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Statewide Criminal Records Search

Understanding the Difference Between Database and Repository

A word of caution to employers who are speaking with background screening providers about statewide criminal records searches:

The words “statewide criminal search” can be ambiguous. There are actually two types of statewide searches. One is a simple database search. This search can be provided in all 50 states. and draws from essentially the same data as the Nationwide criminal database search.

The other type of statewide search is a state repository search. These searches, for the states that have repositories, are generally more reliable than a simple database search. Depending on the state and industry (most often in the public sector), employers may be required to specifically carry out a state repository search on new hires, not a state database search.

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Common Questions

Some organizations, private or otherwise, have strict standards when it comes to criminal background check scope. At times, these standards require the inclusion of a state records search. Even though the data retrieved in a state search is effectively the same as the nationwide search, but specific to a single state, some screening criteria will specifically call for a statewide search of any kind.

If your organization doesn’t have such standards, we would recommend a nationwide database search instead of a statewide database search. More information at an almost equal cost.

State repositories contain a collection of records from many sources. With regards to criminal data, county criminal courthouses are the most consequential source of data.

Most states have some form of a repository. There are few that don’t. For more information, contact us.

Statewide database search: This depends on the state. Some states are instant, some take around one business day, and some take longer. For more details, please contact us.

Statewide repository search: Within one business day

When speaking about statewide database searches, the information is fairly accurate, but not actionable. As with the nationwide database search, all record hits would have to be verified at the county level.

Statewide repositories are more accurate in that they are actually considered “up to date court records as referenced by the FCRA. Much more attention is dedicated to updating and maintaining the information within.

Adding Layers of Security

While a combination of county courthouse and nationwide database searches may cover most bases in most instances, this isn’t always the case. At times, certain records may fall through the sieve, only to be easily identified by means of a statewide repository search. For employers who want a more thorough background check, we would recommend adding a statewide repository search to your package. This, of course, if it is available in the state that’s relevant to your candidate.