Do You Know The Difference Between Nationwide And State Criminal Record Checks?

November 26th, 2013 by Dodie

criminal-background-checkWe get a lot of questions regarding which criminal background check clients should purchase. They want to know why each is necessary and if, one is better than the other. Though it depends case by case, it always pays to educate yourself on the information you will be receiving. That’s why we decided to clear the air on the blurred lines between nationwide and state criminal record checks.  Yes, either one is great to run for a future tenant or employee, but as we stated before, it depends on the situation.

Nationwide criminal checks are always going to give you the most thorough check for your money.  You will receive information on offenses that are prosecuted and compiled into a nationwide database (violations such as felonies and misdemeanors enforced by the FBI, DEA, ATF) that would not be reported under County or State law. These offenses can include kidnapping, drug trafficking, interstate transportation of stolen goods, bank robbery, assault, embezzlement and even murder. These are all VERY good things to know if you plan on trusting someone with your beloved property or business expense card.

Another advantage of conducting a nationwide check is the fact that you can catch misdemeanors that may not be listed under their county or state record if they crossed state lines. For example, if you ran a state check on John Doe and he came up clean but then ran a nationwide and it reports he received several charges of petty theft and drunk driving, you may rethink letting John drive your company van.

This is not to discredit the State check. A statewide search will yield information for all counties in a given state and is always considerably cheaper than a national record retrieval. However, while all counties report to the state level, there can be instances where a conviction has been recorded at the county level, but not elevated to the state level. If you are completely unsure of someone, you may want to run a county or multi-county check.

Overall, no matter which check you decide to use, it would be beneficial to you and your business to run one. Remember, everyone has skeletons hiding in their closet and you are better off knowing about them now rather than 10 months down the road when your employee is arrested at your place of business for a crime you had no idea existed.  Seems like a worse case scenario, but after all of the horror stories we’ve heard from clients, it really pays to run some kind of criminal record check. For more information on nationwide and state criminal background checks, contact us at 1-800-252-8297.


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