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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

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Conduct an Online Background Check

An online background check is a sophisticated tool that allows the general public to verify if a particular individual has a criminal background or not. The criminal records are maintained by the local law enforcement agencies of each county or state. These data are then accumulated by higher authorities and a vast pool of criminal records is created. The archives are generally public and allow you to search an individual’s background information.

The rules and procedures vary from one state to another. However, you can always conduct online background checks in almost all the states. You may use this to know if a person was convicted for sex offense or any other crime. People use these to check on the background of new neighbors, babysitters, coaches and so on. Online background checks are widely used by employment agencies as a pre-employment verification tool.


Information Required for Conducting an Online Background Check


You may conduct an online background check on any individual by visiting the official website of your state. You have to provide information like the individual’s name, sex, social security number etc. before you begin the search. If you are searching the sex offender’s registry or the department of corrections records of your state for any inmate, you may also have to give the docket number of the individual offender.


Information Provided by an Online Background Check


The information revealed by an online background search include the name and alias name(s) of the individual, his or her physical description such as height, weight, eye color, hair color, whether the individual has any criminal record and if so the crime he or she was convicted for. The records tell you if the individual had been convicted for sex offenses and also the penalty that offender has had to serve.

On the basis of the kind of information you are looking for, you will have to search the corresponding database. For example, if you suspect a person to be a sex offender or you want background information on any sex offender, you will have to look at the information stored in the sex offender’s registry of your state. If you want background information about any inmate, you will have to go through the records of the Department of Corrections of the state. If you are conducting a background check on your prospective employees, apart from the information mentioned so far, you will also learn if the individual has any drunken driving records. The Department of Motor Vehicles usually stores this information.

You may also need to conduct a background check of your own records either for employment purposes or for updating the records or expunging them. The state laws also have provision for this. Certain information is not released to you when you are performing an online check. Also, if you want a copy of the records, you will have to mail your request to the authorities holding the responsibilities. For example, if you are looking for information on sex offenders in the state of Arizona, you may visit the official website of the Arizona Department of Public Safety by copying the link You may obtain information from this website. Here you will also find the adequate contact information in case you need to contact the office for some purpose. Depending on the information you want and the state you live in you can visit the relevant websites and conduct an online background check in a similar manner.

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