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Criminal Records consist of arrest records, charges that result from arrests and the outcomes or dispositions of the charges as determined by the court or judicial system.
Sources Of Criminal Records
Criminal records are initially generated as a result of arrests made by cities or municipalities, state and or Federal law enforcement agencies.
Most minor driving infractions are civil citations, not misdemeanors or felonies and are not considered arrest records.
Therefore, they not made a part of the criminal records systems. However, some driving offenses are considered misdemeanors or felonies, including reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These kinds of convictions will appear on a criminal background report.
Driving infractions are made a part of an individual's driving record.
Resulting Court records of an arrest are also part of a criminal records check. Court records will include initial charges, changes in those charges such as a charges being reduced or dismissed, pleas made and the final disposition of the charges.
Courts also consider an individual's criminal record when determining sentencing.
Besides employment background checks, criminal records are also checked for a number of other reasons. such Adoptions, professional and business licensing and security clearances. Requests to emigrate or immigrate will usually often require a background check of an individual's criminal record.
Criminal Records Databases
Most states have a criminal record database. The criminal records contained in these databases are made up of criminal arrest records and court records furnished by the various cities and counties within the state as well as records compiled by state law enforcement agencies.
These state criminal records databases are only as good as the reporting done by local agencies to the states record systems. While most entities do a good job of maintaining and reporting up-to-date arrests and court records upstream to the state agencies, a few may not.
Federal Criminal Records
Federal criminal records are maintained entirely separately from state and county criminal records, and each state must be researched separately.
The FBI criminal records database also relies on reporting done by the individual states.
The FBI criminal records database is not routinely accessible to most employers wishing to conduct an employment background check.