two searches complement one another and drastically enhance the effectiveness of a background check.
A federal criminal background check accesses the Federal Court System comprised of 93 judicial courts based on residential and/or previous employment addresses to find information involving violations of federal laws such as Interstate Drug Trafficking, Racketeering, Interstate Kidnapping, bank robbery, embezzlement, etc. This search covers federal crimes that are federally prosecuted and typically not included in county or statewide criminal checks.
*Source: First Advantage Study 2013
**Source: Lifetime Mobility in the United States: 2010, Issued November 2011, U.S. Census Bureau.