Access Background History Records
A background history is a report of a person’s credit, financial, and criminal history. A background history report may also contain information about a person’s marital life, his educational, medical, and military records. Generally speaking, a person’s accessible background history consists of all records that are not declared sealed by the court, are not considered private or confidential, or have not been expunged from the public domain.
Why You Need a Person’s Background History
You may need to delve into a person’s background history for any of the following reasons: you need to verify the claims of a job applicant, check the current status of your new chauffeur’s driving license, check if your new tenant has any prior arrest records, or generally speaking, check on anyone you think suspicious. Credit issuing companies commission consumer reporting agencies to rake up consumer reports that contain information about an individual’s credit worthiness, credit standing, expenditure pattern, and lifestyle mode. These are the parameters which help them to decide on whom to advance credit.
Delving in to the background history of a little known or unknown person is an absolute necessity when you have to deal with him/her either professionally or personally or when you have to allow him/her access to your property, belongings, or establish relations with your family members. This is one of the best ways to ensure you and your family’s safety.
For these reasons, the Freedom of Information Act had been adopted by the United States government. The Act makes it mandatory for all states to make public all criminal records that are not deemed to be confidential. This is to be done solely as a public safety measure. The information garnered from a background history cannot be used to level criminal charges against an individual nor can it be used to intimidate, harass, discriminate against a past offender, or vandalize his/her property. Not many courts accept such information as permissible evidences in the absence of tangible proof. It is up to you to use this information responsibly.
How to Access Background History Information
You can commission a consumer reporting agency (CRA) to dig into a person’s background and furnish you with comprehensive reports. These agencies can provide consumer reports that may contain a range of information: details about a person’s credit worthiness and his/her spending habits, his character, reputation, behavioral traits, and standard of living. In general an employer may request such information about an individual before deciding on whether or not to employ him/her. But such an arrangement has to comply with the rules laid down by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Before theinvestigative procedures begin, the individual has to be notified. The notification has to be accompanied by a detailed explanation of the person’s rights under the FCRA. The individual has to agree to these proceedings and sign an Applicant Release Form that absolves all the parties involved in the investigative proceedings of all liabilities and responsibilities.
If the employer decides on an adverse course of action based on the findings of the consumer report, the job applicant has to be forwarded a copy of the report too.
Information related to the background history of an individual can also be obtained from the government sources. The Freedom of Information Act, adopted by the United States government makes it compulsory for all states to make public criminal records and information that is not deemed classified. Thus the law enforcement agencies and the local Sheriff’s offices usually post these bits of information on their official websites.
Most government websites allow you to access this information free of cost, while there are some for which you will have to pay a processing charge. Thus you may visit the website of the Department of Corrections of a state to obtain information on the inmates housed in the various correctional facilities of that state. A search report from this site will contain these details about the person: his/her name, aliases used, age, sex, gender, race, details of the offense committed, and information about his/her conviction and parole.
You may view the arrest records of an individual from the office of the Sheriff or the Department of Corrections.
The Department of Motor Vehicles of a state usually maintains driving data pertaining to that state. You may find here the current status of the driving license of a person and obtain information on the past drunken driving records, if any. You may also visit the office of the National Drivers Register (NDR) where data on those drivers whose licenses have been revoked or suspended are housed.
A driving record search report will provide you with these nuggets of information: the full name of the driver, the date and place of the crime, the nature of the offense, and whether or not, there are instances of repeat offenses. So if you are operating a car rental company, this background history check is imperative before letting a new driver take charge of your vehicle.
Megan’s Law dictates that all sexual offenders living within the boundaries of a state have to register their personal information with the local law enforcement agency. The agency has to in turn make this information available to the public. Information about the registered sexual offenders and dangerous predators are usually listed in a state Sheriff’s website or are available if you submit a request in person at the Sheriff’s office. In addition, the US Department of Justice maintains a central repository of information on sexual offenders across all states of the US. Information in this website is contributed by local law enforcement agencies of the various US jurisdictions.
The process of obtaining the background history has been made simpler over the years. The governmental websites categorize the information under various hands, making your search less time-consuming. The processing time has also come down since information is now digitized and you do not need to wait for inordinately long time to obtain a reply to your request.