Learn More About Someone's Criminal Background
An individual’s criminal record or history of criminal activities is utilized for conducting a criminal background check, to verify the trustworthiness of the individual when they apply for a professional license, permits, for employment screening purposes, adoption, tenancy, for bank loans, visa application, educational purposes or for working in a foreign land.
An individual’s criminal history record or criminal background information is also used to provide assistance to the various law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in the country, during the process of a criminal investigation to develop suspects, and help in providing an enhanced sentencing while criminal prosecution takes place.
But what is included in an individual’s criminal background record varies between the various states in the United States. In most instances, the contents of a criminal background record includes non expunged criminal offenses such as arrest warrants, records of convictions, details of arrests, traffic violation offenses such as drunk driving charges, name of the arresting agency, the sentencing court, nature of crime/s committed, parole details and revocations if any. The main purpose of the criminal background records is to provide a complete criminal history of the individuals living in the country.
Information on the criminal background records are compiled and updated by the various criminal justice and law enforcement agencies at the local, federal as well as state levels. The reports of the individual criminal background are maintained at all the levels.
At the local level, the various Sheriff’s departments, and the police departments maintain internal databases, comprising the municipal and county criminal background records that fall within their jurisdiction.
At the state level, the highway patrol, the state troopers, state police departments, and other law enforcement and correctional agencies maintain their individual databases. In addition, each state, maintains their central repositories that contain details of the criminal background records complied from the various municipal courts, county courts and other law enforcement units operating within the state.
The federal government also maintains a comprehensive national database comprising of all the criminal background records and acts as a central database to which all the law enforcement and criminal justice agencies report to.
Accessing the Information Contained in the Criminal Background Records
Information contained in the criminal background records or criminal history records can be accessed by the courts, all criminal justice agencies, law enforcement agencies, and prosecuting agencies. The general public also has access to the criminal background records but the access is limited or restricted by certain state as well as federal laws. The general public can access details contained in criminal background records that are considered as public records and those which are not expunged. In addition, the ‘Department of Correctional Services’ of each state makes certain information of the criminal background records available to the general public via their official websites over the Internet.
This is especially true for the information about the registered sex offenders, certain felonies and misdemeanor convictions. However, criminal background records of the juvenile offenders are considered confidential and are not disclosed to the general public. The criminal background records for certain adults are also not disclosed to the public if these records are expunged or have been sealed by a court ruling. Most of the information contained in the criminal background records that are available with the federal government is also not made available to the general public.
Sources of Criminal Background Records
'National Crime Information Center'
The National Crime Information Center’ serves as the national database for criminal background records of individuals. It is updated and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The national criminal background database holds information on missing individual reports, open warrants, arrest warrants, records of stolen properties, individual arrest details, information about drug related crimes, serious traffic violation offenses, dispositions pertaining to serious misdemeanor charges as well as felony offenses.
The collection of information on the individual’s criminal background such as arrests, conviction details, information about incarceration and the details of the criminal identification that is maintained by the federal Bureau of investigation is referred to as the ‘Interstate Identification Index’. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘record of arrest and prosecution’ includes criminal background information that is submitted to it by the various law enforcement agencies as well as other federal agencies operating throughout the country. Each entry into the ‘Interstate Identification Index’ is assigned a specific ‘FBI Number’ which is used to identify the individual. This serves as a guide to locate comprehensive information about individual criminal background record.
'National Instant Criminal Background Check System'
Upon the directive of the Brady Bill, the system of ‘National Instant Criminal Background Check System’ was established so that the FBI can use information available through this system for the purpose screening individuals that apply for permits for firearms.
'Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System'
The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System’ is world’s largest ‘biometric database’ comprising of criminal background information. It is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It has over 47 million records.
Combined DNA Index System
This system maintains the identified as well as unidentified DNA profiles of convicts that have been recovered from the various crime scenes.
Apart from these sources other important sources of criminal background records in the country include, ‘National Driver Register’, ‘National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System’ and Interstate Records.
For more information on criminal background records, individuals can visit at: http://www.fbi.gov/.